Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Prince Alfred Park, Surry Hills

The swimming pool in Prince Alfred Park, Surry Hills, Sydney is being re-developed. It was supposed to open for the summer season this year, which is now. I pass this site nearly every day and have been wondering when it will re-open (It is close enough to use for a lunchtime swim, and will be open year-round).

According to the Sydney City Council website  there have been delays caused by contaminated soil having to be removed from the site, underground services had to be completely replaced, and unprecedented rain last year caused delays. 
It's looking really good...the roof has been planted to create a meadow-effect. Here's a previous blog on this pool.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Fantasy pool, Sunshine Coast, Qld

The ultimate fantasy pool, I think. By Aquatonic Pty Ltd, a Brisbane company. I don't usually show commercial firms etc on this blog but I am blown away by how beautiful this pool and its setting is.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Bexley: It's a resort! But what about the future?

I took a friend from England to Bexley pool in January 2011. She said it was "like a resort", and she's not wrong! Where else can you spend all day in beautiful park-like surroundings, have a picnic, play, sunbake and exercise for $5 an adult!

The future of the pool has been under a cloud for some time.

Why wouldn't developers not want to get their hands on this delightful site - build 100 townhouses, slap up a huge security fence, probably even provide a 25 metre lap pool for the exclusive use of those residing behind the gates and walls?

It's still precariously balanced. While Mark Hanna, who has fought tirelessly for the pool over many years, co-ordinating the campaign which saw Rockdale Council agree to proceed through various stages of the proposal, and with not a few hiccups along the way, including a rescission motion, has been elected to Rockdale Council at the recent elections....the numbers are still delicately poised.

Previous blogs providing the 'back story':

15 December 2011: Bexley pool update

2 December 2011: Bexley pool proposal for re-development

10 December 2010: Bexley pool battle (article from The Leader)

Meanwhile, as the spring / summer season gets underway, here's some of my underwater shots from Bexley taken over the past couple of years...enjoy! Taken with my Canon D10 camera.

Paris: Piscine Deligny and Piscine Joséphine-Baker

Swimming in Paris: a long-held ambition, and in July 2011 I decided to take some time out from the sales and gardens and take a dip. I'd previously been a bit daunted by the apparent rules and regulations at French swimming pools, but having put my metaphorical toe in the water in Monaco a few years earlier, I figured I was up to the challenge! With my best terrible French practiced in the metro on the way, I felt ready to venture forth.

I was on a bit of a "women in Paris" bent at the time, and was delighted to discover that the Piscine Josephine Baker is on the left bank of the Seine - actually floating in the Seine - near one end of the Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir in the 13th arrondissement

The Seine used to accommodate many floating swimming pools, the last of which , the Deligny sank in a storm in July 1993.

The Deligny was first built in 1801, and the last version in the early 20th Century.

Josephine Baker was an American born actress, civil rights activist, French Resistance heroine, and first American born woman to receive France's highest military honour, the Croix de Guerre.

In 2006, this pool opened. It floats on a barge off the Quai François Mauriac at Port de la Gare. It was built in Rouen and floated up the river.

Photography is banned in the pool....a mother was even prevented from taking some photos of her own children while I was there, so I snuck ONE photo with my iPhone, which I had hidden under my towel.

I got a few shots of the exterior, including from the Passerelle Simon de Beauvoir.

The water is drawn from the Seine, treated, then retreated before being recycled back into the river.

I was quite pleasantly surprised at the generaous opening hours and entry price : approx 5 Euros for 2 hours, and 2.60 Euros per hour thereafter.
French swimming pool etiquette was a bit daunting at first, but there was an English speaking person at the entrance who demystified MOST of it for me - compulsory shower before entering, compulsory swimming cap (fortunately I had brought one from home, having read this to be the case). You get a locker key, and are not allowed to take extraneous bits and pieces onto the pool deck - it's all rather "serieux", even for a pool too small to really do much serieux swimming!

I did manage to transgress in one important aspect - I wore a pair of thongs (flip-flops) in the changing area - and a cleaner man had to rush up to tick me off (yes, man - the changing areas are mixed, with individual changing cabins. There are some individual showers, some mixed.)

Anyway, the cleaner constantly sluiced the floors in the change area, and it appeared that my thongs could have transmitted some Parisian grime to the floor!

Being female, I wasn't caught by the "no boardshorts / Speedos only" rule. An American family with three young children was turned away on this basis!

