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Snapshot in Time: How the opening of a public pool in the 1960s changed Geraldton’s recreational scene

Ben MarshGeraldton Guardian
Swimming lessons at Aquarena.
Camera IconSwimming lessons at Aquarena. Credit: Geraldton Guardian, courtesy of Geraldton Regional Library

Until the Geraldton Aquatic Centre was built in 1968, the options available for Geraldton locals keen for a refreshing, recreational dip were the ocean, rivers or Ellendale Pool.

The advent of a chlorinated freshwater pool was a huge attraction for locals and tourists during Geraldton’s sweltering summers.

There were three pools in those days — the kiddies shallow pool, the juniors’ medium depth pool and the adults pool, which made school swimming carnivals, swimming training and water polo possible.

Other popular uses for the facilities included swimming lessons and aquatherapy. For a time in the 1980s there were two large tubular waterslides next to the Aquatic Centre which were immensely popular with youngsters. They would rent a mat, climb the stairs, and then descend the slides which contained flowing water, landing in the pool at the bottom.

In 1999, the centre underwent renovations and was reopened with a gala event as the Geraldton Aquarena. After serving the Geraldton community for many years, the 50m pool required some extensive repairs to make it viable for further use.

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A recent development has seen the successful completion of hydrostatic testing which has confirmed that the pool is structurally sound, and is on track to be opened this September, in time for summer.

Snapshots is an initiative of the Geraldton Regional Library. For more information, or to donate a historical photo or slide contact 9956 6659 or library@cgg.wa.gov.au

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