Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Oak Park, Cronulla

Saturday 28 January, 2008. A beautiful summer's day. What better to do that visit a couple of Sydney's ocean rock pools for a refreshing dip!

Oak Park pool, also known as Glaisher Point Baths.

I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land and sea, the Dharawal people.

From NSW Ocean Baths website historical notes:
A natural pool existed at what is now the eastern corner of the Oak Park Pool.

1909 Residents approached Sutherland Shire Council about construction of a 'bathing place', asking for a Council grant of 10 pounds to supplement 10 pounds raised by private contributions to remove some rock and form the bathing place at the Oakes Reserve. Council was unenthusiastic, believing that 'a marine engineer with a thousand pounds' might fail to accomplish the desired result. Despite those reservations, Council was prepared to consider providing dressing sheds at the Oakes Reserve, then considered the safest surfing beach at Cronulla.Undeterred by Council's lack of enthusiasm for the pool, the residents constructed their own bathing place at the Oakes Reserve.
1921Tenders were called for dressing sheds at the Oakes Reserve (soon better known as Oaks Park), owing to the popularity of the bathing place.
1922 Council produced a report on the pool idea, having instructed its overseer to report on 'the best and cheapest method of improving the swimming hole at Oaks Park'.
1926 Council made improvements at Oaks Park (the name would soon be shortened even further) and called tenders to erect lavatories there.
1927 There were complaints that unless the partitions in the dressing-shed were fixed, there would be 'mixed dressing as well as mixed bathing' at Oak Park. All this at a time when Sutherland Shire Council would not allow bathers to parade or loiter on the beach clad only in their swimming costumes.
1930 By 20 December, Sutherland Shire had finished work on the Oak Park pool and it was ready for use during the holidays.
1931 The pool was completed.1935Council spent a thousand pounds on work at the pool. The pool was increasing in popularity and The Hurstville Propellor urged Council to consider enlarging the pool, which often became 'uncomfortably crowded at weekends and holidays'.
1936 The baths at Oak Park benefited from the 1936 unemployment scheme devised by E. S. Spooner, the NSW Minister for Works. Residents complained that the recently repaired Oak Park pool was leaking so badly that it was impossible to swim at low tide because the pool only held about two feet of water. There were also complaints about dogs in the pool and about men who rolled their swimming costumes down to their waists, or even worse, wore only shorts. Installing an inspector at the pool was suggested as the best way to overcome these problems.
1939 W.F. Foster and company built the Oak Park pavilion at a cost of 2,000 pounds to replace the earlier timber dressing-sheds.
1942 The Australian Army erected an observation tower mounted on the Oak Park pavilion and established a gun-post at Oak Park. The gun emplacements were camouflaged as a kiosk with bright candy stripes. The Army banned residents from bathing in Oak Park pool when the swimming season began in October. To mollify aggrieved residents, a conference was arranged with one of the Army men responsible, Colonel Hurst, and the matter was taken up with the Federal Member for the district, Mr H. B. Lazzarini, MHR. Residents were told 'this action was taken in the interests of Australia as the end of the war was not in sight'.
1980s Rising public liability costs threatened the survival of all Cronulla's tidal pools.Complaints about dogs swimming in the Oak Park pool.
1993 Questions were asked in the NSW parliament about the inordinate time Sutherland Shire seemed to take to repair leaks in the Oak Park pool. The ocean pool was seen as supporting the electric BBQ facilities and other attractions of Oak Park used by local residents before and after work and by day-trippers especially on the weekends. Leaks meant people either did not get their swim or had to travel further to use a safe pool when they visited the Park or picnicked in south Cronulla. Pool leaks also increased the risk of injury to pool users. Cost of repairs was estimated at 700,000 or approximately the cost of 30 average backyard inground pools at about $25,000 each.
1994 A blue-ringed octopus was found in the Oak Park pool.The pool had problems with pollution and leaks.The pool's leaks were investigated and the pool was closed, so the leaks could be repaired.
1995 The pool had to be drained to remove rotting seaweed.
1999 Oak Park Beach had pollution problems.
2002 Oak Park was one of the cleanest NSW beaches, according to the EPA.

