Parnell Baths - NZ Landmark

The development of the historical Parnell sea saltwater swimming baths dates back to 1880s. Over the years, Parnell Baths has encouraged sea swimming in the Auckland community.

Parnell Baths was amongst the new buildings established during the early 1900s that were thought suitable for a sophisticated and civilised city. Parnell Baths has become nationally known as Auckland's premier outdoor public swimming facility, providing the perfect location for a hot 'Kiwi' summer's day.

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History of Parnell Baths 

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Parnell Baths started as an idea in 1912 when the then Parnell Borough Council began inspecting sites for a bath to be constructed as swimming became more mainstream. By 1913, construction had begun at the site in Judges Bay with the Baths opening on Saturday March 7th, 1914 at 3pm.

From 1920-1940 various improvements were made to the Baths including lighting, seating, diving boards, clocks and slides. In 1926, Parnell installed its first phone and first aid kit in case of emergencies.

1927 saw the floor of Parnell Baths concreted to improve water quality from what many swimmers called “pea soup”. This work was completed for the start of the 1927 season. 1928 saw the first season of water treatment with liquid chlorine used to treat the water, and further developments to water treatment following in the years after this.

1944 saw Auckland Council begin work to reclaim land to build the access road from Judges Bay to Parnell Baths that we all use today.

1950 saw the biggest changes to Parnell planned, with redevelopment plans created for Parnell Baths to be transformed into the Lido style complex we know and love today.

In the years that followed, patrons from all over Auckland and New Zealand visited Parnell Baths. Large hydro slides were installed in 1982, but were then removed in 1986. Possible closures of the baths were prevented by a swell of community support as plans for redevelopment were put forward and then retracted.

Parnell Baths was again upgraded in 2002, focusing on reinstating the heritage of the building with colour and refurbishments in line with the heritage era of the building.

2013 saw two big changes to Parnell Baths with the rebuild of the foot bridge connecting Tamaki Drive to Point Resolution, and also free swimming for under 16s introduced by Auckland Council.

The one constant for Parnell Baths is the connection it has with the community. The large facility welcomes everyone, from those who are training for triathlons, to those who swim for fitness and leisure. The Baths stand as a timeless spot for friends and families to continue making lifelong memories.

To find out more about Parnell’s history, you can purchase Parnell Baths: A Jewel in Auckland’s Crown by Joanna Boileau and Sue Monk at Parnell Baths Reception during the summer season.

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