An end of season ode to Petersham Pool

Petersham Pool, 2018, photo Therese Spruhan

Since you closed yesterday for the winter months, I have been thinking about the things I will miss like walking towards you through Petersham Park, past the camphor laurels where the butcher birds sing. 

Fanny Durak Aquatic Centre, photo Therese Spruhan, 2018

The ‘good mornings’ from fellow regulars, Peter, Gerard, Roger, Nick, Hugh and Michelle, and random chats at your shallow end.

Petersham Pool, March 2018, photo Therese Spruhan

Being surprised and delighted by the things I hear, like Hugh telling me we had a rosy-fingered dawn worthy of Homer’s Odysseus, or Gerard comparing my backstroke to a line in a Wordsworth sonnet, ‘still glides the stream, and shall for ever glide’.

Petersham Pool, photo Therese Spruhan, 2018

Then there’s Hugh’s morning dives.

Hugh's morning dive at Petersham pool, 2018, photo Therese Spruhan

Peter’s film reviews and desire to be a fish so he can spend all his days swimming in you.

Peter at Petersham Pool, photo Therese Spruhan, March 2018

Grant, the old-style lifeguard’s hard work to look after you.

Grant Sewell, lifeguard at Petersham Pool, photo Therese Spruhan, 2018

Almost always having my own lane and my half hour of quiet when I’m immersed in you.

Petersham Pool, photo Therese Spruhan

The soft morning light casting reflections over your blue and the vista of green surrounding you.

Petersham Pool, photo Therese Spruhan, 2018

The rosellas, magpies and kookaburras that swoop over you.

Petersham Pool, photo Therese Spruhan, 2018

And feeling euphoric after I’ve finished swimming 40 laps in you.

Petersham Pool, 2018, photo Therese Spruhan


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  • Oh what a lovely and wonderfully written article, I so want to go to Petersham Pool now too!! Our Werribee Pool is still heated but I would say it will be closed shortly too. Thanks for the blog, I love it!

    • Thank you Virginia! It’s the closest one to where I live and over the years I’ve got to know a number of regulars so it feels like home when I’m there. It’s also a very chilled place so I always feel more relaxed after my morning swims. I’m lucky I have other pools close that I can swim at over the winter months!

  • I love this post. I must visit Petersham pool one day. Beautiful writing, Therese. Sarah STVW

    • Thank you Sarah! It’s its position by Petersham Park which makes it a lovely spot, as well as the peaceful atmosphere in the early mornings and the fact that it’s more chilled than most lap pools. On the weekends it’s like a big backyard pool full of all the local kids and families.

    • That’s a good description Seana and the nature is very close to the city! Thanks for taking the time to comment. Where do you swim? All the best, Therese

  • Lovely words and images Therese. Leichhardt has good facilities and yes, there is obviously a community there as well, but the peacefulness, easy manner and surroundings make Petersham very special.

    • Thank you Roger. It was nice to see you at Leichhardt yesterday. Very well said about the two pools. Am a big fan of Leichhardt as I have swum there for more than 20 years but you can’t beat the relaxed and peaceful atmosphere at Petersham – plus all the friendly regulars. Happy swimming!

    • Not sure about this. I think it was called Petersham Pool till it became Fanny Durack Aquatic Centre to honour the Olympic swimmer who lived in Stanmore for many years. Not sure of the dates but the Inner West Libraries would know.


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