Malabar Ocean Pool to Get Increased Maintenance This Year

Maintenance and repairs at Malabar Ocean Pool, one of Sydney’s most popular ocean pools, will ramp up this year.

Read: The Rockpool Ramble: Exploring the Coastal Riches of South Maroubra

The pool’s pump, which circulates ocean water in and out to keep the pool fresh, was damaged on January 9 resulting in the pool being closed for the weekend. Randwick City Council’s staff were able to repair the pump on January 10 and restore operation.

In response, Council will now inspect the pool twice weekly over the summer season, up from weekly inspections previously. The pool is also completely cleaned every two weeks by emptying, pressure washing, and refilling. 

Photo credit: Hong Wang Tan/Google Maps

“The Malabar Ocean Pool is a popular and much-loved place for residents and visitors,” Randwick Mayor Philipa Veitch said. “The maintenance services and additional inspections over summer will help reduce outages in the future.

Photo credit: Sam Li/Google Maps 

The mayor cited challenges with the current underwater pump including the harsh marine environment and tidal issues for access. 

“Council staff are currently finalising plans for a new pump system to be located above ground and away from the pool. The design will provide for increased reliability and easier maintenance and is scheduled for completion in winter,” Mayor Veitch said.

Later this year, Council will also conduct a major clean-out of built-up sediment on the pool floor for the first time in years. New signage about cleaning schedules will additionally be installed.

Malabar Ocean Pool Cleaning 

Photo credit: Haison Nguyen/Google Maps 

Nestled along the coast below Randwick Golf Club, Malabar Ocean Pool offers spectacular views over Long Bay and the nearby rifle range. The iconic pool sits adjacent to Malabar Beach in Long Bay, providing easy access to the water. A ramp leads down to the pool deck for visitors.

Keeping with environmentally-friendly practices, Council maintains the ocean pools without using any chemicals. Instead, council staff regularly inspect the pools and utilise steam cleaning when needed. 

The cleanliness of Malabar Ocean Pool can fluctuate with changing weather and tidal conditions. Algae build up on the steps, walls, and floor, as well as seaweed and other debris washed in from high tides, is common. The pool’s water inlets rely on the tides, with pumps programmed to circulate fresh ocean water at high tide when conditions permit.

Read: Little Bay and Malabar Beaches Set for Enhanced Safety Measures

Council staff regularly remove weed from the pool when possible, but are unable to remove seagrass which is protected under NSW Department of Primary Industries legislation safeguarding mangroves, seagrasses, and seaweeds on public waterways and foreshores.

Published 19-January-2024 

$2.15-M Amenities Block Approved for Malabar Ocean Pool

The proposed, new $2.15-million amenities block at the Malabar Ocean Pool is now a step closer to reality, after receiving Council approval for its construction.

Read: Reactions Vary as Sandon Point Beach Locals Decry Disrespectful Behaviour by Surfers from Eastern Beaches

For years, the Malabar Ocean Pool has drawn crowds seeking a refreshing aquatic escape. However, the pool lacks essential amenities, such as changing rooms and toilets which restricts access to the pool and dampens the enjoyment of families with young children, elderly individuals, and those with disabilities.

Recognizing this pressing need for improvement, the Randwick Council has proposed an amenities block that boasts two unisex toilets, two unisex change cubicles, and a unisex-accessible toilet and change area.

The facility will be positioned at the southern portion of the existing lower car park, these amenities will ensure effortless access for pool-goers. As part of the plans, there will also be provisions for accessible parking, bike racks, and service areas.

Malabar Ocean Pool Amenities block key features:
-Two unisex toilets
-Two unisex change cubicles
-One fully accessible toilet/change area
-Regraded car park section and shared car/people zone
-New landscaping, seating and bike racks

The conclusion of the community consultation period on June 26 saw 77 submissions received, with the majority expressing support for the project. However, some concerns were voiced, particularly concerning the cost of the amenities block as well as the unisex nature of the facilities which has sparked debates over safety and hygiene.

“The building design and location has been carefully planned to be as compact as possible, preserve the nearby sensitive bushland, retain views from nearby properties and respond to community feedback,” Randwick City Council website states.

Although independent councillor Noel D’Souza voted against the approved motion at a council meeting in May, he commended the council staff for recognizing the significance of pools, beaches, and other outdoor facilities in the local government area.

Looking ahead, D’Souza expressed his views on the new amenities planned for Malabar Pool, stating that they will complement and support community use.

Despite previously submitting a petition opposing the amenities, D’Souza shared his willingness to withhold opposition if the council’s reports and investigations favour the construction of amenities at Malabar Pool.

Read: Turning Waste into Energy: Malabar Biomethane Project Injects Sewage Gas into NSW Network

Construction for this much-needed facility has been slated to commence in the 2024/25 financial year.

Published 7-August-2023

Another Round of Community Consultations on Proposed Malabar Ocean Pool Amenities Block

Following a period of community consultation in 2020, where support for an amenities building was established, a new round of consultations on the proposed Malabar Ocean Pool amenities block has just been held on 29 May 2023.

The Malabar Ocean Pool lacks nearby toilet facilities, leaving visitors inconvenienced as they have to travel a considerable distance to access the nearest public amenities at Randwick Golf Club or nearby Cromwell Park

Responding to the concerns raised by pool users, the council has been approached to construct an amenities building in closer proximity to the pool. To gauge the wider community’s perspectives and determine the feasibility of the proposal, the council is actively seeking community feedback.

