In 1985 Kodak Australasia Pty Ltd opened a fitness centre for their staff at their Coburg factory site. Located in Building 6, the 'Fit Pit' was open to all staff and provided the opportunity for staff to improve their overall health and fitness. Over its lifetime until the factory's closure in 2004, the Fit Pit had a gym with fitness equipment such as exercise bikes and weight machines. It also had facilities for activities such as aerobics and self defence classes, as well as a sauna, showers and changerooms.
Mark McKeon was appointed the Fit Pit co-ordinator in April 1985 and seems to have continued in this role throughout the almost two decades that the Fit Pit was in operation.
Although the Fit Pit was open to all staff, anyone who was interested in joining had to first be approved by the medical officer and agree to a fitness test, undertaken by members of the Physical Education unit at Philips and Footscray Institutes of Technology. A membership fee of $50 per annum also applied. New members were then required to work out under supervision before a green sticker was applied to their card enabling them to use the Fit Pit unsupervised at any time.
The Fit Pit proved popular amongst staff - including those who worked the afternoon or night shift - and the facilities were open 24 hours a day. The Fit Pit also accepted 'casual' attendance by staff who were non-members for a fee of $2 per session, although they still had to be approved by the medical officer. By 1999 employees could join the Fit Pit for a one-off fee of $20 and a $100 annual payment - this payment could be made through deductions via the Credit Union.
Employees were also encouraged to join the intra-staff Volleyball Competition at lunchtime, or the running club. Fit Pit membership was not required to be involved in these events.
A secondary fitness incentive offered by the company was the 'Wak Trak'. Officially opened in May 2003 on the Coburg factory site, the Wak Trak was an outdoor walking track specifically designed for employees to keep them physically active and healthy. The Wak Trak offered staff two track options: a day track of 2.3 kilometres and a night track (for factory shift workers) of 1.3 km.
Museums Victoria holds photographs of the Wak Trak and signage from the Fit Pit as part of the Kodak Heritage Collection, as well as Kodak Australasia newsletters that feature stories on these fitness initiatives.
'Australian Kodakery', No 162, Aug 1984, p.7 (HT 36006)