Why Sydney Pools Are So Popular

For Sydney residents, pools offer an ideal spot to relax and soak up the sun during the sweltering Australian summer. But swimming pools aren’t just a recreational space; they also have health benefits, such as improving heart health and lowering blood pressure. They can strengthen bones and muscles, and they can help people manage their weight and stress levels. Pools are a popular addition to backyards, and many homeowners choose to invest in them in order to take advantage of Australia’s beautiful climate all year round. However, owning a pool isn’t a simple decision and requires a lot of consideration. There are a number of important factors to consider, including pool safety.

Sydney pools, whether in beaches or parks, are a testament to the city’s long association with a culture of egalitarianism and mateship. In a time when political leaders are increasingly inclined to endorse gender discrimination, public pools remain one of the few places where the values of tolerance and diversity are embodied in concrete and sand.

The tidal pools that punctuate Sydney’s beachfronts are the city’s most visible reminder of the value placed on equal access to the ocean. In the 1930s, ocean pools forged strong links with country communities through social tourism programs. The Stewart House Preventorium in Sydney’s northern suburbs, for example, provided children from regional Australia with free ocean-swimming lessons at Bondi and Bronte pools. Other programs, such as the swim-to-schools campaign of the late 1930s, tapped into the appeal of the ocean pools to spread the joys of swimming to rural areas.

Despite the proliferation of surf lifesaving clubs and shark meshing on Sydney’s beaches during interwar years, the appeal of the ocean pools continued to grow. With men enlisting for war service and women excluded from surf club membership, the ocean pools offered a safe swimming alternative. The pools also functioned as beach safety measures, protecting swimmers from the deadly rips that are a common cause of rescues and coastal deaths.

Ocean pools owe their existence to a perfect balance between nature and human planning. The southern two-thirds of the NSW coast is composed of short to medium length sandy beaches nestled between rocky headlands. This geological configuration makes it relatively easy to excavat and build a pool without disturbing the natural balance of the beach or filling it with too much sand. Where the rocky headlands are sandstone, they have allowed pools to be sited on a stable foundation that will endure over long periods of time.

Despite their modest appearance, the pools are the pride of many locals. In Coogee, for example, visit Wylie’s Baths, which were built by the champion long-distance and underwater swimmer in 1907. The tidal pool offers raised decking and sweeping views across Coogee Bay to Wedding Cake Island and beyond. Also in Coogee, McIver’s Ladies Baths is the only ocean pool in Australia designed exclusively for women and their children, dating back to 1880. These venerable facilities, which are officially exempt from antidiscrimination laws, are a symbol of the city’s commitment to equality and diversity.

By Beck-Web
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