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
Last Sunday I got a different perspective on the Dawny Swim watching it from Cockatoo Island. In 2011 and 2012 I took part in the 2.4 km swim from Balmain’s Dawn Fraser Baths and around Cockatoo, and I was going to enter again this year. But when I was deliberating about whether my head was in the[…]Read More
Last night I was part of an evening of ocean swimming yarns held at the Woolloomooloo Bay Hotel. It was a great night of story-telling loosely based around the theme of ‘my first time’ with no two stories the same. We heard about facing fears and making it out past the waves at Bondi, the art[…]Read More
Looking at an exhibition of contemporary textiles at the Sturt Gallery in Mittagong recently made me think of lines and stripes at pools. Called Parallels, artist Barbara Rogers explored the “diversity and language of the stripe; the simplest of all patterns…” Some of her silk textiles reminded me of particular pools especially ones she created in shades of green and blue. When[…]Read More
When I was swimming around Cockatoo Island on Sunday morning, the bushranger Captain Thunderbolt was on my mind. Captain Thunderbolt aka Fred Ward was imprisoned on the island for stealing horses. In 1863 he escaped by swimming the 600 metres or so to shore. He emerged from the water at a place in Balmain that became[…]Read More
A favourite game among my friends back in the 1970s at Northbridge Baths was to dare each other to dive under the suspended starting blocks and come up the other side. The bottom of the blocks was often covered in moss, so it was bit like venturing into a dark, slightly disorientating world. I was always[…]Read More