Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre

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The Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre is a world class venue which hosted the 2006 Commonwealth Games, providing a legacy for future generations.


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  • 2008-07-11 - World First Moveable Pool Floor Launched At MSAC

    The Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC) today launched its world-first moveable pool floor, funded with $4 million from the Brumby Government, that can be raised and lowered to adjust the depth of its 50-metre outdoor pool.

    Sport and Recreation Minister James Merlino officially opened the new look pool at the Albert Park sporting complex, activating the state-of-the-art hydraulic system that moves the pool floor.

    “The Brumby Government is taking action to ensure all Victorian communities have the facilities they need to encourage healthy, active involvement in sport and recreation,” Mr Merlino said.

    “Millions of people around the world tuned in to watch 11 world records being broken in this pool during the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games and now this new state-of-the-art floor will make the pool more accessible so everyone can enjoy this wonderful aquatic facility.

    “The moveable floor is a design innovation that puts Victoria at the forefront in terms of world-class sports facilities. The hydraulic technology also means this is the first 50-metre pool in the world that can function as both an elite event pool and a community leisure pool.”

    Mr Merlino said the $4 million from the Brumby Government for MSAC moveable floor project was delivered through savings achieved from the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

    “With these savings we have been able to re-invest in community and elite level sports facilities for the benefit of Victorians across the state,” he said.

    The moveable floor project makes it possible for the pool depth to be adjusted from zero to 2.75 metres, which will cater for Victorians of all ages and will particularly help to meet the needs of people with a disability.

    Mr Merlino said the new look pool would accommodate a greater number of people in a broader range of activities through its capacity to be adjusted to various depths.

    “The pool will be versatile enough to offer programs to cater for people of all abilities - from the very young to the very old,” he said.

    “It will allow beginners to gain confidence in the water and intermediates to improve their technique, as well as allow parents to share playtime in the water with their young children.”

    The moveable pool floor will also be a key resource for the Access for All Abilities Program, funded by the Brumby Government to increase participation for people with disabilities in local sport and recreational activities.


  • 2007-07-27 - Moving Pool Floor 10th Birthday Gift For MSAC

    A $4million competition pool floor that can raise to the surface is the Bracks Government’s 10th anniversary gift to the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC) Minister for Sport and Recreation James Merlino announced today.

    Making the announcement on the eve of MSAC’s 10-year anniversary, Mr Merlino said MSAC would be the first facility in the southern hemisphere with a movable floor in a pool this size.

    “The Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre has been the premier aquatic facility in Victoria for a decade now, hosting some of the world’s most prestigious water events and providing a top-class community facility for a wide range of sport and recreational activities,” Mr Merlino said.

    “The outdoor 50-metre pool, which was recently the showpiece setting for the FINA World Championship water polo competitions, will be fitted with a state-of-the-art moveable pool floor to increase opportunities for families to enjoy using the pool with added safety benefits.”

    Mr Merlino said the moveable pool floor would be constructed from polypropylene and would be easily adjusted to different depths by a combination of hydraulic and pulley systems.

    “Decreasing the depth of the competition pool from its current 2.8 metres will improve access for a greater number of patrons – especially families and children – by transforming a pool generally used for competition, to a pool suitable for leisure aquatic activities,” he said.

    “The new floor will open up opportunities to expand learn to swim programs, and will conserve energy used to heat the pool. It will also be able to raise to the surface and act as a heat blanket to minimise loss of water through evaporation.”

    The moveable pool floor will be purpose built in Europe then shipped over to Melbourne for installation next year.

    Mr Merlino said the pool floor is being funded through dividends from the 2006 Commonwealth Games, in yet another legacy showing how the state’s major events provide significant ongoing community benefits.

    “This is further evidence that the Bracks Government is delivering on its commitment to helping all Victorians lead healthier lifestyles by offering improved opportunities to become involved in sport and recreational activities,” Mr Merlino said.

    Tonight’s 10-year MSAC anniversary will be marked with the announcement of an MSAC Hall of Fame as well as awards to the male and female athlete of the decade and a volunteer of the decade.


  • 2007-03-09 - Walking On Water A First At World Swim Championships

    Thousands of fans will literally be walking on water at a dramatically transformed Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC) during the12th FINA World Championships, Minister for Sport and Recreation, James Merlino announced today.

    Mr Merlino said that for the first time in the history of MSAC, fans will be in a stand built on the water facing the diving platform, giving them an unprecedented view of the world’s best divers in action.

