Pool Reviews

Forbes Olympic Pool – Forbes, NSW 2871

Forbes Olympic Pool

Forbes was named after a former Chief Justice of NSW

My experience in the pool

Getting there, getting in, getting changed

The position of Forbes Olympic Pool suggests it was intended for people to walk to rather than driving. Approaching from the front in a car, there is nowhere to park, so you have to drive right round the complex and park up along the side of the park. We didn’t mind and rather liked the idea that everyone once upon a time would have walked (or maybe cycled) to Forbes Pool.

There is a hoist or a wheelchair ramp for disabled access. If not, there are nice shallow steps into the water near the changing sheds or, at the deep end, there are starting blocks, though signs up say these can only be used under supervision…

Perfectly adequate changing sheds, though we were told the women’s sheds are even older than the men’s! Warm water in the showers costs $1. But at only $4 entrance this would be fine if you needed warm water.

Other practicalities

Pool closed for winter and part of spring/autumn. Reopen its doors at start of October.

$4 entry

1.1m to 1.8m with a nice resting ledge at the deep end.

There is also a shallow paddling or wading pool, which was heated to 29C the day we showed up in Forbes.

History and stories about this pool

Days after Forbes Olympic Pool opened, in November 1937, a question was raised in Council on whether men would be allowed to wear trunks when ‘indulging in swimming at the pool’. No, was the quick answer. I’d have had to switch to regulation swim wear or be barred, it seems in 1937.

In October 1938, the question was raised again, made all the more current because trunks were being worn in metropolitan centres and shops in town had begun to stock trunks for swimwear. The ban in Forbes was maintained in 1938, though trunks were allowed as long as they were worn with a singlet (and NOT a singlet rolled down for ‘sun-baking’)

On Christmas Day 1938, 1700 people came through the turnstiles. Would be quite a feat to get a tenth of that today, if the pool even opens on 25th December…

No talk of the pool through the war years, but The Forbes Advocate of 2 December 1949 has a story about a well-travelled local gent Mr Norman Moore, who on returning to Forbes from Paris said he had ‘visited all the famous night clubs in the great French city and saw some marvellous sights, but he says he has never seen more beautiful girls with smarter figures than those he has seen in the Olympic swimming pool in Forbes.’

It was not always good news sadly: Floods in Forbes in 1950 took water to within two feet of the ceiling of the changing sheds, but the pool survived and by 1952, people were reflecting on 15 successful years…

The Forbes Advocate of 7 March 1952 said the idea of the pool had its origins in ‘a number of drowning tragedies in which young lives were lost. 15 years on and there had been no more drownings in Forbes.

People we met at the pool

One lady had apparently beaten us to the pool on that opening morning, but she just bought her annual pass. We were the first swimmers of the 2017-18 season so all our conversations were with manager Daniel and the lifeguard, who very kindly showed us her favourite coffee shop in Forbes for our post swim coffee.

What’s your story? Any memories of swimming here? 

Any stories to tell? Or did you just have swimming lessons in days gone by?

Whatever you have to say, however brief, I’d love to hear from you and will add any stories to this section of the site as and when I receive them.  Add your comment or story under ‘Leave a Reply’ below.

Links to other articles on this pool

I found no links to anyone else writing about Forbes Olympic Pool, though I know it’s the kind of pool Therese of Swimming Pool Stories would love to visit.

Thankfully the Trove national archive website had lots of newspaper clippings to feast on about Forbes, so my summary of the best of those appears above under History.

Coffee, tea or milkshake after the swim?

It’s only a five minute stroll to get into Forbes shopping area, and the best coffee shop seems to be just a few minutes further in the centre of town…

Pantry Café – 6-8 Templar Street, Forbes, NSW 2871

Open Daily: 7.30am-5pm Mon-Fri; 8am-1pm Sat;                          8.30am-12.30pm Sun

They use another country NSW roaster I hadn’t come across before. Bills Beans roast out of Orange and it makes for another excellent smooth flat white. Congrats to them. There was a hint of eastern Europe in both the accents of the ladies baking and in the taste of the pastries they served up. Altogether a good end to a lovely visit to Forbes.

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