Shelly Beach, Cronulla

A beautiful summer's day, 28 Jan 2008. Australia Day weekend, and a visit to two southern beach pools, Shelly Park and Oak Park at Cronulla. I acknowledge the traditional owners past and present, at this the land of the Dharawal people.

Below: Looking north towards Cronulla:

Panorama of Shelly Park and Pool:
The pool and pavilion:
Shelter for a picnic:
Looking south:
Looking north:

The pool :

Historical notes, from website NSW Ocean Baths

Early 1900s This area of Cronulla was 'notorious for mixed bathing'. Shelly Beach was acknowledged for its natural beauty and considered a suitable site for a 'splendid swimming basin on similar lines to that on the north side of Coogee'. Residents constructed the initial pool that Council upgraded. The pool appeared on postcards. (Note: I'd love to get hold of one of those postcards!)
Late 1930s The formalised baths at Shelly Park were the results of E. S. Spooner's (NSW Minister for Works) unemployment scheme.
1938 About 30 local residents voluntarily began removing stones from the swimming pool in readiness for the coming season. Council acquired a special lease for the pool from the Lands Board office for construction of rock baths in the beach reserve. Construction of the pool cost 1,300 pounds.
1939 W. F. Foster successfully tendered for construction of the dressing-pavilion and conveniences, at a cost of 1,800 pounds.
1981In 'The Year of the Disabled', a ramp was added to provide wheelchair access to the pool, but sand build-up made this ineffective. Sutherland Shire considered extending the ramp, which would restrict access for most bathers or spending $6,000 to shift the ramp to the north side of the pool.
Late 1980s Rising public liability costs threatened the survival of all Cronulla's tidal pools.
1991 The South Cronulla rock pool's need for repairs some five years after experiencing storm damage meant large crowds vied for swimming space at the Shelly Beach pool.
2006 This pool attracts year-round swimmers.

Monday, 21 January 2008

My new cossie

Here's a close-up of my new swimming cossie. It would be too yuck to show the rest of me in it. I like Speedo brand, but recently all the ones in shops here have been BORING. I've bought a couple on the Internet from a UK supplier. One of the reasons I like Speedo is because of their fabric called Endurance. It doesn't perish like older style nylon or lycra did, and is great if you swim most days.
Sounds like a free plug, huh? Well, no, I have no connection with the brand - just a satisfied customer.
OK, normal swimming pool transmission will resume now....

Homebush Aquatic Centre

Above: The leisure pools
Above: Outside
Above: The leisure pools
Above: Competition diving and water polo pool
Above: Competition pool (I did my laps here)
Above: The competition pools - diving/water polo and main pool
Above: The competition pool, with inflatable because it's school holidays

Above: leisure pools and th second lap pool (warm down pool during competitions)
Above: Cafe on second level
Above: Ben (on right) and his friends
Above: leisure pool and river run

Visited here today for Ben's birthday. A terrific facility thanks to the Olympics. Two 50m pool, one 8 lane, one 10 lane, diving pool, and freeform play pools with rapid ruver run, water slide etc.

The facility also has gym and fitness centre, sauna, steam room, spa pools. There's swimming classes, training squads, all day lap swimming, cafes. You can book childminding, hosted kids' birthday parties, massage and a triathlon club.

I don't think many people from outside Australia realise how deeply public swimming facilities penetrate the Australian psyche. To use this facility it cost us $28.80 for 3 adults and 4 kids for all day. I've paid more than that for a single session at a European pool. We get a bit purse-lipped if pool entry gets anything beyond about $5-$6 in an indoor heated centre, $3-4 outdoors. Generally swimming pools are one of the community facilities, along with libraries, parks etc which local government maintains (they are NOT however responsible for education - that's a state government level responsibility).