    “This is a first for MSAC and is rarely seen at other diving events around the world, showing just how innovative these World Championships will be to ensure they are the best in history for competitors and spectators alike,” he said.

    “The 1800-seat grandstand and the winner’s dais will sit on the pool, giving fans the best viewing experience possible and providing an all-new cauldron-like atmosphere for the diving competition.

    “Diving fans will literally be held in suspense throughout the tournament and MSAC has yet again demonstrated its world-class credentials by taking world-class events to a new level.”

    Mr Merlino also announced a brand new 2000 seat temporary stand for the water polo arena would be a boon to the championships and to Victoria long after the competition finished.

    “This temporary stand will increase the crowd capacity at the water polo events from 3000 to 5000 and can be packed up and moved off for use at other community events and major events such as the Spring Carnival and the FORMULA 1™ Australian Grand Prix.”

    The grandstand – to go to the State Sport Centres Trust after the Championships - comprises eight sections of 250 seats and its flexibility will allow it to be transported and set up on site in a matter of hours.

    “Victorian designed and made, the complete stand comprises about 50,000 components, is 54 metres long, 20 metres deep and approximately six metres high,’ Mr Merlino said.

    Australian Gold Medallist in the 1984 Olympics 200metre butterfly event Jon Sieben – now manager of the championships water polo event for M2007 – said the new stand was a real bonus for water polo fans.

    “It’s great and with the finishing touches being added to the venue, this is going to be remembered as a special place for the world’s best divers and water polo players,” he said.

    The 12th FINA World Championships will be held from Saturday 17 March until Sunday 1 April, featuring more than 2000 athletes from up to 175 countries.

    Tickets are available at pr 1300 136 494 or visit

  • 2006-10-10 - East Bentleigh on the starting blocks for new pool

    The Bracks Government today announced plans to allocate a pool from the 12th FINA World Swimming Championships to replace the ageing East Bentleigh Memorial Pool in Bailey Reserve.

    The Minister for Sport and Recreation, Justin Madden, said the pool had been reserved for East Bentleigh, subject to a review of its constructability by Sport and Recreation Victoria and the City of Glen Eira.

    “The East Bentleigh community could soon be setting personal bests in their own world-class pool,” Mr Madden said.

    “Next year Australian stars of the water Ian Thorpe, Grant Hackett and Brooke Hanson will compete in this pool against the world’s best swimmers at the 12th FINA World Championships.

    “The East Bentleigh community has shown a need for improved aquatic facilities and the Member for Bentleigh, Rob Hudson has been extremely vocal in advocating this pool for the community.

    “The new pool could replace the East Bentleigh Memorial Pool, which is nearing the end of its life, and offer local access to a world class aquatic facility for a generation, and hopefully give rise to future stars of the water.”

    The City of Glen Eira elected to move forward on a design for a seasonal outdoor aquatics facility, including a 50 metre outdoor pool and an indoor multi-use stadium at East Bentleigh, at a council meeting on 4 September.

    “I’ve asked Sport and Recreation Victoria to work with the City of Glen Eira to appoint a consultant to determine exactly how this new pool could be used to reduce the cost to the Council and maximise its value and benefit to the local community,” Mr Madden said.

    Mr Hudson said the pool would reinvigorate the East Bentleigh facility for community use.

    “The provision of a new pool in East Bentleigh is a real must for the community and the World Swimming Championships provides a fantastic opportunity for the City of Glen Eira to obtain a state-of-the-art pool,” Mr Hudson said

    “The Bracks Government’s contribution of the pool and $20,000 towards a constructability study will mean a huge cost saving for the Glen Eira Council, which is great news for rate payers.”

    Mr Hudson also paid tribute to the Northern Memorial Action Group which has campaigned to see the East Bentleigh Pool redeveloped.
    Former Australian swimmer and local resident, Nicole Livingstone, said the World Championships pool would be a great legacy for the Glen Eira community.

    “I’m thrilled at the prospect of a having a world-class pool in East Bentleigh, my local neighbourhood,” she said.

    “Families and young children will be able to swim in a pool used by some of the world’s best athletes.”

    This announcement follows the allocation in September of a 50-metre pool for the Frankston Regional Aquatics Centre project.

    Mr Madden said up to two more pools from the 12th FINA World Swimming Championships were still to be allocated and would be announced shortly.

    The pools, designed and produced by Astral are constructed from prefabricated galvanised panels with a high strength rubber liner and can be easily transported due to their modular design.

    Similar materials were used in the recently completed pool at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatics Centre, which hosted the swimming events for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.

