Bondi Surf Pavilion | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Bondi Surf Pavilion

Item details

Name of item: Bondi Surf Pavilion
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Recreation and Entertainment
Category: Other - Recreation & Entertainment
Primary address: Queen Elizabeth Drive, Bondi Beach, NSW 2026
Parish: Alexandria
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Waverley
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Queen Elizabeth DriveBondi BeachWaverleyAlexandriaCumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

Outstanding early twentieth century building. Its construction marked the establishment of the Australian beach and leisure culture. Prize winning example of the work of Robertson and Marks, architects. A fine example of the Inter-War Mediterranean style. Introduced to Australia by Leslie Wilkinson. Famous landmark. Attractively sited in the landscape, serving to understate its large scale. State significance.
Date significance updated: 06 Nov 99
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Construction years: 1915-1945
Physical description: A very large, masonry constructed 1920's seaside pavilion. Core building is two storeys with single storey wings encircling a large central courtyard. Characterised by its colonnaded facades, featured on all four elevations. Inter-War Mediterranean style, reminiscent of the Italianate (of former Coogee Palace Aquarium and Coogee Bay Hotel). Tuscan columns to central loggia. Parapet above provides balustrade to large balcony area. Good use of mouldings on this central structure. Ornamentation otherwise restrained. Short span, hipped roof now in concrete tiles. Most openings either arched or topped by arched, rendered bands. Interior extensively remodelled with large courtyard areas retained. Well sited in the beach park landscape. Strong horizontal emphasis and partly sunken siting reduce the potential impact on the former dune landscape. Park area around is boomerang shaped, and siting creates special visual interest when viewed from high vantage points. Pivotal contribution in the surrounding townscape.
Current use: Pavilion
Former use: Pavilion


Historical notes: Foundation stone laid by Waverley Mayor in 1928. Part of a major beach and park improvement scheme. Replaced an earlier structure. Prize winning design by Robertson and Marks, architects. Clearly influenced by the work of Leslie Wilkinson. Lengthy delays in construction. Originally provided extensive changing facilities, shops, Turkish baths, gymnasium, ballroom, dining rooms and auditorium. Still used for dressing rooms and shops, in part, together with theatres, club rooms, community centre and art gallery. Built at a time when surf bathing became a mass leisure pursuit. Although trams arrived many years earlier, it was not until the 1920's that visitors flocked to Bondi. Earlier seaside palaces, like the Coogee Aquarium, were attractions in themselves, and modelled on those in Victorian England. Here the primary emphasis is on meeting the needs of bathers. The departure from the English tradition is marked by both the styling and the use.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
This item is of historical and cultural significance.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
This item is of architectural, aesthetic, landmark and streetscape/landscape value.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
This item is of social significance.
SHR Criteria f)
This item is of rarity value significance.
Integrity/Intactness: Substantially intact.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental Plan  06 Dec 96   
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Waverley Heritage Study19903/1 - 0240Perumal Murphy Pty Limited  No

References, internet links & images


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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2620255

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