The pic below I took from the Passerrelle Simone de Beauvoir - a sinuously curving footbridge linking the Bibliotheque Natinale (Mitterand library) and the Bercy district.

Here's  some pics I found on the web, including an artist;s impression of the retractable roof.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Pool cards : Melbourne Olympic swimming stadium

This one is cheating a bit. Not really a postcard. It's a swap card. Mum saw Dawn Fraser winning a gold medal here at the 1956 Olympics.

From Wikipedia: This pool was the first fully indoor Olympic swimming venue in an Olympic Games and is the only major stadium structure from the 1956 Olympic Games with the facade intact. It is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.

After redevelopment in the 1980s, the venue became the Melbourne Sports and Entertainment Centre and later The Glass House.

The luxury vehicle manufacturer Lexus bought the naming right to the venue in 2004; as the Lexus Centre, it no longer served as a public stadium, instead being used by the Victorian Institute of Sport and the Collingwood Football Club as a sports administration and training facility.

On 21 November 2009, Collingwood Football Club announced publicly on the official AFL website that Lexus would no longer continue to maintain the rights of naming the centre. Lexus announced in a statement that "the branding exercise had achieved its marketing objectives and was no longer a priority in its marketing strategy", hence ending a six year naming rights deal between Lexus and Collingwood.
In March, 2010, Collingwood announced that Westpac bank was the new naming rights sponsor of the centre.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Pool postcard: Moree Spa Baths

I taught in Moree in my first appointement as a young teacher (1979 -80). The pool was a focal point for the town, and because Moree has hot spa water emanating from the Great Artesian Basin, is a popular place for many European visitors who like going there, especially in winter to "take the waters".

But Moree pool has another, more emblematic place in Australian history.

In February 1965, a group of young Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal supporters, led by one of the first Aboriginal students to enrol at Sydney University, Charles Perkins, set off in a bus to tour NSW country towns, protesting about discrimination against Aborigines. They travelled 3,200 kilometres through northern NSW, inspired by the Civil Rights movement in the US and its Freedom Rides.

At the time Aborigines were banned from many clubs, pubs and other public venues, as well as attending segregated "mission schools" or subject to exclusion from public schools on flimsy pretexts.

In the town of Moree, 650 km nothwest of Sydney the Freedom Riders decided to protest against the exclusion of Aborigines from the local swimming pool. I've written a lot on my blogs about the place of swimming in Australian culture. This protest was emblematic of segregation from one aspect of Australian identity culture. After the protest in Moree, the Freedom Riders had international media coverage.

With the press coverage came pressure from both outside and within Australia for reform, culminating in the 1967 referendum which granted the Commonwealth government the power to make laws for Aborigines, effectively granting Australia's Indigenous people citizenship for the first time.

The bus left from the University of Sydney on Saturday 12th February then travelled through Lithgow, Wellington, Dubbo (12th-13th), Gulargambone (14th), Walgett (14th-16th), Moree (16th-18th), Boggabilla, Toomelah and Goondawindi (18th), Inverell, Tingha and the Myall Creek Memorial (18th-20th), Lismore (20th-22nd), Yamba, Grafton, Bowraville (22nd), Kempsey (22nd-24th), Taree and Purfleet (24th-25th) and Newcastle (25th). The bus returned to Redfern on Saturday 26th February.

When I taught in Moree, the baths looked like this

They were subsequently upgraded
There's  ahistory of the baths at this site. It includes some vintage photos. The 50 m 6 lane pool is also fed from the fresh spring water and is a constant year-round 25.5 degrees.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Pool postcard: Merriwa NSW

Merriwa is a town of about 1000 people in the Upper Hunter Valley of NSW. It has a Central School and I reckon the photo for this card was taken during a school  swimming carnival. This looks like a House Relay event.

Judging by the long socks and shorts and hairdo's of the men, it was taken sometime in the 1970s! I "taught" with those blokes - gulp, I even married one of them! Not literally....

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Pool postcards: Blackheath, NSW

Postcard date unknown - but I am guessing 1950s/60s?
 Below: photos of Blackheath pool from October 2006. Blackheath is in the Upper Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. It has cold winters. This pool is seasonal. opening between late Novemeber and the end of March.

Here's a Blog from the group Friends of Blackheath Pool and their Facebook page

Monday, 20 February 2012

Pool postcard: Manly, NSW

Let's change continents for a while and have a look at some Australian pools. My collection of vintage Australian postcards is not as large, and I'd love more!