    The 12th FINA World Swimming Championships will be held from 17 March – 1 April 2007 with an estimated 2000 athletes from 175 nations competing in five aquatic disciplines: swimming, open water swimming, diving, water polo and synchronised swimming.

    The Championships will use two modular swimming pools at Rod Laver Arena to host the competition and warm up requirements for Swimming and Synchronised Swimming, with the Diving and Water Polo programs to be conducted at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre in Albert Park.


  • 2006-04-04 - Major sports hub open for business

    A new home for Victorian sports administration and the FINA World Swimming Championships organisers opened today at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC).

    Opening the new Sports House, the Minister for Sport and Recreation, Justin Madden, said the building would improve Melbourne’s ability to manage major events and support the administration of elite and grassroots sport.

    “Sports Hosue is the perfect addition to Melbourne’s outstanding range of world-class sporting venues and a fantastic use of a former school building that has been vacant for a number of years.”

    MSAC Sports House will be the home of the 2007 World Swimming Championships organisers and offer permanent residency to the Melbourne School of Sport and Recreation Management and Sports Medicine Australia.

    “Sports House is now Melbourne’s hub for training, management and information for both elite level and community sport and recreation,” Mr Madden said.

    Sports House has been developed in Albert Park, on the site of the former Distance Education Centre and South Melbourne Technical College.
    The Bracks Government invested $11 million towards the site and its redevelopment. Sports House will be managed by the State Sport Centres Trust.

    Sports House also complements the new world-class pool developed for the Commonwealth Games.

    “In the future, Sports House will also be available to our state sporting associations, providing them with access to administration support, office space and professional development services,” Mr Madden said.


  • 2004-01-06 - Another Games venue off and racing

    Acting Premier, John Thwaites, and Commonwealth Games Minister, Justin Madden, today unveiled the final design of the 50-metre competition pool at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre.

    The pool, part of a $50 million expansion project by the Bracks Government, will boost the Centre’s ability to host international events, including the 2006 Commonwealth Games and 2007 FINA World Swimming Championships.

    Unveiling a scale model of the project, Mr Thwaites said it would also improve the day-to-day services on offer to the community.

    “The final design of the expanded centre is the result of extensive community consultation that is reflected in the built form of the structure,” Mr Thwaites said.

    “Since it opened in 1997, the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre has become a magnet for people wanting to improve their health and well being, as well as the venue of choice for national swimming competitions.

    “This expansion will improve the Centre’s capacity to meet all these needs as a lasting legacy of Melbourne hosting the Commonwealth Games.”

    Mr Madden said John Holland Pty Ltd had been appointed as the developer of the Stage 2 expansion of the Centre, due to commence in January and be completed by the end of 2005. The development will deliver:

    • a new 50 metre outdoor competition pool (permanently roofed);
    • office space for sporting associations;
    • a dedicated hydrotherapy pool;
    • a multi storey car park; and
    • a permanent 3,000 seat grandstand.

    “On an economic level, the Stage 2 expansion is increasing Victoria’s ability to attract major aquatic events – and the business opportunities that come with them,” Mr Madden said.

    “On a social level, it is creating even better facilities where Victorians can be more physically active and come together as a community to celebrate our sporting achievements.”

    Mr Madden said sustainability was a core consideration of the expansion, with solar hot water systems, rainwater collection to flush toilets, and the use of recycled materials among initiatives to minimise its environmental impact.

    “The Centre will also be sensitive to its immediate surrounds, with the heritage façade of the former Distance Education Centre retained as part of the new Sports House,” Mr Madden said.

    Patrons are advised to visit or telephone 9926 1555 for advice on changed traffic and parking conditions during construction.


  • 2003-09-18 - Work starts on sports and aquatic centre Upgrade

    Albert Park residents will see preparatory on-site works commence over the next week as part of the stage two development of the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre.

    The Minister for Commonwealth Games, Justin Madden, said the early works by Major Projects Victoria signalled the start of the development to add a second 50-metre event pool at the Centre in readiness for the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

    Other features of the redevelopment include the creation of a sports house, a second hydrotherapy pool and easier car parking and access to the Centre.

    The early works include site preparation and minor traffic works in Aughtie Drive, the Lakeside carpark and within the Centre precinct.

    “The contractor is expected to take about eight weeks and during this time builders will be called to tender for the project,” Mr Madden said.

    The successful bidder should be announced by the end of the year and construction is expected to start in early 2004.

