This section of the knowledge base provides a prime example of the type of cultural support that may be provided by a local council, in this case the inner-city coastal council area of Waverley, east of Sydney’s CBD. Most though not all the projects listed in the second part of the note involve live performance.

The Bondi Pavilion Community Cultural Centre is located on Sydney’s most famous beach, visited by untold thousands of domestic and international visitors. It was not always like this, though the history of the place gives it iconic status. In 1902, a man named Joe Gocher flouted Section 77 of the Police Offences Act which prohibited bathing between 9 am and 8 pm. Following this, sea bathing was allowed without fear of prosecution according to the Waverley Council (quoting a Waverley Library publication acknowledging Heritage Week, 1981).

As surf-bathing became more and more popular the necessity for changing areas was recognised, and in 1909 Waverley Council invited designs for surfing accommodation at Bondi Beach for 750 men and 250 women. The original pavilion was opened for public use in 1911. The Bondi Improvement Scheme was launched in 1923, and in 1928 the foundation stone for the new pavilion was laid. The new design included dressing accommodation for 12,000 people, Turkish baths, shops, gymnasium and ballroom.

The use of the pavilion declined from the 1950s, and Waverley Council later began a rebuilding programme to convert it to a community cultural centre. It was opened in June 1978, providing a wide range of classes, workshops, exhibitions, concerts, theatre productions and other activities.

Bondi Pavilion was classified by the National Trust in 1977 as a structure of significant historic character – one of the best known features of Sydney’s beach improvement schemes.

Programs and Projects

The Musician in Residence programs have been established at the Bondi Pavilion Community Cultural Centre since 1985 and the new Musicians in Residence program,1 which the Bondi Pavilion is now operating under, has been established since 2005. Both of these comprehensive music programs have been funded by the Australia Council and the NSW Ministry for the Arts, since their inception. The Musicians in Residence program incorporates associate artists who, based on their skills and expertise are employed to run nominated workshops. This format has proved to be most successful and beneficial not only to the wider community but it also allows us greater capability to employ a wider selection of music practitioners. We wish to continue this format for 2007. The projects outlined for the Musicians in Residence program for 2007 are a continuation of established programs with some new initiatives. Programs have been devised to cater for all sections of the community with the intention of creating new and original musical works as well as allowing musical expression for the participants of the projects.

Project 1: Emerging Artists

To enable emerging artists access to professional recording studio production in the development of their music and songwriting. The relationship between young and emerging artists and the Musicians in Residence will nurture the talents and creative development of many young musicians in the areas of performance, songwriting and recording career opportunites. This project will be facilitated by Amanda Brown, John Kilbey and Martin White who will prepare participants for studio recording of their original compositions.

Project 2: Senior Citizens Groups

To continue to develop the musical and vocal skills of a group of elderly musicians and poets. To further develop the skills of the instrumentalists in the group and bring new instrumentalists into the project. In 2006 the group recorded a new CD “Bondi Vista Social Club” to be launched in August. The success of this project has been previously seen by the past recordings, “Truly Julie” and “Walk Along the Beach With Me”. The project will be facilitated by Tania Bowra with specialist tutors.

Project 3: Spoken Word/Poets/Hip Hop Workshops

The Hip Hop workshops would be aimed at young people from the Sydney region to encourage self-expression and the development of creative and technical skills to create new original works. Sessions at the Powerhouse Museum’s Soundhouse will be included to learn computer-based music programs for composing backing tracks and beats. Local musicians will be able to contribute music scores and soundscapes resulting in a compilation CD. Participants will also have the opportunity to showcase their work on Koori Radio [Indigenous] and Bondi FM as well as performing at community festivals and events. This project will involve collaboration with Redfern Community Centre’s music department. Facilitated by Mita Tahutu,with specialist tutors Radical Son and Six Pound.

Project 4: Studio & Production Training

The aim of this project is to train participants in the recording process which may lead to work experience or employment of studio assistants in the Pavilion studios. The outcome will be skills for future employment in the music industry or in the studio/home. Facilitated by Danny-Go-Lightly and Martin White.

Project 5: Primary School Rock Band

Open to primary school children to encourage them to use their creativity, to enhance their musical skills and to learn techniques which enable them to write their own music and perform it. The project run in 2005 was very successful with positive outcomes and demand for this project to run again is very high. The project will run for two school terms and will encourage primary students to carry their learned skills to the next stage of our youth projects – The Bondi Wave. A CD will result from the project. Facilitated by Mel Forbes and John Kilbey.

Project 6: Bondi Community Choir

At present a community choir does not exist in the Waverley area and as there are many requests for one, we would like to introduce a new initiative to provide and encourage vocalists to work on devising original choral pieces as well as singing standard songs from a repertoire that the group will select. The group will focus on a-cappella singing and vocal arrangements and the group will have the opportunity to perform at community events in the future. Facilitated by Nadia Piave.

Project 7: Bondi Community Multicultural Recordings

The aim is to engage with the many varied ethnic communities to produce a CD based on their spiritual belief systems. This project would facilitate the unification and interaction of these diverse groups by exploring Hebrew and Cantorial Melodies, Hindu Bhajans, Christian hymns, Arabo-Andalusian Sufi Qawwalis and Tibetan Buddhist Chants. The melding of different musical styles, instruments and musicians would create a unique experience and CD encouraging self expression under a common spiritual activity. Facilitated by John Kilbey.

Project 8: Pre-School Recordings

We will conduct a music development program of songwriting workshops with preschool children in the child care centres in the Waverley Council area. General music workshops, instrumental development and songwriting sessions will be conducted over a twelve week period. Nine short songs resulting from the workshops will be recorded at the Bondi Pavilion recording studio and a compilation CD and song booklet will be produced. Previous CDs have included “I’m Not Scared” and “Cowgirls and Cowboys”. The project has proven to be a great success in the past with a demand for running this project again.


Kerry Digby. Last updated 10 August 2007.


  1. Waverley Council’s Annual Report for 2005-06 put the Musicians in Residence program into a general policy context: under services for young people (pp 29-30, 132, 139-141), access and equity activities for people with disabilities (p 132), and state of the environment activities (pp 166-167). The Bondi Pavilion Community Cultural Centre features prominently in the report (a search for ‘pavilion’ yields 65 hits). It is mentioned prominently in Council’s multicultural policy action plan (p 27) and other contexts.↩︎

Music Project Officer, Bondi Pavilion Community Cultural Centre, Sydney.

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