Coogee Pier’s historic pylons to be turned into public works of art


Coogee Pier’s historic pylons will be turned into public art after they are removed from Coogee Beach. Picture: Facebook.

By SASHA FOOT

Randwick City Council will turn the historic Coogee Pier pylons into public art, after safety concerns led to their removal from the beach. The twelve pylons, which were the last remnants of the 1920s Coogee Pleasure Pier, were removed by contractors hired by the council in early July after rough surf conditions exposed the piers.

Residents of Coogee expressed disappointment that reminders of Coogee Beach’s history had been pulled from the sand, but welcomed the idea of ​​reusing the artifacts in public art.

Councilor of Randwick Joanne McCafferty said the decision to remove the concrete and wooden pylons came quickly.

“With the weather events, it was a situation that needed to be reacted to quite quickly,” she said.

Cr McCafferty tabled a motion at a council meeting in July that called for consultation with artists and local residents on the future use of the pylons.

She said that since “the community felt that they had not had the opportunity to provide their views”, she is “thrilled” that her submitted motion passed.

Coogee Pier pylons

The old pier pylons were exposed after severe weather. Picture: Facebook.

Longtime Coogee resident Mary Richard said city ​​hub that the pylons on display posed no public risk since they “were rarely seen”.

“At that time, they were a powerful reminder of our colorful past, and locals generally loved to see them.”

Resident Johnny Elizondo also said he was “disappointed, but understood the safety issue”.

“For years, the pier footings would come and go after every big storm. But the pylons would be continually covered by sand and the tide.

After learning of their removal, residents pleaded for a historical display for artistic or functional purposes.

Randwick Council aims to receive submissions from local artists or groups in the area following a report outlining the process and expected project budget.

Cr McCafferty said that by “encouraging artists and community involvement”, the project will align with the the council’s ten-year arts and culture strategy.

Historical Significance of Coogee Pleasure Pier Recognized

Randwick Councilor Bill Burst also suggested an approved amendment to place a historical plaque on the pylons, informing people of their past use. The Coogee Pleasure Pier, modeled on English piers such as the Brighton Palace Pier, was built in 1928 but was later removed in 1934 following storm damage.

A 1400-seat theater, an upstairs sit-down restaurant, and a ballroom were the pier’s main attractions.

Coogee Pleasure Pier

Historic image of the Coogee Pleasure Pier from 1928. Photo: Flickr.

“The story of the Coogee Pleasure Pier is fantastic. It really speaks to the times and what Coogee was like in the 1920s and 1930s,” said Cr McCafferty.

“My kids were certainly very engaged when I showed them pictures of the pier and what Coogee looked like.”

Residents of Coogee have expressed dismay at the lack of preservation of historic sites and heritage in Coogee.

Richard said the “hit list” for heritage sites began when the community “fought and lost the fight to preserve the sandstone wall along Arden Street”.

“Next is the Coogee Surf Club: an iconic yellow structure featured on tourist memorabilia and vacation snaps,” she said. “Now he’s known as ‘the microwave’ – unrecognizable from his 1930s past.”

Richard added that the bandstand, bus stop and toilets – built to match Coogee Palace, the picnic stand and matching bus shelter on Carr Street – will soon lose their charm.