Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club

No Lives Lost at Bondi Beach

Historic Club Upgrade

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 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.

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. 

In 2020, 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 was incorporated into a final concept design which was lodged as a Development Application for formal assessment in 2021. 

The Development Application was approved on 30 May 2022 and the deferred conditions have now been satisfied. You can find full details of the application and approval documents DA-173/2021  on the Home – Waverley Council ( along with updates from council about the project and related matters.

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 which was  formally approved by The Heritage Council of NSW in October 2022.

“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.

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 (Appendices) 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. How is the project funded?

The upgrade is been funded by Waverley Council, as owner of the building, and the surf club along with federal and state government grants. Fundraising by the club is through donations and bequests alongside the cash saved to date. 

The Club is always open to mutually beneficial partnerships with commercial businesses who are looking to contribute to the club, our members, and the community.  If you are interested to help or would like to discuss a donation or sponsorship please email 

Q. When will construction commence and what is happening before we start?

Since approval of the DA in May 2022 work on the detailed design has progressed in advance of preparation of the tender documents and appointment of a building contractor. Impact of recent construction industry instability is being taken into consideration for the procurement process which will help to determine a start date. 

Q. What will be the impact on patrols and members during construction? 

There will be operational challenges throughout the building phase, but the Club will continue to provide our core role to the community through patrols. Key issues during this time will include access to facilities for members, storing and access of equipment, and maintaining patrols, nippers, and other club community and social activities. 

The feasibility of staging the construction work and opportunities to keep sections of the club operational during the build will be considered and reviewed against impacts this may have to the safety,  duration and cost of works. 

Q. Is there a plan to make improvements to the paved area at the front of the building?

The redevelopment of the paved areas surrounding the club will be part of the current detailed design process.  This will be done to tie-in with the recently opened pavilion work, the playground on the north side of the clubhouse and revised access and parking for the clubhouse considering the council’s future plans for the whole precinct. 

If you would like to know more or get involved in the redevelopment of the club house please contact

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