The Lane Cove 50m Pool is to be replaced in mid 2019. ITC thought it might be interesting to look at the history of the pool and the plans for its future.
In the 1950’s residents had requested a Lane Cove Swimming Pool for a number of years. The local primary schools argued children of all ages needed to learn to swim for safety reasons.
The Lane Cove Council was reluctant to build a pool as construction costs would be £120,000. It was also seen as a council facility that would not make a profit based on the fact that the North Sydney Pool was a loss making venture.
The Swimming Facilities Symposium was held on 5th November 1959 and the Lane Cove Council voted in favour of constructing a swimming pool. To fund the pool twenty one acres of ‘A’ class industrial land at Mars Road, Lane Cove West was sold.
Lane Cove Council engaged Kell & Rigby to build the pool as they were highly regarded and experienced in swimming pool construction (the company was founded in 1910 and went broke in 2002). The cost would be £107,888.
As soon as construction of the pool began, it was obvious that there would be cost overruns. This put the future of the pool in doubt and some councillors even raised the idea of building two smaller pools in different locations in the Lane Cove Council area. Despite the cost overruns the pool was finished in 1961.
The pool was opened on a wet and windy day on 25th November 1961 by the then Minister for Local Government the Hon. P. D Hills, M.L.A who proudly proclaimed his delight that the pool was built without a Government grant.
On opening day the pool opened its gates to the public for free. In Ryan Sparks’ History of Lane Cove 50m Swimming Pool he observed:
While the weather was dreary, the same could not be said about the pool’s water, it was explicitly clear and clean. What made the pool an absolute showcase was the pool staff clad in pristine white shorts, hats and shirts; what would soon add to this would be the well-designed lawns and gardens that would soon be completed.
The Pool hosted its first swimming carnival on 24th March 1962 with a Villa Maria Swimming Carnival. By all accounts the pool was quick as many school records were held.
The Lane Cove Amateur Swimming Club started their free learn to swim program on Sunday, 25th March 1962. The Lane Cove Swim Club still exists and is very active.
It’s interesting to noted that in 1963 it was suggested that the pool could be frozen in winter and used as an ice skating rink. Needless to say, this never happened.
In 1968 another controversy arose when the Northern Suburbs Swimming Association advised they would not hold any more carnivals at Lane Cove Olympic Pool unless the Grandstand had a roof to protect spectators and official. A roof was added to the grandstand.
In 1998 the Lane Cove Council decided to build a state of the art Aquatic Centre. The new centre has an indoor pool, children’s play pool, hydro pool, gym, creche, saunas, spas and change rooms. However, the 50m pool was not upgraded.
The Lane Cove Aquatic Centre was officially opened by Prime Minister John Howard on 22 September 2001.
In 2014 further modifications were made to the Lane Cove Aquatic Centre. In particular the entrance was modified for easier access to the centre and an outdoor deck was installed.
In 2018, Lane Cove Council identified the 50m pool and Grandstand had come to the end of their effective life. In the Lane Cove Council 2018/2019 budget papers the following statements were made:
“Funding has been provided to plan for the future replacement of the Grandstand and the Olympic Pool in 2019/20 both of which have reached the end of their effective life”. The funding for this year and next comes from capital expenditure.”
As preliminary planning work started or the new pool and grandstand, engineers recommended that the Lane Cove Council bring forward their plans to replace the pool and grandstand. In November 2018 the Lane Cove Council announced that the pool would be replaced in Mid 2019.
Lane Cove Council advised ITC:
The Olympic Pool was built in 1961 and has lasted a lot longer than most public pools of that nature would last. In undertaking more, intensive investigation as part of the planning process it has become apparent that the works may commence closer to mid 2019 – we’d love to be able to release a more specific date, but we are still receiving advice from the consultants as to the priority areas and associated timings hence no exact date or schedule is currently available. We appreciate that the community will want to be kept informed of the dates of this important project which is why we have released the information that we currently have available even though it doesn’t have all the specifics just yet.
In December 2018 the Pool was deemed unsafe and it was closed. Read more here.
Have Your Say
Lane Cove Council has commenced a process for the public to provide input into what they would like to see with a new pool and/or grandstand.
Feedback could be in relation to operational improvements, new features or other related topics.
If you would like to provide your feedback, please complete the online survey.
Seeking memories of Lane Cove Pool
Do you have a photograph or special memory of life at the 50m outdoor pool at the Lane Cove Aquatic Centre? With over 60 years of service to the Lane Cove community the pool has been a big part of the local area for generations.
If you have a photograph, anecdote or special memory you would like to share with Council please email [email protected] with Pool Memories in the header. This information will help form part of a future celebration piece to mark the end of an era for the current 50m outdoor pool.
Thank you to the Local Studies section of the Lane Cove Library for providing historical articles and photos for the research for this article.
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