And after a swim: coffee, lunch or snack at the kiosk:
South Curl Curl is a beach north of Manly on the Northern Beaches area of Sydney. In this area, a string of ocean pools stretch from Palm Beach to Manly. See them all on the NSW Ocean Baths website. Most (not all, and not South Curl Curl) were built or expanded during the 1930s as projects to employ people during the Great Depression. Sydney is blessed with rocky headlands with rock platforms at the end of the crescent shaped beaches, and the pools are generally located on these rock platforms.
I am pretty sure they would never happen nowadays - there would be much uproar and protest at changing the natural rock platforms.
I love that these pools are free, and not fenced, are fully publicly accessible. Long may that remain! One of the last bastions of the "common good" in our bean-counting, user-pays world. (OK, I know Warringah rate payers pay...but that's a great use of local taxes - the rest of us help by supporting local businesses like cafes and shops. ..)
South Curl Curl pool (information from the website linked above):
1924: The Curl Curl Improvement Association requested that Warringah Council's engineer inspect the proposed site for a rock pool.
1925: The surf club was active in the enlargement of the rock pool to provide safer bathing. A public meeting about constructing baths led to the Curl Curl Improvement Association and South Curl Curl Life Saving Club forming a South Curl Curl Bath Committee to pressure council to enlarge the pool 'for the children' with the club raising funds for its completion via carnivals and social events at the clubhouse. A beauty pageant run by the swimming club helped to raise funds for the pool's construction.
1926: Warringah Shire Council completed construction of the baths. The outer wall of this original rock pool is now the centre wall of the present pool.
1927: The baths were formally opened.
1928: After the surf club advised it would take no further responsibility for the control of the rock baths, this role was taken over by a Council overseer.
1931: Swimming at the rock pool was part of the holiday experience of the first children accommodated at Stewart House, a facility created to provide seaside holiday accommodation for NSW schoolchildren 'from western suburbs and beyond'. (The Stewart House Prevantorium is still there: supported by public schools - students and teachers across NSW)
1935: Proposals were put forward for the enlargement of the rock pool.
Late 1930s: A wall was constructed at the rock pool, creating two pools. The outer wall of the original rock pool is the centre wall of the present pool.
1950: Toilets and a change-room were built.
Early 1960s: The Curl Curl Amateur Swimming Club formed following a meeting convened by South Curl Curl surf club. As the NSW Amateur Swimming Association did not then permit any of its affiliated clubs to have male and female members, the swimming club was officially divided into men's and women's sections. The surf club assisted the swimming club financially, and allowed to use the surf club for meetings, social functions and equipment storage.
1966: The men's and women's Amateur Swimming Clubs united to form one club and the pool was shortened to accommodate Olympic standard 50-metre races. This created a pool complex consisting of a 'stilling basin', a main pool (50 metres by 12 metres) and a wading pool (25 metres by 15 metres).
1968: Warringah Shire built the first clubhouse for the Amateur Swimming Club.
Mid-1970s: There were swimming competitions between the Amateur Swimming Club and the surf club.
Mid-1980s: The Harbord Frigid Frogs winter swimming club began to use the clubhouse building.
1990: A deck was added onto the clubhouse building to increase space available for the Frigid Frogs Club, which operates all year round.
1997: The children's pool was partly concreted, entry ramps were installed and pool walls repaired.
1999: The pool catered for a wide range of activities and for patrons of all ages and abilities. The carpark behind the beach which joins the surf club with the swimming club building and rock pool provided several disabled parking places for direct access to the pool. The elderly retired locals who habitually sunned themselves at the base of the concourse wall were affectionately known as 'the walruses'. Several high schools used the pool during weekdays in the swimming season. The wading pool was not only popular with children, it was also used as access to the surrounding rock shelf. Some locals expressed concerns about the pool being used for scuba lessons.
2002: At the 26th national winter swimming championships, the Frigid Frogs were again the strongest winter swimming club in Australia, finishing 71 points ahead of the Cronulla Polar Bears and the Maroubra Seals.
2003: On a day of gale-force winds, the police helicopter and two rescue service helicopters searched the seas after a pair of men were reported to have been pulled out to sea in heavy swells off South Curl Curl beach. It was not clear whether the men had been washed from a rock pool at the beach or had been swimming nearby when the undertow took hold of them. The search for the two men proved unsuccessful and was abandoned.
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