The sun is shining, the air is warm and it’s time to head to a Sydney pool. Nestled along the city’s beaches and harbour are a treasured collection of ocean pools, where locals and visitors have been swimming for generations. Often carved into the rock at the edge of cliffs and beaches, they offer a sheltered place to swim away from strong surf and shark attacks. Some are maintained by councils and some are privately run, including the iconic Bondi Icebergs Pool.
In the late 1800s, many communities built swimming pools to provide recreational and competitive swimmers with a safe environment to do laps. Author and academic Marie-Louise McDermott, who has written extensively on the topic of Sydney’s ocean pools, says recreational and competitive swimmers needed a pool where they could swim safely and where they were protected from dangerous surf conditions and shark attacks.
Many of the pools were built in a similar style to private baths, with concrete or galvanised iron walls and gates that were locked at night. The pools also offered protection from the harsh winter weather and high winds that were common in NSW coastal areas at the time. The swimming pools were popular for decades and provided a valuable service to the city’s residents, but in recent years they have fallen into disrepair.
The lack of funding for council maintenance and upgrades means that the pools are now struggling to keep up with demand and to meet national standards. Many have been closed for a number of years, while others have had to close parts of the season due to unreliable heating systems and poor water quality. The deteriorating conditions have led to calls for the major political parties to make pre-election commitments to build new pools in the city’s growing western and south-west suburbs.
In addition to a comprehensive Sydney pools directory, the online community also features an active Sydney Pools forum. Its diverse sectional sections cover a variety of topics, from tips and tricks to news and advice. It’s the perfect resource for anyone who wants to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the Sydney Pools scene.
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