Bondi Icebergs Club Under Scrutiny

Iconic Bondi Icebergs Club Faces Allegations of Harassment Seeking Justice and Compensation

Bondi Icebergs Club

A Sydney woman, Camilla Theakstone, is currently seeking compensation amounting to $20,000 from the iconic Bondi Icebergs club. Her claims include allegations of experiencing repeated sexual harassment and feeling “leered” at by “older, creepy men” while using the club’s pool and sauna facilities. Shockingly, her plight took a troubling turn when she found herself banned from the club after registering complaints about these unsettling incidents.

Camilla Theakstone, a 28-year-old former journalist, has raised these serious allegations against Bondi Icebergs, a world-renowned club known for its picturesque location and popularity among locals and tourists. Her accusations extend to the staff at the club, who, according to her, did nothing to address her concerns and did not appear to take her complaints seriously.

In her efforts to address the distressing environment she encountered within the club, Ms. Theakstone took the significant step of filing a formal complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC). Her complaint alleges that Bondi Icebergs has violated the Sex Discrimination Act on multiple occasions, thereby making a strong case for seeking $5,000 in legal fees, along with an additional $15,000 for damages resulting from the emotional distress and harm to her reputation, which she attributes to the club’s alleged mishandling of her situation.

In her own words, Ms. Theakstone emphasizes that the financial compensation she seeks is not her primary concern. She explains, “I don’t care about the money, I have my own. I will give it all to my lawyer. It’s just about sending a strong message.”

Ms. Theakstone’s advocacy efforts are underpinned by her desire to see the club take action by erecting a sign explicitly stating that “leering, harassment, or disrespectful behavior is not tolerated” and that engaging in such behavior would lead to an immediate ban. She notes that initially, the club management appeared receptive to her request but failed to follow through with implementing the sign.

In her complaint, spanning a substantial 22 pages and containing over 13,600 words, Ms. Theakstone alleges that Bondi Icebergs exhibited “wilful negligence in creating a safe and lawful environment for women.” She claims that, over the past two years, a deeply rooted culture of misogyny and sexual entitlement towards women, especially young women, has become pervasive within the club’s sauna facilities.

Ms. Theakstone, who has been a paid member of the Bondi Icebergs Club since February 2022 and frequents the club’s sauna and pool nearly daily, describes her experiences as having been predominantly positive, with many friendships formed among other club members and attendees. However, she explains that a concerning shift has occurred over the past two years, leading to a culture of harassment and abuse in the sauna. She details instances of experiencing sexual harassment and abuse herself, as well as witnessing it directed towards other women.

She emphasizes that, on most occasions, she chose to ignore behavior from male patrons that made her feel uncomfortable. However, in cases where the unwanted behavior persisted, she made an effort to report it to the club. Unfortunately, she claims that the club’s staff appeared ill-equipped to handle such incidents. She highlights that the club has garnered a reputation in the Bondi Beach community as being a “creepy” place, where women frequently complain about men’s behavior.

One of the incidents Ms. Theakstone describes involves an older man making inappropriate comments about her physique while leering at her in the sauna. This incident escalated as other men in the sauna followed suit in leering at her. The distress she felt in that moment is indicative of the broader issue she highlights.

In the email she sent to Bondi Icebergs on July 16, Ms. Theakstone outlined numerous alleged incidents of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior that she either witnessed or experienced in the sauna, stating that it occurred almost every time she visited the club. Her detailed account includes men frequently initiating unwelcome conversations with her, attempting to obtain her phone number despite her disinterest, and older men leering at her body within the sauna, despite her efforts to convey her discomfort.

The alleged incidents also involved men intentionally sitting or standing too close to her, inappropriately staring at her, and even “accidentally” making physical contact with her body. Ms. Theakstone recounted an occasion when a man made an inappropriate comment about her physique, leaving her feeling uncomfortable and objectified.


These disturbing experiences culminated in the club’s request for a meeting to discuss her allegations further. However, Ms. Theakstone expressed a preference for written communication. In her complaint to the AHRC, she conveyed the difficulty of providing precise details, such as specific times, names, dates, and descriptions, owing to the transient nature of the club, where anyone can access the sauna for a fee. This made it challenging to identify the individuals involved.

Despite extensive communication over subsequent weeks, Bondi Icebergs informed Ms. Theakstone on August 10 that she was banned from the club. The club contended that her allegations had placed immense stress on both staff and herself and had caused her substantial grief, stress, and frustration.

The club’s decision to ban Ms. Theakstone was rooted in concerns for her safety and welfare. They believed that the club’s environment, as perceived by Ms. Theakstone, was toxic, and they wanted to ensure her protection in the short term by temporarily suspending her membership. They further promised to suspend the individuals she alleged had harassed her.

The decision left Ms. Theakstone shocked and feeling as if she had been penalized for raising a formal complaint, as her membership was suspended and she was banned from returning to the club.

As the matter now rests with the AHRC, the club’s spokesperson declined to offer any comments on the situation. The complaint brought to light the challenges women may face in certain public spaces, shedding light on the importance of creating a safe and respectful environment for all patrons.

Ms. Theakstone’s pursuit of justice not only involves seeking compensation but also endeavors to underscore the significance of addressing such concerns and fostering a safe and inclusive environment within public spaces.

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