The Forum

The Hunter Region's premier aquatic facility

Newcastle University Sport (NUsport) is the peak sporting body at the University of Newcastle. It manages The Forum Sports and Aquatic Centre on the Callaghan campus and The Forum Health and Wellness Centre in Newcastle CBD.

Over the course of its 23 years, The Sports and Aquatic Centre at Callaghan has undergone many incremental repairs and upgrades. A review and analysis of its structural elements and pool water systems (pumps, filtration, chemical dosing, heating etc.) reveal deterioration beyond the scope of minor repairs.

To ensure the Aquatic Centre remains ahead of industry standards and to continue to offer dynamic and functional facilities for all users, the University of Newcastle Vice Chancellor Professor Alex Zelinsky AO recognised the need to prioritise the refurbishment works, and requested the project to commence during the closures of facilities in the management of COVID-19.

Project scope

The main priorities of the project are to:

  1. repair and upgrade the pool structure
  2. modify the existing structure to accommodate a disabled access ramp
  3. install touch pad timing and swim wall that will provide flexibility to length of lanes
  4. replace all pool tiles to maintain quality and aesthetic of the facility
  5. refreshment of grandstand and upgrade to ground floor amenities
  6. redesign entry level
  7. install new elevator with improved accessibility
  8. install new automated and energy efficient climate control system
  9. redesign concourse staff/first aid area.

These works apply only to the indoor pool, associated infrastructure and amenities. The Forum will otherwise continue to operate sport, health and fitness programs for our community. Click here for information on The Forum’s current opening times and programming.

Project Updates

September 2020

In June, during the closure of facilities due to COVID-19, significant refurbishment works began in the Aquatic Centre at Callaghan to ensure the centre remains ahead of industry standards and continues to offer dynamic and functional facilities for all users.

The upgrades are well underway, with works in the amenities commencing on 31 August and pool hall works set to begin in October. Click here for more information on the original project announcement and scope.

Following consultation, the scope of the project includes:

  • Redesigned entry level
  • New elevator with improved accessibility
  • Refreshment of grandstand
  • New automated and energy efficient climate control system
  • Redesigned concourse staff/first aid area.

The design of the main pool hall is complete and breathes new life into the space whilst maintaining the architectural beauty and integrity. Take a look below at the artist impressions!

Whilst these works are progressing, the team at NUsport has worked hard to ensure aquatic programs continue for our community. Collaboration with BlueFit and City of Newcastle sees the following adaptations to programming:

  • Squad swimming operating at Lambton and Wallsend Pools
  • Learn to Swim and School Sport recommencing at Lambton Pool in Term 4
  • Swim Fit coach-led group sessions at Lambton Pool.

View all current aquatic program arrangements at www.theforum.org.au.


December 2020

While the upgrades are well underway, with the change rooms and amenities set to be complete tomorrow, an additional scope of works has been included in the project.

In addition to the redesigned entry level, new elevator and refreshment of the grandstand, all pool surface tiles will now be replaced to maintain the quality and aesthetic of the venue. This work will result in a short extension of the pool’s closure, which we now confirm to be mid-2021.

Until programs can transition to the completed facility, the team at NUsport has negotiated with local aquatic centres to ensure aquatic programs continue for our community. Collaboration with BlueFit and City of Newcastle sees the following adaptations to programming:

  • Squad swimming operating at Lambton and Wallsend Pools until mid-May 2021
  • Learn to Swim at Lambton Pool until the end of Term 1, 2021

All current aquatic program arrangements can be found here.

Deborah Wright, NUsport Chief Executive Officer, is delighted to foster community collaboration and is thankful for the support from our partners during this time.

“The valuable cooperation of the City of Newcastle and BlueFit has been critical in the success of the relocated swimming programs. NUsport and the University sincerely appreciate the positive working relationship between all parties and it is a testament to what can be achieved with community collaboration during challenging circumstances,” she said.

We thank you for all of your support and look forward to welcoming our community back to the Aquatic Centre in Q2, 2021! Until then, the remainder of The Forum facilities are open for your enjoyment.