Beach revamp: Seating ‘sculptures’create a modern look

SUTHERLAND Shire’s version of Sculptures by the Sea gained plenty of attention when people flocked to inspect the revamped southern corner of Cronulla beach on the weekend.

The trendy design, described as ‘‘contemporary’’ by Sutherland Shire Council, includes new seating and six sun lounges, cast in concrete.

Together with extensive use of timber, sandstone, grass and palm trees, the sunny nook is almost unrecognisable from what what previously existed.

Although comments to the Leader were mostly positive, some people questioned whether sunbaking should be encouraged, given the danger of skin cancer.

Concerns were also raised about the prospect of night-time parties, particularly since no lighting has yet been installed.

A heritage study by the Australian Museum shaped the revamp.

The study, commissioned by Sutherland Shire Council, unearthed further remnants of the ladies’ dressing pavilion, which stood on the site from 1914 until it was demolished about 1940.

The timber deck and sandstone wall were designed to cover the footprint of the old pavilion.

Mayor Kent Johns said, apart from timber finishing and the installation of some temporary bollards this week, work on the $3 million sea wall replacement and Esplanade upgrade was finished for this year.

‘‘The project will recommence in May 2013,’’ he said.

‘‘We have planned this to co-ordinate with the end of the Nippers’ season in late April as well as the conclusion of the peak trading period for local businesses.’’

Next year, interpretative signage and historic photos will be displayed to accentuate the history of the area.

Other work due to take place at that time includes repaving of the area in front of the surf club and sports pavilion, relocated showers, new bike racks, lighting, additional seating and beach signs. 

Timber bollards will be installed to separate pedestrians  and vehicles, replacing the concrete balls which previously served this purpose.

Adrian and Narelle Howard, of Connells Point, were impressed by the improvements.

‘‘We have been coming here once a week for years, and normally don’t come down this end,’’ Mrs Howard said.

‘‘When we saw the sculptures we thought we would give them a go.’’

Mr Howard admitted he quickly dozed off.

‘‘Although made of concrete, they are surprisingly comfortable,’’ he said. ‘‘They are very modern, very trendy.’’

Katrina Drescher, of Cronulla, said she was sure the area would attract a lot of people, although she wouldn’t use it.

Juan Gonzaga, of Heathcote, said while it looked good, he was concerned about the environmental impact of expanding the concrete surface.

HISTORICAL GUIDE

Transformed: The revamp is based on the shire’s bathing history.

THE former ladies’ dressing pavilion included cubicles, showers and conveniences. Use of the male and female pavilions was charged at tuppence (about 2c) for men and three pence (3c) for women, while swimming costume hire cost sixpence (5c).

Mayor Kent Johns said investigation following the heritage study of the site showed there were approximately 13 circular cuttings in the rock platform near the location of the timber posts that would have supported much of the dressing pavilion.

The base of three remaining timber posts as well as six sockets where the posts had rotted out could still be seen at low tide.

He said the council would be seeking input from the community through a memories workshop to be held early next year. 

The information gathered would be used in the design of further stages of the sea wall and Esplanade upgrade.

■ Do you like the new look at Cronulla beach?

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