Blacktown’s name has its origins in the Stolen Generation as there was a ‘Native Institution’ here in the 19th century.
My experience in the pool
Blacktown Aquatic Centre has one of those outdoor swimming pools that look so tempting when you speed past in the train. When I spotted it over the tracks, it looked pristine, with sky blue tiles looking magnificent in the sunshine, and seemingly hardly anyone in it. It proved a bit harder to get an actual swim in Blacktown!
My first failed attempt was in trying to go in April, when the pool had already closed for winter. That day it lay looking a bit sorry for itself, the water a slimy-looking green. It’s a long way to Blacktown from Kiama, so on that day, I went against all my instincts and had a swim in the indoor pool. It was actually quite a pleasant experience and something I might have to get used to through the winter months in cold-averse Victoria.
When I got back to Blacktown mid-morning in late November, I could hear the shrill sound of hundreds of kids’ shouts and screams before I’d even made it to the Aquatic Centre itself. That’s never a good sound if you are wanting a chance to take photos and to do 20 or so stress-free laps.
Sure enough, reception told me that local schools would be using Blacktown outdoor pool every day for the next two weeks, so this was my last chance before we move to Victoria next week.
The kids were all still in some pre-swim session on the grassy areas nowhere the pool when I got in and began my laps. So for a minute, I thought my luck was in.
But ten laps in, I was joined by 100 kids in 6 groups of 16 or so practising getting in and out of the water and rescuing. Now, I’m all in favour of schools teaching this kind of thing, and it’s great to see local resources being used in this way. So I’m not about to grumble about the crowd.
But…in this day and age, the arrival of 100 or so school kids meant the disappearance of my camera and no photos of Blacktown pool beyond the one I managed of my lap just before getting in.
So quick description: lined by beautiful gum trees on three sides, with the changing rooms and indoor pool on the other side; in November, fantastic jacaranda blooming down at the deep end; trains dashing past, visible through those trees. It’s a fairly narrow pool, with only about 6 lanes, but lovely water temperature, producing approving noises from lots of the youngsters throwing themselves in and clearly a bit wary of how cold it might be!
Getting there, getting in, getting changed
The trains might zip past Blacktown Aquatic Centre, but Blacktown train station is still about 10-15 minutes walk away. Lots of parking by the pool if you come in the car.
I didn’t get a chance to study too closely different ways to get in and out of the water because by the time I finished my swim, those schoolkids were practising their rolling dives…
Nothing remarkable I noticed about the changing rooms. Shame the old ‘war memorial pool’ entrance is no longer used but at least they have kept the frontage (though you enter the aquatic centre round the side now)
Outdoor pool closed in winter. Indoors there is another 50m pool.
Entrance fee $6.20 in 2017-18.
History and stories about this pool
The pool opened for the first time in 1961 as Blacktown’s War Memorial Pool.
Margaret Whitlam (wife of then opposition leader and later to be PM) swam at Blacktown. She managed to ‘scrape into second’ in an event for ‘mothers’! How times change…
The pool was used by one of the Olympic swimming teams as training centre for the Sydney Olympics. And Olympians Kieran Perkins and Ian Thorpe trained here at Blacktown.
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
This 2013 blog piece is quite political but does also include some usefuls tidbits of information on Blacktown Pool and its past users.
And this article from 2015 talks of new funding to improve Blacktown aquatic centre – in English as well as Chinese!
Coffee, tea or milkshake after the swim?
It’s a bit of a trek to get decent coffee in Blacktown, and not that easy to find among the very average coffee on offer in most places.
I ended up accosting a guy carrying a Campos Coffee cup to ask where on earth he found it, and was steered downstairs in the shopping mall opposite Blacktown train station…
Café Lelunar – Level Two, Westpoint Shopping Centre, Blacktown, NSW 2148
Open Daily: Mon-Sat 8am-5.30pm; Sun; 9am-5pm
Great to get a decent coffee in Blacktown – Campos coffee pretty consistent so I was happy with that – enormous muffins, too, to fill that gap, even after ten laps. Well it had been a long morning after all…
15 thoughts on “Blacktown Aquatic Centre – Blacktown, NSW 2148”
Just moved to Blacktown, didn’t even know the pools existed – only though anything related was Wet N wild. Would have to give this a try during the warmer months.
It’s a nice pool. Just a shame they close it so many months. Enjoy when it does reopen…
I have only been to this pool twice – 1993 and 1995 – for School State Championships. My grandfather recorded me swimming my leg of the relay in 1993 on his camcorder, but I ended up recording over it because I was embarrassed with my performance!
Can’t remember what happened in 1995, aside from just being there. Weird.
Ah the folly of youth not realising the historical potential of live video for future use. Shame you deleted it
pretty sure Perkins got a world record there when they held NSW titles a while ago i could be wrong
I belonged to the swim squad at Blacktown in the early-mid 70s. Club member, Michele de Vries, was national backstroke champion at the time and swam at the 1976 Montreal Olympics at the age of 14. The clubhouse at the pool is named after her. Club coach was Dick Parker. We had a very strong squad and there are still quite a few club records which date back to this time 🙂
Thanks for updating this, Peta. Sounds like you have great memories of the pool in your squad days
I learnt to swim here in the 1960 s. Probably about 1965 when I was 5 or it could have been a little later.
I clearly remember Mr Wilson who was a very frightening individual for a little kid! I think he was the pool manager and did some instruction. I do remember running away from a lesson once, back to my grandfather’s place, he had an upholstery business at the pool end of his property in Boyd Street next door to the pool (the only road to cross was the car park entrance road). It was a different time then.
Also the earlier post from Peta rang some bells. I have an idea that Michelle De Vries went to Doonside High while I was there..
Brilliant story, Garry thanks for sharing (and sorry for the delay in uploading)
In the late 60’s the pool was to be closed,but due to public restistance and the right to every child and Australian to have the opportunity to learn to swim the pool stayed open .Dave Wilson was the coach and our squads were very competitive,dive in the shallows climb out the deep end and run as fast as you can back to shallow end ,that was only one of the many drills.Mr Wilson had a whistle and a long lanyard on it if you thought to take it easy well watch out. He showed no mercy for loafers.End of season would be a big deal ,presentation night at Blacktown council chamber’s main hall. A good part of my youth.
Sounds great, though I might have been the loafer I think…
I use to swim at Blacktown for Cumberland swim meets in the 70’s – I swam for Emu Plains swimming club. Some of the Swimmers in my age group from Blacktown (from what I can remember) were Yvette Petit Michelle Ford (not the Olympic one but still very fast) They we’re great competitive swim nights and Dick Parker was the swim coach for Blacktown at the time.
I grew up at that pool. Represented Blacktown Boys many times there. Swam alongside other greats like Steven and Raymond Yeo. Ian Davis. The Bergan twins. Peter Ashpole. Rick Wilson son of the Great Fred Wilson (manager/ coach of the pool. Helena Brunner. I remember Michelle de Vries. Great memories
Great, thanks for sharing the memories, Neil
Apparently, $77million has just been allocated for an upgrade of the Blacktown pool, and the rumours are that they are going to reorganise it so that the war memorial entry will be the way in again so, get in early or there will a very long walk from the back of the carpark.