SANDGATE MUNICIPAL BATHS
The tidal swimming baths at Sandgate that were situated near the kiosk between 4th and 5th Avenues was officially opened on December 17th 1927.
The opening ceremony, organised by the Sandgate Amatuer Swimming Club, was performed by the mayor of Brisbane William Jolly.
The baths were designed by the City Architect Mr A A Foster and built by M R Hornibrook.
On 19th December 1927 the Courier Mail reports “The salt water baths, cost £7,500 ($15,000), are 100 feet in length and 54 feet wide with a depth of 8 feet 6 inches at the deep end and the shallow a depth of 3 feet. The bottom is 9 inches of reinforced concrete and the walls 2 feet thick. The pool has a capacity to hold 405,590 gallons of water. There are 8 showers; 20 family or double dressing boxes and 32 single boxes. A red tile roof covers the boxes. The handsome frontage is brick with ornamental plastering and the whole is well illuminated and three lamps with high power give light to the pool. To three fourths of its capacity the pool is filled by the tide and the remainder is pumped.”
Prior to the opening of the baths the public, including the Sandgate Amateur Swimming Club, swam in the tidal swimming baths attached to the Sandgate Pier. The new enclosed municipal baths allowed for a more flexible timetable.
Many local school children learned to swim in this pool. Each year local schools held their annual swimming championships at this pool. The balcony above the old dressing rooms (built in the 1950’s) held hundreds of children barracking for their teammates. Training for the bronze life-saving medal was encouraged. In the 1940’s the entry fee for a child was one penny (1 cent).
This pool was a social hub – especially for the young in the district. During the hot weather on weekends, and after school the pool would be “full” of noisy children. Early morning was training time when one would be there by 6am for a session before school. At night the swimming club members would train or hold their weekly events. The kiosk selling refreshments and the summer shelter beside the pool provided for family picnics at the beach.
During the 1920-1930’s amateur champions trained and competed in this pool. Many swimming records were broken. Dorothy Withers, Rita Smith, Doris Story, Frances Hinton and Noreen Quirk who held the State Junior Girls Title, took part in many of the Sandgate Ladies Swimming Championships. Champions Bob Boyes and Bill Fleming broke records in 1930’s and in 1939 long distance champion swimmer local Peter McMillan, who trained in the Sandgate Pool, was the first person to made the Bramble Bay Swim from Woody Point to the Sandgate Pier.
In 1963 the Sandgate and District Olympic Swimming Pool Fund was formed to raise sufficient funds to approach the Brisbane City Council to build an Olympic standard fresh water pool in the Sandgate area. Several areas were suggested and eventually the current position was chosen but it was many years before the Sandgate Olympic Pool was constructed on the site of the wading pool on the beach front between 8th and 9th Avenues.
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