Overlooking the beach in its prime central position, the iconic Bondi Pavilion has morphed many times from the early 1900s, but has always figured large in the local landscape. It has variously been the Bondi Surf Sheds, Castle Pavilion, Esplanade Cabaret-Restaurant, Turkish & Hot Sea Water Baths, North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club, Bondi [Beach] Boy’s Club, American Red Cross & U.S. Military Officers Club, the charity-focused Surf & Dance at Bondi, Bondi Pavilion Theatre, Bondi Community Arts Centre and is now just known as the Bondi Pavilion.
Likewise, it has housed bathing sheds, a ballroom, concert hall, sea water baths, shops, lockers, gym, cabaret-restaurant, massage rooms, a lounge, surf club, amusement parlour, military club, entertainment venue, theatre and cultural and community centre, exhibition rooms, an outdoor amphitheatre for 500, netball court, child care centre, workshops & craft rooms, all purpose hall, recording studio, rehearsal rooms, event space and art gallery, amongst many others.
The Bondi “Castle” Pavilion, 1917. Source
These days the Pavilion is a centre for various community artistic and cultural offerings. As well as housing an art gallery, music & art studios, theatre, youth programs, beachside facilities, performance space, outdoor amphitheatre, marine discovery centre and community classes, the Pavilion is generally the centre piece for any local event or festival. All the latest details can be found here.
Now this all sounds fabulous but there is constant community banter about the state of the facilities, under-utilisation, wasted space and neglect of the grand ol’ dame (especially all the unused space out the back). Pop down, see for yourself and let us know what you think…