Leichhardt Pool’s 50th birthday

Olympic swimmer Eamon Sullivan will be making a guest appearance at the 50th birthday celebrations for Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre (LPAC) this coming Sunday, 28 November.

Festivities will start from 10am and continue until 3pm and during that time entry will be free. Activities include face painting and jumping castle, fitkids classes, adult fitness classes, morning tea, a charity barbeque, and squad and learn to swim demonstrations.

Staff from the local history section of the Leichhardt Library will also be showing images from the pool’s history including the original Leichhardt tidal baths which were located on the shores of Long Cove on the Parramatta River, almost directly below the current aquatic complex.

The Leichhardt Council Baths, as they were called, operated from 1905 to the late 1950s. While the quality of the water in the Parramatta River was probably declining by then, after the success of the Melbourne Olympic Games councils all over Australia were keen to have a modern, chlorine complex in the municipality where future Olympians could learn to swim, play and train.

As the catalogue of the 2008 Powerhouse exhibition, Modern Times states: “By the late 1950s the local pool was fast being regarded as an essential community venue for accessible and safe sport, education and leisure, and the impetus for pool construction gained pace around the nation.”  In fact, between 1945 and 1972, 32 pools opened in Sydney alone.

Leichhardt Pool was part of that wave of building, and on 10 December 1960 it was officially opened. So while it’s a few weeks early, happy 50th birthday LPAC. Have a great day on Sunday.

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