Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club

No Lives Lost at Bondi Beach


Historic upgrade breathes new life into Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club

We’ve partnered with Waverley Council and have been working closely with Heritage NSW & Lockhart – Krause Architects on a proposal for a long overdue conservation and upgrade of our club. 

Check out our video for an overview of this historic upgrade, why we need it, and the current design.

An exciting progress video, with the DA successfully received.

Redevelopment of the club has been a priority for many years. The club’s Building and Design Committee continues to conduct extensive consultation with a broad cross-section of members and section heads to ensure we cater to the needs of all membership groups. 

Late last year, together with Council, we embarked on a comprehensive and well publicised formal community consultation process on a draft concept design. The design was well received by the community, with an overwhelmingly positive response. Constructive feedback from that process has now been incorporated into a final concept design which has been lodged as a Development Application for formal assessment. 

In announcing this historic heritage upgrade of the world’s oldest surf club, Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos said the design has been guided by a detailed Conservation Management Plan and is formally supported by The Heritage Council of NSW.

“This upgrade will provide significantly improved amenities to cater to the needs of modern surf lifesaving and the community and help foster the next generation of surf life savers.” Mayor Masselos said.

Bondi Surf Club President, Brent Jackson, said the concept design proposes equality of facilities for women who comprise more than 40% of the club’s new membership and improved facilities for Nippers. “We’re the oldest surf club in the world, and the current clubhouse, built in 1934, is hailed for its exceptional cultural and heritage significance. This historic upgrade aims to enhance this,” Mr Jackson said. “The design preserves the 1934 clubhouse in all its glory, with modern lightweight additions that showcase the original heritage building. The footprint of the overall clubhouse remains the same, and the design will actually increase usable public parkland.”


The upgrade aims to:

  • Improve training, first aid and storage facilities appropriate to the water safety and rescue needs of the club. The club conducts hundreds of rescues and first aids each year
  • address significant workplace health & safety and building code non-compliance issues including lack of universal access, adherence to fire standards, flood damage and general disrepair
  • provide greater community interaction via a community accessible museum, sheltered courtyard, open terraces and kiosk.

In keeping with requirements of the Conservation Management Plan the plans include the removal of the various bulky mock heritage additions and unsightly work sheds that detract from the building’s historic value. 

After comprehensive consultation with the club, it is clear that upgrades are imperative & urgent. There is a desperate need for more storage, health & safety concerns, no disabled access, lack of supporting areas and an inequality of facilities for female members.

Bondi’s unique character is supported, the historic pattern of Courtyards, Terraces, Arches and Pitched Roof forms interpreted in a modern & distinguishable manner, adding to the identity of place.

The design preserves and restores the original clubhouse in all its glory, modern lightweight additions highlighting the original. The proposal removes intrusive additions, reducing bulk & scale, celebrating the 1934 building.

The footprint of the clubhouse remains the same and significantly increases the amount of usable public parkland. In balance, the proposal delivers the urgent & imperative functional requirements needed at Bondi Surf Club. Including increased storage, equitable change facilities, fit for purpose areas for nippers and families, improved frontline services, as well as supporting spaces, such as education & gymnasium

The proposal significantly improves the public domain and includes a publicly accessible courtyard. Open to everyone, alive with movement & activity, it provides a protected & safe place for nippers, families & the community.

The proposal conserves and restores the original building, celebrating heritage. This includes restoration of the original heritage hall, opening the space as a publicly accessible surf museum; honouring the oldest lifesaving club in the world.  A place for surf club members to be remembered & showcase their history.

For larger text, images & plans, a full scale pdf is available for download here: BSBLSC – Website Images Plans Text Large


Q: What’s the timeline?

 The plans are currently in Council’s DA process. With the Bondi Pavilion upgrade scheduled to be completed at the end of the year, our construction is planned to start in early 2022.

Q: What are the plans for club operations during the building period?

We expect to be able to maintain club operations and members will be able to use modified club facilities during the construction process. The project will not affect patrols.

Q: What are the internal design plans?

Over the next few months, the project architect and members of the Building and Design Committee will meet with club section heads for an update to the original ‘needs analysis’ used to develop the concept plans. This process will focus on the detailed design elements that add so greatly to functionality.

Q: How is this being funded?

The upgrade has been funded by Waverley Council and the surf club. Fundraising will continue with contributions being sought from philanthropic and public donations and state and federal governments.

Q. How can I help? How can I have my say?

Want to know how you can help? Or got any ideas or comments? Please email us at

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