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Coogee Aquarium Celebrates Milestone

By Dan Hutton on April 5, 2012 in News

2012 marks the 135th year of the building originally named the Coogee Palace Aquarium.

The original Palace included an indoor swimming pool (25 x 10 meters), an aquarium, a hall that could be used as a roller skating rink, a Canadian toboggan that ran down the hillside for over 70 meters, a herd of 14 donkeys to ride, as well as swings, whirligig’s rocking horses, toy boats, aviaries, flower beds, a bandstand and an open air bar.

In June 1945, a strong storm caused the large dome of the Palace to collapse and it wasn’t until 1987 that the dome, as the well as the Palace itself, were re-built and converted into restaurants and bars.

The current building, now known as the Beach Palace Hotel, is owned by the Palace Leisure Group after they bought the building in the early 1990s.

And with the official anniversary taking place towards the end of the year, current general manager and licensee Chris Jolliffe is looking to ring in the changes as part of a ‘milestone makeover’.

“I’ve been listening to the community and I’m looking to reposition the Palace in response to the changes in the local area,” Jolliffe said.

According to Jolliffe, these changes are set to include replacing the first floor nightclub with another food beverage operation and building a recessed balcony area for alfresco dining, in doing so opening the room up to the ocean outside.

He also plans to reconfigure the ground floor to include a larger food and beverage area as well as dedicated kids play area.

Given that Jolliffe has lived in the Coogee area for over 15 years, and as a married father of two children, he feels he knows what the area wants and needs.

“We’re moving away from the type of place some people may call a booze barn and we’re focusing more on food, entertainment and catering to the local community’s needs,” he said.