In a city that has a reasonably large number of public pools per capita, it would be easy for one of Sydney’s many swimming holes to slip under the radar. And one did, for a while. But after a long period of neglect and an even longer time under construction, Redfern’s Prince Alfred Pool is finally back – bigger, better and warmer than before.
Delivered some three years behind schedule, residents’ patience will be rewarded with a brand new facility and free admission to the 50-metre pool for the next six months.
Designed by Sydney architects Nick Murcutt – who sadly passed away two years ago during construction – and Rachel Neeson, the Prince Alfred has undergone a transformation. Indeed, the shabby suburban pool has become a contemporary, sustainable aquatic facility.
A simple yellow, white and blue colour palette is present throughout the facility, its signage and structures. The raw timber and geometric design have made way for new change rooms, bleachers and children’s area. Also new is an indoor/outdoor café, which will serve up everything from hot coffee and croissants to that post-swim bucket of chips.
Almost hidden from street view, the now-verdant slopes of Prince Alfred Park encircle a watery, manmade oasis. Surrounded by the calm of splashing water, you might even catch a glimpse of the Sydney skyline between strokes.
If you can brave the chilly mornings, the pool will be open from 6am every day this winter as part of a trial for year-round opening hours. No longer mind-numbingly cold, the heated water will make it infinitely easier to take the plunge.
However, getting out might be a different story.
The Prince Alfred Park Pool will have free casual entry until November 12, 2013.
Prince Alfred Park Pool
105 Chalmers Street, Surry Hills
(02) 9319 2727
Mon to Sun 6am–7pm (daylight saving 6am–8pm)