    Preparatory on-site works include:

    • Demolition of the gym and rear of the former Distance Education Centre building;
    • Removal of trees to accommodate early works;

    Minor civil road works including:

    • widening of the MSAC access road onto Aughtie Drive (up to 10 days); and
    • roundabout works at Lakeside car park requiring temporary traffic management arrangements for up to three weeks.

    “All these actions were outlined during the Advisory Committee hearings last year and local residents and council have now received written advice about the preparatory works,” Mr Madden said.

    “It’s regrettable that some mature trees must be removed but I stress that significant mature plantings will occur around the expanded project site and within Albert Park.

    “More than 300 trees will be planted in suitable locations determined in consultation with Parks Victoria.

    “Any tree that’s removed will be replaced on a two-for-one basis within Albert Park. Extra plantings along Canterbury Road will provide added screening of the venue.”

    Member for Albert Park, John Thwaites, said he was pleased with progress to establish a project Community Consultative Committee (CCC) with resident, council and stakeholder representatives.

    “The committee is chaired by Des Bethke – a board member of the State Sport Centres Trust (SSCT) – and will be an avenue to provide two-way feedback and information-sharing throughout the project,” he said.

    Mr Thwaites said the CCC met for the first time last week.

    The CCC will review and be able to comment on a draft Construction Management Plan and Operational Environmental Management Plan for the project.

    The SSCT and Major Projects Victoria advise that users of the Centre facilities should experience minimal disruption during construction.

    Further information about the project is available at

  • 2003-05-06 - Hydrotherapy pool a lasting legacy of Commonwealth Games aquatic centre upgrade

    A new hydrotherapy pool at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre is among key features of a major infrastructure upgrade being developed in the lead-up to the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

    The Minister for the Commonwealth Games, Sport and Recreation, Justin Madden, today revealed details of the $51 million upgrade, which followed lengthy community and user group consultation.

    “This upgrade will result in an even more impressive aquatics facility that will be a Commonwealth Games showpiece in 2006 and a lasting legacy for Victorians,” Mr Madden said.

    “These finalised plans put us in a position to develop an aquatics centre with world-class appeal for users of all ages and abilities, which will be utilised for decades after the Games have finished.

    “We have reached this stage thanks to valuable input from local residents, user groups and the Port Phillip Council during a comprehensive consultation process.”

    Mr Madden said the project’s centrepiece, a new 50-metre outdoor event pool, would enable Victoria to host international swim meets in a fantastic open-air setting.

    The outdoor pool has a permanent capacity to seat 3,000 and can easily be converted during major events to temporarily seat up to 12,000 spectators.

    Event organisers predict 10,000 local, interstate and overseas fans will be poolside to cheer Australia’s swimming stars against their Commonwealth rivals during the 2006 Games.

    “This upgrade not only enhances Melbourne’s sporting reputation to stage top international competitions, but also creates facilities which benefit recreational swimmers who are keen to keep fit, learn to swim, relax or just have fun,” Mr Madden said.

    The new 10m x 6m hydrotherapy pool is designed to appeal to users with its proximity to change facilities and parking. It will be complemented by improved access to the existing multi-purpose pool that will also undergo a retrofit upgrade to enhance its appeal for hydrotherapy use.

    Mr Madden said the multi-storey car park was planned to reduce an overflow of patrons’ cars into surrounding streets, and featured a modified design which would be less visible to nearby residents.

    “The car park is lower than was shown on the original concept plan and will be almost totally concealed from the view of Canterbury Road residents with the existing growth of trees,” he said.

    “There will also be further tree plantings, new landscaping and other design features to ensure the physical structures will be much less visible than previously planned,” Mr Madden said.

    User groups and interested stakeholders, such as the City of Port Phillip, have been given the opportunity for final input over the past two weeks during personal briefings by the Minister.

    “Now we’re in a position to firm up the project design documentation and move to the tendering stage in coming weeks,” Mr Madden said.

    Construction of the new facilities is expected to start later this year and will be completed in 2005.

    Updated displays of the project design can be viewed at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre or online at

  • 2003-03-20 - Government to ensure successful lead up to games

    Legislation before State Parliament will ensure vital Commonwealth Games infrastructure is completed successfully, the Minister for the Commonwealth Games, Justin Madden, said today.

    Mr Madden said amendments to the Commonwealth Games Arrangements Act would enable developments including the Games Village and the Melbourne Sports Aquatic Centre to be completed without delay.

    “The Bracks Government wants to ensure these facilities are developed in a way that enhances Melbourne’s sporting and urban infrastructure,” Mr Madden said.

