Green light given for million dollar make over of Austinmer’s iconic bathers pavilion


Artist’s Impression of refurbished Austinmer Bathers Pavilion

AUSTINMER’S 92-year-old Bathers Pavilion will be refurbished after Wollongong City Council last night gave the green light for a $900,000 upgrade of the ageing building.

Council said work is anticipated to start as soon as possible, with the plan to wrap the project up by the end of the year.

Temporary amenities, including toilets and showers, will be placed on the grassed area outside the surf club while the project is underway.

Council considered the tender for the work at its meeting on Monday and approved for the project to be completed.

The work will focus on extensive structural rectification to the building’s external and internal columns, walls and ceilings which are significantly deteriorated. The upgraded building will also include a new compliant unisex accessible amenity facility, which incorporates an adult change table and hoist.

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbury said the approval is a milestone for the history of a building – a building “close to many people’s hearts”.

“We’ve spoken with the community many times about plans for this project and I’m confident that our community will be pleased to hear this upgrade will soon be underway, and that we’re upgrading the building so that it also caters for those who require accessible amenities,” he said.

“Council has identified improving accessibility across our city as one of our organisational goals and the Austinmer Beach precinct was marked in our Beach and Foreshore Access Strategy as a key location for accessibility. We’ve already improved pathways in the area, and the beach matting was located here last summer. This is the next positive and pro-active step.

The first step will be to remove the building’s paintwork and assess the state of the brickwork underneath.

“Of course, with old buildings like this you never know what you’ll find beneath the surface and while we have done comprehensive investigations, there are always challenges you can’t predict,’’ Cr Bradbery said.

“This project will not be an easy, quick fix but it will be one that, ultimately, benefits everyone in our community.”

The Austinmer Bathers Pavilion refurbishment includes:

  • Structural rectification to all concrete structures including repairing existing cracks, spalling and damaged reinforcement bars
  • Replacement of existing fixtures and fittings like taps, shower heads and toilets
  • Construction of an accessible amenity through the building’s front façade. This will include an accessible toilet, shower, basin, adult change table, system hoist and baby change table
  • Improve the external front pavement area to provide level access to the accessible amenity
  • Put a concrete cap on existing balustrade to bring to a complying height
  • Removal of all existing painted surfaces and updating with new paint
  • Reusing existing timber bench seats
  • Replacement of steel roof and timber frame


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About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick managed several community newspapers. He has been editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.


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