I’ve been quiet on Swimming Pool Stories lately because I have been busy writing a book called The Memory Pool: Australian stories of summer, sun and swimming published by NewSouth Publishing. It will be in the book stores from 1 November but you can pre-order now at Booktopia, Dymocks, Angus & Robertson, Better Read Than[…]Read More
We were on Cleveland Street near the Lebanese restaurants – The Prophet and Fatima’s – where I used to dine at in my uni days, when we got the call. “You came third in your age group,” my niece Rosie relayed from her friends, the Moylans. “Really?” I said. “Yes, really,” her young friends yelled[…]Read More
Last weekend when I visited the State Library of NSW’s Paintings from the Collection exhibition, I was taken with a painting called The Swimming Enclosure by artist Herbert Badham. It’s thought to be a depiction of the netted swimming area at Parsley Bay in Vaucluse near where the artist and his wife Enid lived, and in the[…]Read More
Pink-orange Angophora trees twisting and turning like ballet dancers above a river of blue-green, pathways of sandstone, the sweet smell of the Sydney bush, the camaraderie of the Oatley Amateur Swimming Club, bodies diving off the concrete blocks, retro change rooms, sausages and tomato sauce, a salty taste on my tongue, sand and mud between my toes, the swish of the water, the flow of the tide and the heat of the summer sun.
The Pool, Australia’s exhibition at last year’s Venice Architecture Biennale, has had a second life and last Friday night was officially opened at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in Melbourne. The exhibition celebrates the pool in Australian architecture, culture and life and there was plenty of enthusiasm for its reincarnation at the opening, including[…]Read More
Dawn Fraser Baths became an outdoor gallery this weekend showing paintings by Ian Chapman, the pool’s artist in residence last winter. Mr Chapman’s paintings captured the colours, characters, architecture and mood of the historic baths that first opened back in the early 1880s. The exhibition was part of Leichhardt Council’s annual LOST (Leichhardt Open Studio Trail) which this year featured nearly 60 galleries, studios and events across Balmain, Rozelle, Lilyfield and Camperdown.
The first time I went to Greenwich Baths I wasn’t very impressed. I was only about 6 or 7 and they seemed makeshift compared to the solid structures at my local tidal pool, Northbridge Baths. The low tide also coloured my view as its never the best time to swim at a harbour pool. When we[…]Read More
With the tide almost reaching the two metre mark, yesterday Bruce and I and my sister and her kids went for a swim at Woolwich Baths. The simple baths on the Lane Cove River used to be known as ‘Mooney’s mud hole’ after the chap who lived behind the ticket booth and shop (no longer there) in a large canvas tent with wooden floor.
In the 1950s and 60s Mr Mooney looked after the pool and taught some of the locals to swim among the jelly blubbers and occasional blue swimmer crabs. For my sister and I, products of Northbridge Baths, another Sydney harbour pool, swimming in the high tide, salt water was bliss, and Bruce, Will, Rosie and Mary thought it was pretty good too!
There’s no swimmers around when I arrive at Parsley Bay, just trim women jogging with their mobiles and doing boxing in the park. But when I walk around the path that leads to the deep end of the bay, I spot a man in blue trunks, or rather he spots me. “If you want a[…]Read More
When I want to remember Northbridge Baths, the pool in Middle Harbour where I spent all my summers as a child, I think of the deep green water connecting to the trees like relatives.Read More