Sep 17, 2018

Statements by Members – Dawn Fraser Baths – Monday, 17 September 2018

Federation Chamber
Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (16:16): Deputy Speaker Laundy, you might even be aware, yourself, that the Dawn Fraser Baths are a hidden gem in my electorate in the inner west of Sydney. Tucked away in Elkington Park, Balmain, they are a tidal saltwater pool in Sydney Harbour. They were opened in 1884. The baths are thought to be the oldest in Australia. They are home to the Balmain swimming club—the first swimming association in the entire country. They are also said to be the site of Australia’s earliest water polo match. They’re used by residents, visitors, and students from local schools. They are an iconic attraction in the inner west of Sydney. They’re listed on the National Trust and the Register of the National Estate. But now, at over 100 years old, they are in desperate need of repair. At the last election, federal Labor committed funds to upgrade the facilities. A master plan for the baths, which has now been prepared, has shown that it will be expensive to undertake a full heritage restoration. On the Inner West Council, the Greens Party and Liberals have voted together to cut funds from the $6.7 million required for restoration, leaving a $2.2 million shortfall. It is critical that we save the Dawn Fraser Baths, which are an institution and a heritage icon of the inner west.