Dawn Fraser Baths upgrade

The Dawn Fraser Baths is home to the oldest water polo and swimming club in Australia and the Baths is listed as a nationally significant heritage item. Inner West Council is proud to stand as the custodian of this much-loved community asset and is fully committed to the Baths' progressive conservation.

The heritage upgrade of Dawn Fraser Baths is nearly complete. A date for opening has not yet been set due to some challenges with supplying water to fire hydrants and sprinklers for emergency services. Engineers are finalising plans for the water pipe which will be installed down a steep bank while protecting significant trees.

Questions and answers

When will Dawn Fraser Baths open?

Completion is expected in mid-March barring rain delays but we will work to open it as soon as possible. The elected Council at its meeting in February will consider options for a period of free access or season extension.

The heritage restoration is complete inside the Baths. Why can't the Baths open?

Although all the internal works are complete, the Baths can’t open until an external pipeline has been installed which will carry water to the fire hydrants and sprinklers for emergency services.

Excavation has revealed that the steep bank through which the pipework will be installed is unstable. Council’s builders are working with specialist engineers on a solution. Geotech work has identified that additional measures are required including:

  • Further excavation into rock at the base
  • Enhanced stabilisation of the loose rock and connection of the new concrete wall to the lower stable rock face
  • Additional reinforcement of the concrete wall
  • Enhanced work for bedding the pipes
  • Enhanced provision for water runoff

This work is being progressed as quickly as possible, but safety must be the priority. To ensure worker safety, the builders will be undertaking work on the upper and lower levels of the steep bank separately, with small machinery or by hand.

Where else can I cool off?

Residents may visit Council’s four other aquatic facilities and waterplay park:

  • Ashfield Aquatic Centre
  • Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre (Enmore)
  • Fanny Durack Aquatic Centre (Petersham)
  • Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre
  • Steel Park Waterplay Park (Marrickville South)

Project updates

  • Internal construction work is complete, including:
    • Southern pavilion and boardwalk raised and reconstructed
    • Major drainage and sea wall installed
    • New accessible showers, toilets and change rooms installed
    • Solar panels installed
    • Water polo lights installed
    • installation of information and communications technology
    • kiosk fitout completion
    • final plumbing/electrical works
  • External construction works remaining include installation of piping for emergency vehicle water supply to fire hydrants and sprinklers, external perimeter paving and safety handrails

Community engagement

Your feedback helped develop the plans. Read more about the Dawn Fraser Baths engagement at Your Say Inner West.

Project details

The following works are included:

  • Raising boardwalks and ground floor levels of the Entry Building and Southern Pavilion
  • Demolition and reconstruction of the Southern Pavilion at the new raised ground level
  • Retention, alteration and repair of the Entry Building to the Southern Pavilion
  • Installation of new solar panels to the Northern Pavilion and four water polo lights
  • Installation of fire sprinkler system and emergency upgrades
  • Associated alterations to the perimeter paths, seawalls and eastern perimeter entry

Council is spending approximately $6 million and also successfully obtained a $2.2 million grant from the NSW Government and a $500,000 grant from the Commonwealth Government to fund the heritage upgrade.

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Page last updated: 23 Jan 2021