Newcastle Ocean Baths

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Newcastle Ocean Baths are ageing and need substantial upgrades to the pavilions, pools, and promenades to continue to provide benefit to the community.

City of Newcastle has committed to retaining the aesthetic of the Inter-war striped classical / art deco façade of the baths as well as the iconic bleacher seating, while also improving public amenity through provision of more shade, disability access, seating, and new public changerooms with hot water showers.

The revitalisation of Newcastle Ocean Baths will be completed in two stages:

Stage 1: Pools and promenade areas

We are prioritising upgrades to the pool area to improve safety and accessibility for all users. This includes remediation to the pools, lower promenade and pump upgrades. After considerable engagement with the community, the final design for Stage 1 was finalised in August 2021 and incorporates the art-deco inspired circular stairs, bleachers and retains the boardwalk.

Construction of Stage One commenced in March 2022 and is well underway, with the pool and promenade areas on target to re-open for swimming in Summer 2023.

Watch a short animation, below, to view key features of the final design.

You can also view an overview of how the new pump system will work, and read about the key considerations for the design of the pool promenade and sand floor.

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

What is happening on site?

  • Work to restore the iconic bleacher seating is nearly complete, including re-painting to match the iconic teal colour.
  • The new shade structure is taking shape, as is the replacement of the boardwalk.
  • Finishing touches to the pool are underway including painting the pool walls.
  • The new pumps have been installed, with testing and commissioning underway.
  • The much-loved art-deco circular stairs are also nearly complete.

What does pump testing involve?

  • The period of testing will run for approximately two weeks to confirm everything is working as it should when the baths are filled with water from the ocean, and also to provide training opportunities for our staff.
  • Once the testing phase is complete, we will drain the pool so that the finishing touches can be applied, and we will then re-fill the pool ahead of the recommencement of swimming.

When will the baths re-open for swimming?

  • This final stage of testing is a critical step toward reopening the Baths for swimmers.
  • We know the community are excited to return to the pool, and it's really important that we complete the required testing to ensure the pool is safe and ready for swimming.
  • We anticipate swimming will be given the green light sometime next month and should be in a position to announce the reopening date in the coming weeks.
Newly constructed diving blocks
Above: New diving blocks under construction on the eastern side of the Baths.
Above: The circular stairs are taking shape.

Above: Coating the pool walls.

Above: Return of the iconic teal colour to the bleachers.

Stage 2: Pavilions

Earlier this year we asked the community for feedback on preliminary floorplan options for these spaces. Visit our Have Your Say page to find out more.

We have recently appointed an experienced Principal Design Consultant to deliver the concept design of Stage Two. There will be further opportunties for the community and our Community Reference Group to provide feedback during this stage.

Further information

View our Frequently Asked Questions (PDF) to learn more about the Newcastle Ocean Baths revitalisation.

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.

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