Dipping into history of the Wodonga pool

A minute book in our archives shows that in May 1954 a public meeting was held in the Wodonga Shire Hall supper room to discuss having a swimming pool in Wodonga.

A committee of six was elected, to be known as an Investigation Committee, J. Hore, R. Beardmore, Nicholls, B. Reuss, J. Herlihy, D. McEachern.

Mr. J. Hamilton-Smith presented a cheque from the Sporting Club which opened a banking account in the name of Wodonga Swimming Pool Construction Committee.

On 22nd February 1955 Shire Engineer G. D. W. Pain presented to a second public meeting five propositions on costs relative to swimming pools to Public Works Department specifications, and a Committee of 15 was appointed to carry on with the project.

From the proposals presented by Des Pain it was estimated the pool would cost almost 36,000 Pounds.

An announcement was made in January 1956 that a site in Stanley Street had been approved by the Victorian Public Works Department for Wodonga’s proposed Olympic swimming pool.

The site adjoined the Stanley Street children’s playground and was owned by the Wodonga Shire Council.

Grace Emery remembers making, along with other parents, 46,000 bricks for the Wodonga Swimming Pool. She said it was the people of Wodonga who built the pool in Stanley Street because of the fear of their children drowning in the swimming hole on the Wodonga Creek. The parents dug the hole, borrowed machinery, attended endless working bees, labored and fund raised. The pool was opened officially on 12th December 1959. The pool measured 165 feet x 60 feet had 8 racing lanes and the depth of water varied from ten feet to three feet. The 1, 2 and 3 metre diving boards were provided from towers designed, constructed and donated by Mr Milos Vukasinovic. A large toddlers’ wading pool was also constructed.

Four years’ hard work by a small band of volunteers, generous donations in cash and kind from the public, and adequate response to all working bees were the reasons why the total cost of the pool was only 37,000 Pounds, a comparatively low cost for full-sized Olympic Pools in those days.

By March 1960 Wodonga traders were reporting higher trading figures attributed to attendance at the pool with parents leaving their children at the pool whilst shopping locally instead of travelling to Albury.