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Visitor numbers surge as community embraces revitalised Newcastle Ocean Baths

State Emergency Service out in force for Clean Up Australia Day

Visitation to the Newcastle Ocean Baths has skyrocketed since the refurbished pool was reopened to the public, with almost 56,000 swimmers taking a dip in the past two months.


The figure represents visits that have occurred during the lifeguard patrolled hours at the facility since 21 December.

It is almost five times higher than the number of swimmers using the Ocean Baths during the corresponding period in 2021/22, before the pool and promenade areas were upgraded.

NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Paul Scully joined Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes this morning to unveil a plaque officially commemorating the delivery of stage one of the Newcastle Ocean Baths upgrade.

Minister Scully said it was fantastic to see so many members of the community embracing the newly refurbished facility.

“It’s great to see this historic public asset restored for the community to continue enjoying for many years to come," Minister Scully said.

“Newcastle Ocean Baths represent the rich history of the region, and this significant upgrade has increased safety and accessibility, returning it to its former glory.

“Upgrades such as this are an important reminder of how great, quality public spaces can bring communities together and increase liveability.”

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said, "I’m committed to restoring and investing our public infrastructure, the popularity of the Ocean Baths was testament to City of Newcastle's once-in-a-generation undertaking to restore the much-loved Newcastle icon.

"We worked closely with the Newcastle Ocean Baths Community Reference Group and other stakeholders during the planning and design stages of this project to ensure it meets the needs of current and future users," Cr Nelmes said.

"The huge increase in swimmers using the Ocean Baths since they reopened reflects the importance of this upgrade and the significantly improved facilities we have delivered.

"The Newcastle Ocean Baths have played an important role in our city's history for more than 100 years and their revitalisation will ensure they remain accessible to all Novocastrians for generations to come."

Minister for the Hunter Yasmin Catley said the Baths have never looked better.

“Having the Newcastle Ocean Baths open made it feel like summer again and I know people can’t wait to swim here through autumn," Minister Catley said.

"The reopening in December gave us back a favourite place to swim. It’s even better today. The City of Newcastle has delivered a perfect restoration and the NSW Government is proud to help fund it."

City of Newcastle Acting Executive Director City Infrastructure, Robert Dudgeon said that work is continuing to progress designs for stage two of the project, with Principal Design Consultant Tonkin Zulaikha Greer preparing concepts for the upgrade of the pavilion buildings, including the heritage façade.

“We will continue to engage with the Newcastle Ocean Baths Community Reference Group and the wider community as the designs are developed," Mr Dudgeon said.

"We plan to share the concept designs and open a conversation with the community in the coming months."

Accessibility improvements will again be a key consideration in the design of stage two, informed through consultation with community members and specialist consultants.

"During the development of the design for stage one we heard loud and clear from the community that improvements to accessibility needed to be prioritised, and we continue to listen to this feedback and refine our approach accordingly," Mr Dudgeon said.

"As with any community facility, there are mixed requirements and preferences amongst users, which also need to be balanced with the operational requirements for managing and maintaining the facility." 

The $9.5 million recovered from the sale of City of Newcastle's Fred Ash building helped fund the Newcastle Ocean Baths stage one upgrade along with $3 million in funding from the NSW Government’s Public Spaces Legacy Program.

The NSW Public Spaces Legacy Program is an investment in high quality public open space and delivers vital infrastructure for communities to love the place they live.



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