Friday, 31 May 2019

It was once described as 'the finest swimming pool in Australia', superior to anything other Sydney beach resorts could offer. The Manly Harbour Pool, constructed in 1931, gained incredible amounts of attention with its pontoons, double slippery dips, water wheels, rolling logs, spinning float and a magnificent high diving tower. At its peak, over 250,000 visitors came to the pool every year. Why wouldn't you? It was fun and admission was free!

Here are a few facts about the Manly Harbour Pool you may not have known:

  • Night-time lighting of the pool was undertaken in 1932 by Manly Council with the installation of 3 million candlepower lamps;
  • The pool enclosed 13 acres of water and provided a 400 yard swimming course;
  • The boardwalk was 1,100 feet long by 11 feet wide;
  • In 1933, a dressing pavilion and refreshment room were built and cost 35,000 pounds;
  • Specially designed giant rubber beach balls were acquired from Dunlop-Perdriau for use in the pool;
  • The slippery-dip was the highest in Australia and the diving tower was Olympic standard; 
  • The Port Jackson Steamship Company's slogan was 'Keep Cool in Manly's Pool'; and 
  • On 30 May 1939, approval was granted for the addition of hot salt water baths to the West Esplanade Dressing Pavilion.

Unfortunately a severe storm in 1974 destroyed the boardwalk and consequently, the pool was closed. 

See more images of Manly's past by heading over to our Local History image collections