29 November, 2010
Large crowds gathered to celebrate the Pearl Beach Rock Pool
Re-opening Sunday 28 November 2010
On Sunday 28th November, from 9 am to 11 am, a community event was held to celebrate the re-opening of the Pearl Beach ocean rock pool by Gosford Mayor Laurie Maher with special guest Marie Andrews, patron of the pool fundraising project.
The pool in 1968, prior to any renovations. Photo courtesy John Sharpe, Blue Swimmers.
Swimming races supervised by members of the Umina Blue Swimmers, plus live music and a sausage sizzle added to the carnival atmosphere. The pool has been closed since August for major repairs and renovation. Pearl Beach Progress Association President, David Denton welcomed the large crowd, and recognised past President Rod Craig, and former Mayor Councillor Chris Holstein, for their support of the original concept that the community would raise $80,000 toward the costs necessary to restore and repair the pool.
Pearl Beach President David Denton with Marie Andrews and Councillor Laurie Maher poolside
David Denton then introduced current Mayor Laurie Maher who officially opened the pool and congratulated the local community for their successful fundraising endeavours, and praised them for achieving their goal. Ms Marie Andrews also congratulated the community and reflected on the spirit and ongoing unity that residents of Pearl Beach enjoy.
The rock pool dates from 1926 and formed part of the original development plan devised by Charles J. Staples for what had been known up until then as Green Point Beach. Staples renamed it Pearl Beach, drew up the street plan all named after gemstones. The pool was a significant attraction. One of many built in the early twentieth century on the harbour in Sydney, at various beachside suburbs and at popular holiday spots along the coast, rock pools were seen as a safe option for bathing. They protected swimmers from dangerous rips and shifting sands on the sea floor and also from the likelihood of shark attack.
The original pool at Pearl Beach consisted of a simple cement wall enclosing a convenient section of the sea at the southern end of the beach. It had a natural sandy floor sloping away from a rock platform with a cliff behind. Rough changing sheds were built on the rock platform. Over time sand built up in the enclosure and working bees were held to clear it out. In the 1960s a decision was taken to re-build the pool with a cement floor and walls and an outlet valve. Responsibility for the regular cleaning that was now necessary was taken over by Gosford Council. In recent years reinforcing rods in the original concrete began to rust and many cracks appeared with sections of the pool walls breaking off. It became obvious that major restoration work was necessary. During the past eighteen months the people of Pearl Beach, along with their friends and not a few of the many visitors who come regularly to use the pool have raised $80,000 towards the cost of the work. The rest of the estimated $250,000 was paid by the Council.
The first swimming carnival was held in 1943 and for some years, these carnivals were a regular summer feature. More recently the pool has been a regular Sunday morning winter venue for the Blue Swimmers. It is expected that the new pool, though now a far cry from what it was originally, will be as popular as ever with those who prefer quieter water than the sea or simply like to swim laps. ***
written by local historian, Beverley Kingston
Further information – Lynne Lillico, Communications Officer, Pearl Beach Progress Association
To watch NBN 9 coverage of the Pool Re-Opening click here.