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 began 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 of Auckland and New Zealand visited Parnell Baths with large hydro slides installed in 1982 then removed in 1986. Possible closures prevented by a swell of community support and plans for redevelopment 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 foot bridge connecting Tamaki Drive to Point Resolution rebuild and also free swimming for under 16s introduced by Auckland Council.

The one consistent for Parnell Baths is the connection it has with the community who use it for training for triathlon or ocean swims, those who swim for fitness and leisure and families making memories at Parnell Baths.

To find out more about Parnell’s history you can purchase Parnell Baths: a jewel in Auckland’s crown by Joanne Boileau and Sue Monk at Parnell Baths Reception during the summer season.

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