Work gets underway on refurbishment of Austinmer’s landmark bathers’ pavilion

Austinmer pools

Austinmer ocean baths and bathers’ pavilion

THE refurbishment of the Austinmer Bathers Pavilion will get underway tomorrow (Thursday May 7) with the set up of the temporary amenities on the grassed area immediately north of the Surf Club building.

The temporary amenities, including toilets and showers, will be in place while the extensive works, estimated to cost over $900,000, are underway to the 92-year-old building.

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbury said once the temporary amenities are set up, a site shed and fencing will be placed around the Pavilion, allowing work to start on the refurbishment.

“We’re moving quickly on this project with the aim to get this complex job wrapped up in time for next summer’s beach-going peak,’’ Cr Bradbery said.

“The set up on the temporary amenities is the first phase and this will allow people to still visit the beach, and the facilities, while the Pavilion itself is unavailable. The start of a project is always pleasing and I am particularly gratified to see this project, which delivers on Council’s commitment to improve accessibility across our city, get underway.’’

Austinmer Bathers Pavilion

An artist’s impression of the refurbished Austinmer Bathers’ Pavilion

The Austinmer Bathers Pavilion refurbishment focusses upon extensive structural repairs to the building’s external and internal columns, walls and ceilings. A new timber frame and metal roof will be installed over the toilets, the existing balustrade will be capped to bring it up to a complying height, and existing fixtures like taps, showers and hooks will be replaced.

Modifications will also be made to the building to allow for the addition of a new compliant amenity. This will include a new accessible toilet, shower, basin, adult change table, ceiling hoist and baby change table.

“This is big project and one that will no doubt throw up some challenges, as any building of this age and in a harsh seaside environment can,’’ said Cr Bradbery.

“We know this building is a valued community space and I’m pleased we’ve been able to maintain its look and feel, while also adding in an accessible amenity that will allow the Austinmer beach precinct to be enjoyed by everyone especially those with a disability. This area was identified in our Beach and Foreshore Access Strategy as a targeted location for accessibility. This work is meeting that commitment.’’

The first phase of the project includes the removal of interior and exterior paint, some of which is believed to be lead-based, and the toilets’ roofing. This work is anticipated to start around Monday May 18.

“The age of this building means there would have been materials used in its construction and maintenance we wouldn’t use today. We are aware of this and will have expert contractors on site to manage their removal. They will have stringent measures in place, wear appropriate protective clothing, and have the safety of the broader community front-of-mind especially in this phase of work,’’ Cr Bradbery said.



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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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