Beatty Park celebrates diamond jubilee

Published on Tuesday, 6 September 2022 at 2:54:06 PM

It’s played host to the Commonwealth Games, provided a stage for some of the world’s biggest music acts and helped hundreds of thousands of West Australians keep fit.

And now, Beatty Park Leisure Centre is celebrating 60 glorious years by taking people on a trip down memory lane.

Beatty Park was purpose-built in 1962 as the major aquatic venue for the British Empire and Commonwealth Games.

It opened to the public as Beatty Park Aquatic Centre three days after the games wrapped up and moonlighted as Perth’s go-to concert venue in the late 60s and 70s, hosting the likes of Santana, Deep Purple and The Bee Gees.

Beatty Park officially became a leisure centre in 1994 and now has an attendance figure that is creeping up towards one million visits a year.

To mark the centre’s diamond jubilee, the café inside has gone retro with a temporary overhaul that includes mid-century furniture, wallpaper and vintage television frames.

A series of nostalgia-inducing videos will be playing on screens around Beatty Park, featuring 12 people who share their best moments and fondest memories of the centre.

A new video in the Sixty Years of Beatty Park series is being release each week, with stories from an elite swimmer, a veteran gymgoer and even someone who claims to have broken in and used the pool the day before the Commonwealth Games.

Former concert-goer Larry Wale shared his memories of visiting Beatty Park as an eight-year-old when his mother worked at the kiosk, and later attending gigs in the 1970s.

“I remember at one concert the girls were jumping in the water to get to the band,” he said.

“I can’t remember which band it was, whether it was Daddy Cool or Deep Purple, one of those two.

“The acoustics in the actual arena was great and the setup of the stage was good, everyone had good vision.

“It was very exciting to be a part of seeing these overseas acts at the time. Everything was happening, here.”

The City of Vincent is bringing live music back to Beatty Park on Friday 25 November, with a Sixties Sundowner that pays homage the centre’s history as a music venue.

A Retro Family Fun Day is being held on Saturday 26 November, which will include mermaids, gogo dancers, a bubble artist, a hula hooper and a Kombi photo booth.

“Beatty Park is an iconic centre with a rich history and a well-deserved reputation as a community hub,” said Mayor Emma Cole.

“It has gone from hosting athletes, to rock stars, to people from all around Perth who want to keep fit and healthy and who love the sense of community that comes with being a member.

“The 60th anniversary celebrations are a time of reflection and celebration, but it’s also a good time for us to talk about what we want the future of Beatty Park to look like.”

The City is working on the Beatty Park 2062 project to provide a vision and long-term plan for what this State Heritage site will look like when it celebrates its centenary.

Essential maintenance work is being done to protect and preserve the original 1962 grandstand, which can’t be used by community members because of its age and condition.

The next step in the project is to look at the refurbishment of the main entrance to the grandstand so it can be re-opened to the public, subject to the City securing funding assistance.

The City presented an update on the project to the Heritage Council in August, and has invited the Heritage Council on a site visit to better understand the significant challenges of maintaining the grandstand.

Beatty Park is the most significant remaining legacy of Perth hosting the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games

The City will be looking for State and Federal Government support to progress and help fund the project.

To find out more about the 60th anniversary celebrations, visit https://www.beattypark.com.au/about/sixty-years

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