Excitement builds about reopening of stunning Bondi Pavilion

Waverley Council

The countdown is on to Waverley Council’s official reopening in spring of the legendary Bondi Pavilion.

Council is planning a massive community event to celebrate the reopening and showcase the Pavilion’s revamped and expanded cultural and recreational spaces in all their glory.

Architects Tonkin Zulaikha Greer (TZG) have beautifully integrated the Pavilion’s indoor and outdoor spaces. Image: TZG.

Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos, said the building will be activated to give the community a taste of what to expect from the beloved, re-invigorated beachside venue, including live entertainment and music for all ages.

“There is such growing excitement in the community about the reopening as more and more of the building and our world-class restoration works are revealed” Mayor Masselos said.

Bondi Pavilion began life in 1911 as the Bondi Surf Sheds, a collection of 1000 dressing shed ‘boxes’ for men (750) and women (250). The current building, designed by architectural firm Robertson and Marks in the Georgian revival and Mediterranean styles, opened on 20 July 1929 and housed the Turkish and Hot Sea Water Baths. Our restoration works uncovered the original bathhouse signage which we have restored.

Over the years, the Pavilion has housed an amusement parlour, ballroom and various performance and cultural spaces. During World War II, Bondi was identified as a potential invasion point, and in 1942, on the recommendation of military authorities, Council destroyed the underground passages leading from the beach to the dressing sheds at the back of the Pavilion with explosives. Two years later, the first floor of the building was requisitioned by the American Red Cross and U.S. military officers who ran it as an officers’ club until the end of the war.

Mayor Masselos touring the early restoration works. Picture: Waverley Council.

“It has been an honour for everyone working on this project bringing the building back to life and for Council to retain the building as a cultural and community centre for future generations,” Mayor Masselos said.

“The building has been through significant restoration and improvement works during the past 20 months, carried out by our lead contractor BuildCorp, and despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and recent weather events, is due to be handed back to the council next month.”

Key features of the restoration and conservation works include:

  • an updated art gallery
  • new cultural spaces including the ‘Bondi Story Room’
  • two dining venues (a restaurant and a café)
  • larger Pottery Studio including a second kiln
  • new toilets, showers and a family and accessible bathroom and change space
  • expansive refurbishments and upgrade to all the Pavilion’s unique existing rooms
  • landscaped internal courtyard spaces
  • new grand entrance to the north and creating additional east-west connections through the Pavilion
  • better connection from Campbell Parade to the beachfront.

The Pavilion restoration was designed by architects Tonkin Zulaikha Greer (TZG) who have integrated the outdoor and indoor spaces, connecting the beautiful Bondi Beach to the parklands and Campbell Parade, whilst celebrating the rich history of the building.

Due to its historical importance, all works to the building have been bound by Waverley Council’s Bondi Pavilion Conservation Management Plan (CMP). The Council has also worked closely with the Gujaja Foundation to support recognition of Indigenous cultural heritage in the Pavilion including the naming of new spaces in local Dharawal language within the building.

The cultural spaces have been designed to be flexible and adaptable to support a diverse range of community and visitor requirements. Previously used for amenities, new spaces have been created in the Pavilion for cultural uses and designed to flexibly adapt to a variety of cultural and community uses such as art exhibitions, dance and physical theatre, workshops, classes and more.

New to the Pavilion is the Bondi Story Room, a digital interactive exhibition that will showcase the dynamic history and stories of our community. If you have a local story you’d like to share, you can contact us via the Bondi Pavilion website, which is bondipavilion.com.au.

Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing more highlights about our restoration and conservation works including its sustainability features and take a look at the Bondi Pavilion Housewarming Program, a new artist residency opportunity celebrating the re-opening of the building.

For all the latest, visit bondipavilion.com.au or https://www.waverley.nsw.gov.au/bondipavilionproject

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