Dawn Fraser Pool, Balmain – Sydney Harbour Pools and Beaches

Dawn Fraser Pool-18

 Here’s a place that makes my heart sing and sums up so many things I love about Sydney.

A harbour pool, beautiful old buildings, a little pocket of calm yet so close to the heart of our scintillating city. If you like to swim and your kids like to splash, make a date this summer for a visit to this gorgeous harbour pool.

 Dawn Fraser Pool baths

Dawn Fraser Pool

Fitzroy Avenue, Balmain

Phone: 9555 1903

Website: www.lpac.nsw.gov.au/Dawn-Fraser-Baths

Open: Depends on month, see photo below and check website in winter.

Cost:  $4.60 for adults, $3.20 for children, under fives free. Family tickets available.

Built in the 1880s, Sydney’s oldest swimming pool is part of the harbour but is completely enclosed by its elegant green and cream two-storey classical buildings, wooden fences and decking.

There is a 50 metre lap swimming section, a small, shallow beach area (except at high tide), lots of unshaded decking for sunbakers and shaded seating areas.

(Check the council website above for tide tables.)

A leaflet about the pool amusingly described it as ‘one of the most beautiful pools in the world … renovated and preserved for future generations. But why let them have all the fun? Come and enjoy the pool now!’

Cafes: Kiosk sells drinks and snacks.

Toilets: Toilets, showers and changing rooms in the main building

Shade: None on the water

Playground: No, but Elkington Park playground is very close.

Shark net: Yes, fully netted

Mum’s report: A beautiful and elegant spot. Unfortunately there isn’t much shade or a good spot to sit right by the shallow area of water so it’s not the best harbour pool for babies and toddlers but at low tide they can play on the sandy area. On the other hand, a fab spot to bring children who are confident swimmers.

Extra: Elkington Park Playground is close by, click here.  Balmain Swimming Club is the oldest in Australia and meets on Saturday afternoons in summer.  There’s also a water polo club at the Baths.

Map reference: Gregory’s 344 F3, Sydway 276 M11, UBD 235 F3

Parking: Street parking around Elkington Park, spaces on Fitzroy Avenue but can be very busy. Note that the main approach has lots and lots of steps. It’s best to park in White Street and approach from the west path by the playground where there are fewer steps.

Nearest ferry: Elliot Street Wharf is a 5–10 minute walk away

Bus stop nearby: Yes

Dawn Fraser Pool baths

View of the pool from top of the steps in Elkington Park

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Dawn Fraser Pool entrance

Entrance, I love this architecture and the sens of the past being alive.

Dawn Fraser Pool baths low tide sand

There’s a bit of sand at low tide, but no beach at all at high tide.

Dawn Fraser Pool-5

Looking from the entrance across to the 50m laps area.

Dawn Fraser Pool baths

Love the harbour views from this pool

Dawn Fraser Pool-11

Our working harbour, view from the pool

Dawn Fraser Pool-12

Such pretty views too

4 Images
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 A visit to Dawn Fraser Pool Baths makes a great day trip if you don’t live close by, pencil it in for the coming summer school holidays.

If you’re a visitor to the city, you’ll enjoy a stroll through beautiful Balmain and a dip in the Baths to cool off.

Have you visited Dawn Fraser Baths?

Any top tips for other people planning a visit?

Where did you park!!



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Posted on: November 14, 2013


  • Reply November 14, 2013


    It does look so peaceful!
    I like clovelly beach area for the same reasons!

    • Reply November 14, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Oh, I haven’t been to Clovelly for a VERY long time… must put it on the list, and take some photos whilst I’m there. We’ve all been sick this week but getting better, will pop over to see you on your blog soon, I need a wee travel fix.

  • Reply November 14, 2013


    What an incredible place, Seanna. And so near the city … amazing. I loved the look out and the old buildings around the swimming pool. Awesome information too 🙂

  • Reply November 15, 2013

    Jackie Smith

    Another to add to our ‘next time’ list! Most interesting post.

  • Reply November 15, 2013


    I love all the ocean baths they have on the east coast! I used to spend a lot of time in the Newcastle ones. When we lived there, I miss them here on the west, I wish we had some!!

    • Reply November 15, 2013

      Seana Smith

      I don’t know the Newcastle ones at all but have a wee plan to do some exploring there next year. Something to look forward to. The beaches on the west are so different, fantastic for long walks.

  • Reply November 15, 2013


    Looks pretty good for a pool that was built in the 1880s. They did a fantastic job with the renovations.

    • Reply November 15, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Yes, it’s a heritage listed building I am sure and lovingly cared for. It’s in an old and very special part of our lovely harbour city. Thanks for popping in.

  • Reply November 16, 2013

    Rachel M

    A harbor pool … so close to the heart of the city – Lovely!!!

  • Reply November 16, 2013

    Hotly Spiced

    It’s a great pool and it’s so good that pools of this vintage still exist. Love how they re-named it after one of our most famous swimmers started her swimming career there xx

  • Reply November 16, 2013

    Jennifer Smart

    Hi Seanna,
    This is my local pool! A 2 minute walk through Elkington Park’s beautiful old palms and we’re there. We love going at low tide for the sandy beach, but high tide’s great too for jumping straight into the water. There’s also a resident sting ray that lurks in the corners from time to time. Best to give it a few days after rain – like all Sydney harbour spots, but if the water quality is really poor, they close. It really is a gorgeous place and if you can mid-week, you could it have it yourself!

  • Reply November 16, 2013


    Looks like a great place to wile away the summer!

  • Reply November 17, 2013

    Katie (

    Looks like the sort of place I could easily spend a day! I’m in Melbourne now, but used to live in Sydders and do miss the water activites there. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Shark net??!! So, it is not a traditional, self-contained cement hole in the ground but something that actually opens up to the bay? What an interesting idea. The building looks lovely, and the lap pool reminds me of Barton Springs in Austin, Texas.

    • Reply November 18, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Hello Michele, there are quite a few netted swimming enclosures in Sydney Harbour, this one is unusual as it has the old buildings too, and decking all the way round the harbour pool. You pay to go in, as with a few of the other pools too. Several are free though. There certainly are sharks in the harbour so it’s quite pleasant to have a net sometimes!

  • Reply June 4, 2014


    I wish, wish, wish we had more sea baths in Victoria!

    Just came back from a visit to London and took great delight in all their lidos and pond swimming spots!

    • Reply June 5, 2014

      Seana Smith

      Oh yes there are lidos in London, how fab. Did you have a great trip? We are totally spoiled in Sydney. X

  • Reply November 19, 2018

    Pool Restorations

    Nice Blog!! The content you have shared is very elaborative and informative. Thanks a lot for sharing such a great piece of knowledge with us.

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