Sydney siders are rejoicing this week after the Inner West Council announced the newly refurbished Dawn Fraser Baths opening to the public next week on Wednesday, September 8th, following the issuing of a public health order specifically allowing the historic harbourside pool to reopen during the lockdown.
The Dawn Fraser Baths are a favourite among ocean swimmers with the Dawny’s Cockatoo Challenge ocean swim being held later this year (date yet to be announced) after a two-year hiatus due to the refurbishment.
Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne said the whole of the Inner West population would be able to swim at the baths after being cut off from open water swimming in recent weeks due to the 5km restriction on travel.
“Being able to swim and enjoy Australia’s oldest and most beautiful harbourside pool will really lift the spirits of local people,” said Mayor Byrne.
“With beaches having been cut off and public pools closed, many regular swimmers had lost their most important source of physical exercise and mental relief, right at the time that they needed it most.
“We will open the doors of the Baths on Wednesday, September 8, and everyone in the Inner West will be able to book in for a COVID-safe swim for an hour at a time. Being able to swim in the ocean will be a massive boost to local morale and mental health that will help our community to get through the long days of lockdown.
“Health Minister Brad Hazzard has personally intervened in response to our request to open Dawny’s. The Member for Summer Hill, Jo Haylen, also approach the Minister directly, and on behalf of the Inner West, I thank them both sincerely.
“Having recently completed a once in a generation heritage refurbishment of the Baths, I can’t wait for people to see for themselves how beautiful the restoration is. Entry for the first two weeks will be free, and Dawny’s will be an oasis for our community for the duration of the lockdown,” said Mayor Byrne.
Swimming at the Baths will be enabled by strict adherence to a COVID-safety plan including:
- All swimming being by appointment only with bookings to open on Monday morning through Council’s website.
- No access to change rooms, toilets, showers or sunbaking.
- Patrons will be required to begin their swim upon entry and leave immediately afterwards.
- The pool will be divided into lanes to ensure safe physical distancing, and the beach area will also be segregated for limited use.
- The Baths will be limited to 26 patrons at any one time.