The eclectic nature of the bondi community is also reflected in its mix of architectural styles. From a spread of delicious deco, superb Spanish Colonial blocks and 60′s brick to some new, inspiring examples of cutting-edge design.
Bondi’s buildings have as much a chequered history as some of the local characters.
In the 1920′s, Campbell Pde transformed to reflect Bondi’s new hedonistic status, with the Hotel Astra, Hotel Bondi, Bondi Casino (“Sydney’s most popular dancing rendezvous”) and Bondi Six Ways Cinema built during this time.
As a result of the Great Depression, the Bondi Casino closed in 1931 and for the next 6 years became the Rialto Skating Rink. It briefly became a dance venue again, the Rex Palais, and was then redeveloped as the Kings Theatre.
On the street frontage, ‘Vallis’s Milkbar’ became a local landmark, popular with the late night cinema crowd and those leaving the beach after a long day in the sun. The cinema closed in 1969 and in the 1980s the building was sadly demolished.
Kings Theatre, 1937. Hood collection, State Library of NSW
After a spell of stagnation, there seems to be another burst of building in town.
Just down the road from The Bondi on Campbell Pde is another glamorous new development, The Beach House, with 40 units and a retail level designed around the heritage-preserved Hotel Bondi (which itself has had an impressive facelift).
The Hakoah club is a hole-in-the-ground memory as the Toga Group’s Boheme/Adina development has revitalised Hall Street with cosmopolitan cafes, restaurants and shops and 44 sleek residential apartments above.
And the Swiss Grand Hotel is joining the other glam residential behemoths with its redevelopment of 95-odd apartments and retail space, as the new Pacific Bondi and QT Residences. And these are just the big ones!
I’ve got to be honest with you, I’m a big fan of change and I’d sell my Aunt Beryl to get my hands of one of these new $10 million penthouses but there’s a lot of local opposition. What’s your views?