Sans Souci Baths
Squint and you can almost see the modest bathers of the early 1900s with their swim caps and pantaloons, towels spread out on the sands in front of sky blue bathing pavilion. What is now a borderline ramshackle place, situated between an Olympic pool and water police was once packed with recreational and competitive swimmers, or others just looking for a reprieve from the summer heat. “At the height of its use, it wasn’t uncommon to have 500-600 people in the water,” explains Garry Darby, author of Baths and Boatsheds: the waterfront community at Sans Souci 1895 — 1965. “Back then, swimming was a really big community activity. The swimming leagues were family organisations.”
In addition to its social scene, the pavilion speaks to the era. Built in 1933 by Depression affected “relief workers”, the structure was a prime example of Art Moderne, an International style that focused on functionality, featured horizontal lines — and most of all, it was relatively cheap and easy to build. But take a peak inside the now abandoned building you’ll see even more amazing artefacts from a bygone time — a tube of Milo, a rusted Kelvinator and a rotary phone. Ancient!