Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Arise, Rockdale Aquatic Centre!

After seven years of community campaigning, blocking by certain elements on Rockdale Council, innumerable meetings, a protest rally, speeches, petition.....and a facebook page....

.... on Saturday 25 July 2015, the first sod was turned on the construction of the new Rockdale Aquatic Centre (I'm sure we'll still call it Bexley Pool)

Rockdale mayor Shane O'Brien "sort of" turning the first sod (it wasn't turned on as he doesn't have a licence!) 

Can hardly wait til the summer of 2016-2017 to get back into this pool. 

I do hope the Cape Chestnut trees make the transition...they flower in September / October.

What community event would be complete without a sausage sizzle???

Deputy Mayor, Liz Barlow, and Cr Mark Hanna, both avid pool supporters. Mark was integral to the campaign for the pool, and  then got elected to Council. 

Friday, 18 July 2014

Beverley Whitfield Pool, Shellharbour

Copyright Peter de Graaff 6 July 2014

copyright Peter de Graaff 6 July 2014

Recently my friend, Peter de Graaff, who is a very talented photographer, posted these pictures on his Facebook page and his blog.

With Peter's permission I post them here.

Peter says:

"The photos were taken at the Beverley Whitfield pool in Shellharbour (near Wollongong). It is the ocean pool in the village. The photos were taken on the morning of Sunday 6 July, just after sunrise. There had been a cold snap, so it was quite chilly and only the hardy were in the pool.

The camera used was a Holga-120WPC - this is a pinhole or lensless camera, that uses 120 size film and can produce either 6 x 9 cm 0r 6 x 12 cm negatives. The film I used was FujichromeVelvia 50. This is a highly colour saturated, high contrast, fine grained, slide/transparency film that is usually developed in a 3 bath process with E6 chemistry. I instead cross processed the film using C41 chemicals, in a two bath process, that resulted in the production of colour negative film, instead of slides. Cross processing, or xpro, occurs when colour film is developed in alternative chemistry to that which has been intened by the manufacturer. The result of cross processing can be unusual tones and colours."

See more of Peter's work here  and here

copyright Peter de Graaff 6 July 2014
Information about the pool from the Shellharbour Heritage Inventory

"The Beverley Whitfield Pool is the only extant example of a 19th century ocean baths in the Shellharbour area and the only NSW ocean baths named in honour of an Olympic and Commonwealth swimmer,
Beverley Whitfileld."

[Dawn Fraser pool is a harbour pool; Ian Thorpe and Michael Wenden pools, and possibly others, are stillwater pools]

The pool dates from 1894. It was upgraded in 1994 and named to honour local Shelharbour woman, Beverley Whitfield ( 1954 - 1996). Bev, a breaststroke champion, won gold and bronze medals in the 1972 Munich Olympics, 3 gold medals in the 1970 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games and 2 silver medals at the 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games.

Sadly, she died in 1996 at the age of 42.

Friday, 11 July 2014


It's winter in Sydney - sunny days with maximum temperatures about 18-20 this past week. And yesterday, very windy. So I had an indoor swim at Sans Souci, and for most of the time had the pool to myself. Possibly a little too warm at 31 degrees, and the outside pool quite swimable at 23.5, but the wind-chill factor meant discomfort, and I'm not that much into discomfort!

Friday, 9 May 2014

A new spiritual home - Sans Souci pool

...until the new Bexley pool arrives...

A nicely heated outdoor 50m pool, an indoor pool which has 3 x 25 m lanes. It is used a lot for swimming lessons. And a lovely setting in Sans Souci Park, under Captain Cook Bridge, looking over Kogarah Bay.

I used to go to Sans Souci for school swimming in the 1970s. It must be about the same age as Bexley - is lined with the same tiles.

Here's something I noticed. Australia went metric from 1970, in stages. The measurements of length are metric. It is a 50m pool, and there are tiles down the side marking 25m and 33m (and even one just saying M ! ). But the depth tiles are in imperial measurements. 3ft 6ins and 5 ft being two.

A previous visit to Sans Souci is blogged here. 

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Last laps at Bexley pool

The old Bexley pool closed on 1 May, in anticipation of opening as the re-developed Rockdale Aquatic Centre in July 2016.

Here's an article from the St George and Sutherland Shire Leader

John Heuschkel (left) and Graham Mayhew (right) have been swimming since the pool opened in 1976. Picture: Stephen Le Bas
John and Graham. Photo: Stephen Le Bas

Supporters gather to say farewell. Photo: Stephen Le Bas

Pool redevelopment mover and shaker Mark Hanna - last laps

My favourite position! 

Will really miss the Cape Chestnut trees