Pool People

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Celebrating the rich aquatic life of author Oliver Sacks
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Giving thanks for the gift of swimming
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A pair of Williams, a man called Max and Parsley the hermit down Vaucluse way
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Swimming with Peter, the porpoise of Petersham Pool
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Making a splash: Australians share their swimming stories
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The gentlemen of Sydney’s eastern ocean pools
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A multicultural morning at the Granville Pool
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Locals party at opening of new Petersham Pool
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The Moody family is a pool family now!
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Another day in paradise at Balmain’s Dawn Fraser Baths

Celebrating the rich aquatic life of author Oliver Sacks

When I heard on Sunday that author and neurologist Oliver Sacks had died, I rummaged through my files for a letter I’d received from him more than 15 years ago. At the time I was writing a story about my love of swimming and had contacted him via his publisher when I discovered he had a[…]

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Giving thanks for the gift of swimming

On the 23rd anniversary of my mother’s death I’d like to pay tribute to her for passing on the swimming gene to my sister and brother and me. Mum’s love of water started on Maroubra Beach where her father Austin swam every morning before work and where he taught her to body surf. When the seas[…]

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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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Swimming with Peter, the porpoise of Petersham Pool

“Last day,” says Peter when I join him in the water at the Fanny Durack Aquatic Centre, aka Petersham Pool. “Are you going to miss it?” “Yes,” says Peter, who swims every morning and talks to everyone who comes to the pool. “Look at it, it’s beautiful,” he says, as he pushes under the water and[…]

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Making a splash: Australians share their swimming stories

Last Friday’s talkback on ABC Radio National’s Life Matters invited listeners to call in with their memories of swimming, which was a great choice as we head into the summer holidays. The program featured former Australian Olympian Shane Gould, who as part of a Masters and now a PhD, is doing very interesting research into the[…]

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The gentlemen of Sydney’s eastern ocean pools

During August when I was writing, Into the Deep, a story for the travel section of The Weekend Australian, I spoke to a number of ‘chappies’ as my Dad would call them, who spend their days in and around Sydney’s ocean pools. At Wylie’s Baths I met 80-year-old Reg, who comes to the pool each[…]

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A multicultural morning at the Granville Pool

It was the tiles that drew me to Granville Pool; 1930s hexagonal-shaped with a border in red and chequerboard blue and white. Bruce discovered them when he swam there after work, and a few days later I was heading west along Parramatta Road to Sydney’s fourth oldest Olympic pool after Enfield, North Sydney and Bankstown (RIP). As I[…]

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Locals party at opening of new Petersham Pool

Petersham marked the re-opening of the Fanny Durack Aquatic Centre yesterday with a big pool party. The celebrations started with a traditional smoking ceremony from indigenous elder Aunty Jenny, who led a trail of kids in cossies around the centre’s new 25-metre pool, toddler’s pool and water play area. Aunty Jenny’s ‘welcome to country’ was followed[…]

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The Moody family is a pool family now!

Those were the triumphant words of Kevin, father of the Moody clan on Wednesday night’s final A Moody Christmas on ABC TV. Photo from abc.net.au The pool was a long term project of Kevin’s which he announced in the first episode of the comedy series set over six consecutive Christmas days. Photo from abc.net.au Each year when[…]

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Another day in paradise at Balmain’s Dawn Fraser Baths

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[…]

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