The chosen site for the building is at the southern portion of the existing lower car park, adjacent to the golf club. 

The proposed concept design features a thoughtfully planned amenities building which includes two unisex toilets, two unisex change cubicles, and one unisex-accessible toilet and change area. The building will also provide accessible parking, bike racks, and service areas. 

Council said that the design of the amenities building strikes a careful balance between providing modern amenities and preserving the area’s natural beauty. It prioritises compactness, minimising view impacts, and demonstrating environmental sensitivity.

Also, the proposed amenities building takes into account the needs of various pool users, including parents with young children and individuals with mobility challenges. Constructing the building, however, will lead to the loss of eight parking spaces. 

The proposal has sparked both excitement and concern among the local community. Some locals worry that the $2.15 million amenities facility will draw backpackers and potentially lead to public annoyance.

Councillor Noel D’Souza, a vocal opponent of the project, highlights the petition he received with nearly 500 signatures, claiming it as an unnecessary waste of council funds. 

Petition organiser Elizabeth Lloyd explained that people typically spend only a short time at the pool due to limited space. However, an amenities block could potentially encourage individuals to stay longer, further restricting access for other community members. 

She furthered that an existing issue with visitors setting up makeshift camps near the pool and staying for extended periods, results in pollution and garbage left behind by picnickers.  

These concerns raised shed light on the potential challenges and conflicts that may arise if the proposed amenities building is constructed near the rock pool. However, a survey conducted between July and August 2020 revealed that 70% of respondents were in favour of the project, acknowledging the convenience it would offer to pool-goers.

Published 26-May-2023

Malabar Ocean Pool Coping Restoration Now Complete

The Malabar Ocean Pool Coping project has been completed. A part of the Ocean Pool Restoration Program, the project involved the repair of the damaged coping (or outer edge) of the pools caused by constant large swells, severe storms, and strong winds.

Following the successful coping restoration of Wylie’s Baths pool, Randwick City Council undertook a similar upgrade of Malabar Ocean Pool and two other pools identified as needing restoration work around their coping. Some $300,000 worth of funding was allocated for the projects.

Three years ago, the Malabar Pool underwent coping restoration. However, the project fell short of expectations due to an issue with the cementing products used, prompting Council to seek other products that could deliver the desired results.

Once a suitable product was identified, Council proceeded to try the product on repairs at Wylie’s Baths. The product proved to have excellent results, even after a year.

Restoration works then moved to Malabar Ocean Pool. By the time restoration started, the coping surrounding the Malabar Ocean Pool was already rough and bumpy and some sections showed signs of damage from storm erosion.

The rough coping surrounding the ocean pool before the upgrade
BEFORE RESTORATION: Tough coping surrounding the ocean pool
Photo Credit: Randwick City Council /
The coping around the Malabar Ocean Pool after the restoration |
AFTER RESTORATION: The coping around the Malabar Ocean Pool
Photo Credit: Randwick City Council /

Similar restoration works at Mahon Pool is already 80 per cent complete. Minor civil works at the site include the preparation and installation of new timber posts, replacement of existing handrails, grout repair and removal of loose materials.

Meanwhile, the Ross Jones Pool upgrade is on hold and will continue as soon as weather and swell conditions permit.

About the Malabar Ocean Pool

Malabar circa 1950s
Malabar circa 1950s  | Photo Credit: Randwick City Council /

Malabar Ocean Pool is situated near Malabar Beach in Long Bay. The formation of the fine rock pool near the present Randwick Golf Club site was recorded in the 1890s. By 1909, the ocean pool had become a popular attraction among the locals.

Malabar Pool, however, fell into disrepair due to several decades of disuse following contamination issues caused by the Malabar sewage system outfall. The ocean pool was eventually reopened in 1997 following the installation of a deepwater ocean outfall for sewage in 1990 which led to the gradual clearing of the water.

Malabar Ocean Pool Amenities Building Development Up for Consideration

The Malabar Ocean Pool could get a brand new amenities building after overwhelming support from the public to proceed with the development.

In a survey conducted by Randwick City Council, 70 percent of the residents agreed that the ocean pool must have its very own amenities building whilst 24 percent said that a structure might unnecessarily ruin the site’s character. 

There are currently no toilets near the Malabar Ocean Pool and locals have to use the amenities at the Cromwell Park some 700 metres away. 

The Malabar Ocean Pool has been around since the 1890s. In the 1970s, the Council, along with the Sydney Water and NSW Department of Land and Water Conservation, closed the site due to pollution. Following an extensive restoration, the ocean pool was ready for public use again in 1997 but it was still without the needed amenities.

Photo Credit: Asif Zaveri/Google Maps

Because of its popularity with the locals, especially in the summer months, the Malabar Ocean Pool usually accommodates a large number of visitors. The precinct committee has approached the Council to build toilet facilities around the site, while a probe into a potential location was conducted in 2019. 

Locals said that the car park area could be an ideal space for the amenities building, which must also include outdoor showers, changing rooms, drinking fountains and disabled access. 

Following the result of the public consultation, the Council will now consider allocating funds to develop detailed plans in its 2021-22 budget.