June 2008 Newsletter - Anne Anderson (Alford) YHS 1952

Anne Anderson (Alford) YHS 1952

(Photo attached)

Do you remember the old swimming hole we had before the new Olympic Pool came into being? It was a large ”lake” with reeds along one side, small kids area in the front partitioned off from the main swimming area with a wooden paling fence. The fence had palings missing and it was great fun to play hidey getting through from side to side into the big pool. The other side was a large swimming area with two jetties 50ft apart. The High School swimming sports were held there as well as the life saving activates held there by the Life Saving Club. Right down the other end I remember any circus coming to town took their elephants there for a swim.!! Life saving was a big part of the Yallourn Swimming & Life Saving Club. Hugh Graham and Arthur Brogan were the instructors and classes in life saving were held in the clubroom. Boys and girls dressing sheds were on either side. If you dropped any money on the floor it was gone as the floor was made of wooden slats. Breezes would blow through the chicken wire, which went around the eaves. To get your first swimming certificate you had to swim 25yds, which was marked out, on the fence in the kids pool. The life saving side of it was Bronze Medallion, Bronze Cross, and Award of Merit. A diving tower in the middle of the large area was very popular to jump off and do “bombs”. The Club took bus trips now and again and I can remember one was to Mt Baw Baw and another to Cape Patterson, Mr & Mrs Melbourne ran the small kiosk at the pool and my favourite was a passiona spider drink. Swimming carnivals were held but there were few other pools around then – Sale had one and there was one at Bairnsdale where they swam in the Mitchell River. As kids, my brother and I spent most of our time at the pool, especially summer school holidays. The old pool was closed down in 1957 or 58. The new Olympic Pool was opened in 1960 by Lois Gust who was Miss Yallourn at the time. Some of the names of members that come to mind were, of course, Hugh Graham, Arthur Brogan, the Bottens, Grahams, Gusts, Burkes, Andersons, Daveys, Hutchinsons and I’m sure you will remember others. We all spent many happy hours in the swimming “hole”.