Historic upgrade breathes new life into Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club

19 August 2020

Waverley Council in partnership with Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club (Bondi Surf Club) is embarking on an historic heritage upgrade of the world’s oldest surf club.

The Council is inviting the community to provide its feedback about the draft concept design for the clubhouse conservation and upgrade at https://haveyoursay.waverley.nsw.gov.au/ from tomorrow until 17 September 2020.

A first look at the draft concept design.

Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos, said the draft concept design has been guided by a detailed Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for the site and is formally supported by The Heritage Council of NSW.

“We are looking forward to what the community thinks about the design for the upgrade to one of Australia’s most iconic surf life saving clubs,” Mayor Masselos said.

“This upgrade will provide significantly improved amenities to cater to the needs of modern surf lifesaving and the community and help foster the next generation of surf life savers.”

Bondi Surf Club President, Brent Jackson, said the concept design proposes equality of facilities for women who comprise more than 40% of the club’s new membership and improved facilities for Nippers.

“We’re the oldest surf club in the world, and the current clubhouse, built in 1934, is hailed for its exceptional cultural and heritage significance. This historic upgrade aims to enhance this,” Mr Jackson said.

“The draft concept design preserves the 1934 clubhouse in all its glory, with modern lightweight additions that showcase the original heritage building. The footprint of the overall clubhouse remains the same, and the design will actually increase useable public parkland.”

The upgrade aims to:

  • Improve training, first aid and storage facilities appropriate to the water safety and rescue needs of the club. The club conducts hundreds of rescues and first aids each year
  • address significant workplace health & safety and building code non-compliance issues including lack of universal access, adherence to fire standards, flood damage and general disrepair
  • provide greater community interaction via a community accessible museum, sheltered courtyard, open terraces and kiosk.

In keeping with requirements of the CMP the draft concept plans include the removal of the various bulky mock heritage additions and unsightly work sheds that detract from the building’s historic value.

Council owns the clubhouse building, which it leases to the Bondi Surf Club. The building is located on Bondi Park which is Crown land and which Council manages as Crown land manager under the Crown Land Management Act 2016. As a statutory body, Council is required to exercise its functions throughout the upgrade process in accordance with all duties and obligations imposed upon it by statute and common law.

The Bondi Surf Club CMP contains conservation polices to provide guidance for any upgrade to the clubhouse building. The upgrade will be subject to approval via an Integrated Development Application process considered by Heritage NSW and the Sydney Eastern City Planning Panel.

The upgrade is being funded by Waverley Council, NSW state government, Bondi Surf Club and public donations. Construction is anticipated to commence in early 2022 pending consultation.

For more, visit: https://haveyoursay.waverley.nsw.gov.au/


Media inquiries: Waverley Council: media@waverley.nsw.gov.au or 0416 075 532