    “The Games represent a major investment by Victorians and it is important the whole community can enjoy lasting positive legacies in return.

    “Victoria will be showcased to the world in March 2006 and it is vital games facilities are complete – the timeframe is not negotiable.”

    Mr Madden said legislation first introduced in December 2001 was not designed to cover the full scope of Games infrastructure, as the full extent or shape of some projects was unknown at that stage.

    “We now know the long term nature of these projects and it is vital these major infrastructure developments are completed without delay to ensure they are ready in time for the Games,” he said.

    The amendments provide the Minister for the Commonwealth Games with the planning powers to approve planning schemes for the Games Village.

    “The Commonwealth Games Village Advisory Committee will undertake public consultation on the village and I will consider its report before approving any planning schemes,” Mr Madden said.

    The purpose of the Bill includes:

    • Broaden the purpose of the Act to link it more explicitly with post-Games developments;
    • Determine the Games Village Land and lift any reservations on that land;
    • Broaden the definition of Games facilities and
    • Amend definition of facilities and provide for definition of the Games Village Project including the pre-Games and post-Games components of the development.


  • 2002-10-20 - New Aquatic centre will have hydrotherapy and second 50 metre pool

    Revised plans for the redevelopment of the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC) would include hydrotherapy facilities and improved landscaping, the Minister for the Commonwealth Games, Sport and Recreation, Justin Madden, said today.

    “The Stage 2 MSAC redevelopment – to be completed in time for the 2006 Commonwealth Games will include a new hydrotherapy pool to meet the health needs of local residents,” Mr Madden said.

    “It will also include a new 50-metre outdoor pool and better links with public transport, along with extensive landscaping and improved parking.”

    Responding to the advice of a special panel designed to give the community formal input into the project, Mr Madden said several elements of the project had been altered to meet local concerns.

    “For example, the leisure water element has been removed from the redevelopment plans and alterations have also been made to make carparking arrangements more sympathetic with the existing heritage building.”

    Health Minister and local Member, John Thwaites, said he was pleased the revised plans included a new hydrotherapy facility that would help meet the health needs of local residents.

    “The hydrotherapy pool will free up more pool space for swimming lessons for local children and learn-to-swim programs,” Mr Thwaites said.

    “The second pool will also benefit regular lap swimmers who are currently excluded from the main pool during competition times.

    “I’m confident the MSAC redevelopment will provide considerable benefits to our community and I welcome the way plans have been revised in line with local feedback.”

    Mr Madden said the revisions to the plans for the redevelopment demonstrated that the Bracks Government was prepared to listen to the concerns of the community, and then act on them.

  • 2002-01-25 - Architect named for Melbourne aquatic centre

    The construction of the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC) Stage 2 Project came a step closer today with the announcement of the project’s architect.

    The Minister for Major Projects and Tourism, John Pandazopoulos, named Melbourne-based firm Peddle Thorp as architect of the MSAC Stage 2 Project.

    “Peddle Thorp Melbourne, the architect behind MSAC’s highly successful first stage, has been selected from a quality field of bidders to design Stage 2,” Mr Pandazopoulos said.

    “With 30 years of practice in architecture, planning and interior design, Peddle Thorp Melbourne is well-placed to create a world-class venue that will be a key feature of the 2006 Commonwealth Games.”

    Mr Pandazopoulos said MSAC would host six Commonwealth Games sports programs, including swimming, diving and synchronised swimming.

    “MSAC will also play a huge role in the sporting and recreational lives of Victorians for generations to come.

    “One of the key tasks of the architect will be to ensure the final design reflects the desires and aspirations of the local community, the Games athletes and Victorians generally.

    “These requirements will be finalised during a public consultation process to be overseen by the recently announced MSAC Advisory Committee.”

    The development will integrate with the current site while providing an international standard events pool, improved facilities and car parking.

    An adjacent building that formerly housed a distance education centre will also be redeveloped as a home for small sporting organisations. No parkland will be lost as a result of the development.

    In addition to MSAC Stage 1, Peddle Thorp Melbourne designed the Rod Laver Arena, Vodafone Arena, and upgrades of Melbourne and Olympic Parks.

    The firm has also completed international sports stadiums and aquatic centres in Malaysia and Korea and is currently engaged to design several new stadiums in China.

    The design team for the MSAC Stage 2 Project will take in specialist advice from the Aquatic Development Group in New York one of the world’s foremost companies in leisure water design