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?

The latest tentative completion date Council has been given is 22 April. Council is then required to obtain the construction certificate. The opening will be held as soon as possible after completion and certification.

This latest date takes into account the Easter break and an allowance for weather.

Council is progressing work as quickly as possible, with safety being a top priority.

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

All internal works are now complete.

The recent delay caused by the installation of an external pipeline to carry water to the fire hydrants and sprinklers for emergency services is now almost resolved. Final testing and certification by the Hydraulic Engineer is expected this week.

Paving is also now almost finished. Weather permitting the paving is anticipated to be complete by 24 March.

The most recent delay has been caused by a balustrade that is not considered to meet safety standards.

The fabrication scope has been prepared and the proposed time to complete this work is three weeks.

How can people take advantage of the Baths when summer will be over?

The elected Council at its meeting in February resolved to extend the swimming season at Dawn Fraser Baths until at least the end of May and to waive the cost of entry to the Baths for two weeks after its opening as a gesture of goodwill to the community after the loss of the summer season.

Council is currently investigating what exercise and recreation programs, community events, social and heritage activities could be offered by Council or facilitated by community organisations at the Baths throughout autumn and winter of 2021 so the community can make use of the facility throughout the year.

Everyone’s invited to have their say on this proposed Winter 2021 program.

Comments close Monday 22 March. Go to the Inner West Your Say website 

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: 14 Apr 2021