Hot summers are a feature of the Cessnock local government area and residents have always sought relief from the heat by finding swimming spots of various kinds.
Whether it’s an original open-air pool or a modern aquatic centre, when it’s hot, we just like to get wet.
Splash! Our Pool Stories, a free exhibition that explores our pool stories and histories is running throughout January in the foyers of Cessnock and Kurri Kurri libraries.
Library services coordinator, Rose-marie Walters said the libraries are committed to sharing their wonderful local history collection with the Cessnock community.
“On scorching days our local pools at Cessnock, Kurri Kurri and Branxton beckon local residents to keep cool and have fun. Many locals aren’t aware these pools have their own extraordinary history,” Ms Walters said.
Natural waterways were the city’s first ‘pools’ – Ellalong Lagoon was known for its ultra-deep water, Wollombi Brook hosted swimming races and Greta locals cooled off at Big Rock swimming hole on the Hunter River.
Many colliery dams took on an unofficial role after hours and on weekends when local children re-purposed them as swimming pools.
These local pools are home to multi-award winning swimmers and divers, competitive swimming clubs and are where countless locals have learnt to swim.
They have even hosted a bathing beauty competition – or two.
The exhibition features wonderful pool-related items including programs for the first swimming carnivals ever held at Cessnock pool; the story of Alice Farmer, an amazing teacher at Kurri Kurri Public School who championed the building of Kurri Kurri pool; the true story of our own Bathing Beauty Queen and Australian Olympic swimmer, Janice Fogg.
Splash! Our Pool Stories will be launched with a morning tea at Cessnock Library on Friday, January 5 at 10.30am. All are welcome.
The exhibition will run in the foyers of Cessnock and Kurri Kurri libraries until January 31.