Reimagining Sydney Pools

Sydney’s beach and ocean pools embody the city’s moniker “Sandstone City”. The southern two-thirds of the NSW coast consists of sandy beaches, nestled between rocky headlands. These headlands are often sandstone, which offers an ideal balance between a material that can be easily excavated and one that will remain stable over human time scales, thus providing a platform for the construction of pools.

Swimming pools are a great way to spend the summer, and can provide exercise for the whole family. However, if you are considering building a pool in your backyard, be sure to consult with professionals to ensure that the design complies with local regulations. This will save you both time and money in the long run. A good custom pool builder will be able to help you create a swimming pool that suits your needs and budget, while complying with all requirements.

In recent exhibitions, images of Sydney’s ocean pools have directed attention back to the convivial but respectful relationships they forged with the sea, marine life and swimmers. These relatively wild swimming environments were characterized by encounters with bluebottles, seaweed, sea urchins and sharp rocks, as well as slippery rocks, sand and surf. Pools were a refuge from the harshness of the coastline, and provided safe recreational opportunities for people who couldn’t swim in open water.

During the 1930s, ocean pools also became memorable recreation and learn-to-swim venues for country children visiting the Stewart House Preventorium or taking part in other social tourism programs. Ocean pools forged further links with country communities when members of Bondi and Bronte Amateur Swimming Clubs spearheaded a free state-wide program to give swimming instruction in country areas.

Many of Sydney’s ocean pools are located in beautiful settings, but many are struggling with ageing infrastructure, increasing operating costs and declining patronage. The City of Sydney’s pool facilities team is working to improve the health and wellbeing of city residents by reimagining the use of their pools. The team has been consulting with the community to understand their priorities for repurposing their pool assets and to develop a long-term strategic vision for future investment in pool facilities.

Some of Sydney’s pools were built on rocky sites, and the sandstone walls have begun to crumble away. As a result, a number of the pools have been closed for safety reasons, and some have been earmarked for closure or conversion to other uses. Others are undergoing extensive refurbishment to address major safety concerns. Fortunately, there are still some excellent public pool facilities in the city. These are an excellent opportunity for residents to get a taste of the Sydney lifestyle and enjoy the outdoors. Some of these locations even have a fun theme to match the pool. These funky swimming holes include the spooky-looking Luna Park Pool, with its gigantic molded clown smile. Scores of world records have been set there since 1936, cheered on by fans in the steep concrete grandstands. The North Sydney Pool is another, with its corrugated iron and painted cream and green pavilion tucked below Balmain’s sandstone cliffs.