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With thanks to Trentham & District Historical Society.
On the Trent Creek Reserve is the site of Trentham’s original public swimming pool. Opened in the 1920s, it was filled from Chinaman’s Spring, a natural spring on the south side of High St, which fed the nearby market garden of the late 19th century.
The pool was constructed by Charlie Pretty. It had a rough concrete base from which every swimmer expected to lose “a yard of skin”. Despite this, it was extremely popular for at least 30 years, with its own swimming club and carnivals.
The pool’s depth was 8ft (2.4m) at one end and 1ft (30cm) at the other, with hardwood-board sides that became swollen when wet. Two galvanised iron change sheds were sited at each end of the pool. There was also a timber diving board, which needed frequent replacement as it became cracked and dangerous.
Pool maintenance became increasingly difficult, especially in dry seasons as the water receded and stagnated. The perpetually unhygienic state of the water eventually led to the pool’s closure by the late 1950s.
The old swimming pool can be found in Bath St (where there’s an historical marker) and is included in Trentham’s town walk, The Wombat Trail.
✍️ Sue Worthington, curator of Trentham & District Historical Society.
📘 Take a Walk Around Trentham: A Guide to the Points of Historical Interest in the Township of Trentham, edited by Ina Bertrand (2006). Available for $5 (plus postage) from Trentham & District Historical Society. A package of the historical society’s publications is available for $55 from Trentham Post Office or via email.
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