This harbourside pool was built in 1931 by the Port Jackson Steamship Company. It opened in December that year and was described as "the finest swimming pool in Australia." It was the largest.

I swam here once, in January 1967. The boardwalks still existed, but I think the diving boards and waterwheels had disappeared by then. Does anyone else have any memories of swimming here?

It was destroyed in a huge storm in 1974. Cost defeated a 1984 proposal to rebuild the boardwalks.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Pool postcard: Call of the Canyon Resort, Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona

Another postcard from a gorgeous setting.

Oak Creek Canyon is a popular tourist destination in Arizona, not far from the Grand Canyon, at Sedona. Portions are federal wilderness areas.

I suspect the resort no longer exists.

I found a video on You Tube in which a group of young people explore the Call Of The Canyon area on a camping trip - it appears there are remains of what look like ruined buildings, perhaps from this resort (first part of video)

And here's some absolutely gorgeous photos of the canyon in various seasons.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Pool postcard: Fort McClellan, Anniston, Alabama

Fort McClellan, 2.5 miles northeast of Anniston, Alabama, is one of the largest training areas in USA. Posted 1944
At the time this postcard was written, Fort McClellan was the headquarters for the 92nd Division, the Army's second African-American division, activated on October, 1942. At least 6,500 men from the 92nd were trained at Fort McClellan. The 92nd was deactivated in 1945.

In 1943 it had become the base for the Infantry Replacement Training Center (IRTC). Basic training  included situations corresponding to combat in European areas such as training within simulated urban areas, actions under live artillery fire, and crouching in foxholes with tanks moving overhead.

It was also a POW camp.

It closed in 1999.

The postcard was addressed to Mr Ralph Shastany of St Johnsburg Virginia, from 31467145 Pvt Romeo ?? and reads:

 "Hello Shay

How are you. I'm find an now I'm in my new camp an I like it. well Shay I won't be able to see you before 17 weeks from now an then I'll have 10 day to go home I hope. done work to hard. write to me. From Romeo.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Pool postcard: The Plunge, Bella Vista, Arkansas

From the Old State House Museum Arkansas News Archive website about the opening in summer 1931:

"Bella Vista's Plunge Pool Heads List of Resort Outdoor Activities

BELLA VISTA - Swimming, diving, water polo, and hours of thrills on the exciting water await visitors young and old this summer of 1931 at Bella Vista's Plunge, the largest open-air swimming pool in Arkansas.

Constructed at a cost of $20,000, the pool is 54 feet wide and 200 feet long. It ranges in depth from wading for babies to a safe diving depth for older children. Floating barrels and water slides are also available.

Electric floodlights make night bathing delightful in the pure spring water. Supplied from the resort's Big Spring, water is first piped to a warming reservoir and held all day. Every night, after bathers have retired to their cabins, the huge pool is drained and its concrete sides and bottom are cleaned: Then the warm water is released to refill the pool and make ready for another day of water recreation."

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Pool postcard: University of California, Berkeley

Strawberry Canyon Pool

I just love this card: the setting and rustic charm is gorgeous! This is the Strawberry Canyon pool was a men's only facility from when it was opened in 1911, to 1943 when it was opened to women. There is still a pool complex there, which replaced the original in 1959.

This site, Gay Bears : the hidden history of the Berkeley Campus has an excerpt from a novel set in 1919, and a poem from 1930 set at the pool.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Pool postcard: Fleischhacker Swimming Pool, San Francisco

"World's largest out-door tank. It holds 6 million gallons of warmed (and filtered) sea water, is ove a thousand feet in length. It is located close to the Pacific."
Here's a link to information on this pool on Wikipedia. It opened in 1925. "After years of underfunding and poor maintenance, the pool was showing some deterioration when a storm in January 1971 damaged its drainage pipe. Because the repair costs exceeded the City's budget, the pool was converted to a fresh water pool which resulted in poor water quality. As a result of the poor attempt at conversion and resulting water quality, the pool was closed by the end of 1971.

Detail of original bath house
In 1999, the San Francisco Zoological Society was granted ownership of the pool house, and it is not known what might become of it. The swimming pool itself was filled with rocks and gravel, with the space now serving as a parking lot for the zoo. The poolhouse is currently derelict and occupied by the homeless."

Here's two of the LC photos:

Original diving tower

Here is a fascinating site about the current state of the pool. There are some great memories of the pool in the Comments section on this blog. Two photographers, including the blog author, Jonathan Haeber, visited the site of the pool in 2008.

Photo by Joanathan Haeber :