Progress of Stage One Upgrade

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After considerable engagement with the community, the design for stage one was finalised in August 2021 and the tender process for construction was completed in November 2021.

Stage one work commenced in March 2022 and is expected to continue through to the middle of 2023, ahead of re-opneing of the pool by Summer 2023. The entire site, including the pool, will be inaccessible for the duration of the construction period.

The $9.5 million recovered from the sale of CN's Fred Ash building is helping fund the Newcastle Ocean Baths Stage One upgrade along with $3 million in funding from the NSW Government’s Public Spaces Legacy Program.

What is happening on site?

  • Construction of the new wet well on the rock shelf to the west of the old pump station is underway. This will house the new pump system when the upgrade is completed.
  • Work is almost complete on the inlet pipework to the area directly in front of the bleachers. Work is also underway on the new inlet boxes.
  • The new outlet culvert is complete.
  • Significant infrastructure has been installed to run the new inground pump system which has the capacity to completely turn over the water in the pool in six hours, dramatically improving water quality, and therefore user experience when enjoying a swim at the pool.
  • The new ramp into the pool is mostly constructed, and temporary precast concrete barriers and protection handrails are in place.
  • Work to replace the pool walls is underway. Community engagement and heritage assessments through the design phase of the project showed a preference for maintaining the original aesthetic of the site.
  • During the design phase, investigations into the walls of the pool showed they were in reasonable condition, and therefore the intent was to retain the original walls in keeping with community preferences.
  • As construction progressed the walls were found to be structurally inadequate to meet the upgrade's intended 50-year lifespan and therefore a full replacement of the walls is underway.
  • Concreting of the floor is underway. The concrete being positioned over the undulating rock bottom of the pool will deliver safety improvements and will make cleaning the pool more efficient. Sand will continue to wash into the pool and accumulate on the floor of the pool. The biggest of last winter's storms deposited nearly 500 cubic metres of sand into the baths over a four day period (June 2022).
  • The paint has been stripped from the bleachers ahead of structural assessment, repairs where required, and re-painting the walls to reinstate the same iconic colour.

Want to know more?

View our answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

Your safety

The community is reminded that the entire site is inaccessible for the duration of the construction period. We ask that for your own safety, you please adhere to site signage and follow instructions of site personnel.