Harbour

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Walking and swimming at Oatley Park and Baths
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Wading into The Pool exhibition in Melbourne
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‘LOST’ art at Balmain’s Dawn Fraser Baths
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Valentine’s Day dip at gorgeous Greenwich Baths
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Boxing Day dip in the briney at the Woolwich tidal baths
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A pair of Williams, a man called Max and Parsley the hermit down Vaucluse way
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Magic memories of Northbridge Baths
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A new perspective on the Dawny Swim
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A night of spinning swimming yarns
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Meditating on lines and stripes at the pool

Walking and swimming at Oatley Park and Baths

  • Angophoras at Oatley Park Sydney, photo Therese Spruhan, 18 February 2018
  • Oatley Park and Baths, Sydney, photo Therese Spruhan, 18 Feb 2018
  • Oatley Park, Sydney, photo Therese Spruhan, 18 Feb 2018
  • Races at the Oatley Amateur Swimming Club, Oatley Baths, photo Therese Spruhan, 18 Feb 2018
  • Oatley Amateur Swimming Club races, Oatley Baths, 18 Feb 2018 photo Therese Spruhan
  • Blocks at Oatley Baths, Sydney, photo Therese Spruhan, 18 Feb 2018
  • Dressing sheds, Oatley Baths, Sydney, photo Therese Spruhan, 18 Feb 2018
  • Oatley Baths, Sydney, photo Therese Spruhan, 18 Feb 2018
  • Oatley Baths, Sydney, photo Therese Spruhan, 18 Feb 2018
  • Concrete blocks at Oatley Baths, Sydney, photo Therese Spruhan, 18 February 2018
  • Pontoon at Oatley Baths, photo Therese Spruhan, 18 Feb 2018

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.

Wading into The Pool exhibition in Melbourne

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[…]

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‘LOST’ art at Balmain’s Dawn Fraser Baths

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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.

Valentine’s Day dip at gorgeous Greenwich Baths

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[…]

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Boxing Day dip in the briney at the Woolwich tidal baths

Woolwich Baths 7

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!

  • Woolwich Baths 7

A pair of Williams, a man called Max and Parsley the hermit down Vaucluse way

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[…]

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Magic memories of Northbridge Baths

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.

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A new perspective on the Dawny Swim

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[…]

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A night of spinning swimming yarns

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[…]

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Meditating on lines and stripes at the pool

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[…]

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