The proposed revamp of the Bondi Surf Club courtyard.

The Sydney Eastern City Planning Panel has approved plans for the famous Bondi Surf Bathers’ Life Saving Club’s conservation project, Waverley Council has announced. Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos said the transformation of the heritage building is set to go ahead after the panel approved the plans on 3 June with completion expected by late 2023.

Waverley Council has been working with the Bondi Surf Club and Lockhart – Krause Architects to conserve and upgrade the building which are part of the NSW and National Heritage-listed Bondi Beach Cultural Landscape and will sit alongside a newly refurbished Bondi Pavilion.

The first floor utilises steel and glass and opens out to panoramic views of the ocean and a cantilevered roof will allow the verandah to be used at all times, irrespective of the weather. The building will also house a surf museum, acknowledging local history that surf-life saving was born on Bondi Beach. New change rooms will double the size of the existing women’s amenities to acknowledge the fact that females hold 40 per cent of the club membership.

Also included in the new refurbishments are a new youth room, better access for people with disabilities, additional storage space, improved frontline Lifesaving services, including dedicated areas for lifesaving operations and First Aid, as well as a gym, offices and education and training spaces.

The pattern of courtyards has been underpinned by lightweight concrete arches reflecting the style of the original 1934 clubhouse. A walkway to the south will protect pedestrians from strong winds, and create a new public room open to all.

A new building behind the existing club features new seating, showers, drinking fountains and bicycle parking. The final building and surrounds will also encourage greater community interaction, improve environmental sustainability, rectify accessibility issues and retain existing trees.

Also among the works are the removal of intrusive parts of the existing building, including mock heritage additions and temporary work sheds that have detracted from the building’s historic value.

It is set to reopen to the public in September 2023, Mayor Masselos said.

An artist’s impression of the new surf museum at the restored Bondi Surf Club.

“Conservation is vitally important to us at Council and to the surf club, as well as the drive to provide community facilities that are fit for purpose and meet the demands of modern surf life saving and the community’s needs,” she said.

“This conservation and upgrade project will address accessibility challenges, equal female to male facilities, and space for Nippers.

“It will return open space to the local community, increase public green space and native vegetation, improve public amenity, encourage greater community interaction, improve accessibility and restore these spectacular views.”

The proposed concept design for the Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club was presented to the community for feedback in 2020 and 86.2 per cent of the more than 370 respondents supported the proposed concept design. More than 90 per cent of participants were pleased with the footprint changes removing areas of Bondi Park but improving community space elsewhere.

“Those were really positive responses and testament to the planning that went into the proposal,” Mayor Masselos said.

“The project will address all sides of Bondi Park and will have a central courtyard with kiosk. It will provide better sightlines and enhance visitors’ experience through improved connectivity with the Pavilion.”

For more details, go to Waverley Council website here:

Plans for the restored surf club (at right) include the removal of unattractive additions. The Pavilion is on the left.

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