Pool Reviews

Parkes Aquatic Centre – Parkes, NSW 2870

Parkes Aquatic Centre

Parkes was named after the town’s founder, who came from Coventry, hence its twinning with that industrial city!

My experience in the pool

Getting there, getting in, getting changed

We drove to Parkes and I have no idea how you’d get here by public transport. It did look as though a train line goes through town, but I don’t suppose many people get off the train to go for a swim! The pool is right on the highway, though, which is how we came across it and saw it was open.

There is a hoist for disabled access. Otherwise, it’s just the usual step access to the 1.1m shallow end or jump in the wonderful 3m deep water at the other end. Diving only on certain days with certain supervisors present.

Changing rooms are open air (with some benches under cover in unlikely event it rains). Cold showers only, though there seemed to be a machine to put a coin in which might give you warm water. Try it and see.

Other practicalities

Pool closed for winter and part of spring/autumn. Reopen its doors at the end of September.

$4.50 entry

History and stories about this pool

I loved this brief piece in The Forbes Advocate from 11 January 1935 so much that I am going to reproduce it in full…Constructed at a cost of £7,000, the Parkes Swimming Pool will be opened by the Minister for Local Government on Wednesday next, January 16, at 2.30pm. The programme consists of exhibitions of swimming and diving by champions, and a grand carnival is scheduled for the night session. Our friends in the sister town are of the opinion that the provision of this facility will not only put a stop to the drift to Forbes for aquatic entertainment, but in no time will prove a very definite attraction to the would-be Charltons (Andrew Boy, presumably) and mermaids (this is pre- Dawn Fraser) of Forbes…

I also liked this piece on Parkes’s first ever Olympian, Rex Aubrey, who is still alive and 82 at the time of writing. Imagine the party when they saw him off to Helsinki to swim in the 1952. This local history article gives a flavour of excitement round town when Aubrey headed off – but bear in mind the dates: Parkes Pool was built in the year Rex Aubrey was born; and he swam already as a baby. So without Parkes Pool, another Olympian would probably never have made it.

1947 stats: 34,566 people went through the turnstiles in 2 months at end of 1946, and that doesn’t include season ticket holders. Numbers might be a bit down now I fear!

Things weren’t always good, though, judging by a press clipping I found from 1951. There were complaints of Larrikinism at Parkes Swimming Pool in the Dubbo Liberal & Macquarie Advocate: “The conduct of many youths and young girls left much to be desired,” said the Mayor, who called for the example of Dubbo to be followed, where a pool manager controlled larrikinism via a loud hailer…

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

All I found on Parkes Aquatic Centre was this piece by the construction company taken on to do the 2012 refurb of the pools.

Coffee, tea or milkshake after the swim?

The place I wanted to go to for my post swim coffee in Parkes was owned by a guy who was away in Melbourne to watch the Grand Finals – so, sorry Onnies Coffee, I missed out there. I liked the alternative, though.

Café’n’Ate – 249 Clarinda Street, Parkes, NSW 2870

Open: 8am-5pm Mon-Fri; 8am-2pm Sat

Closed Sundays

Coffee in Parkes

This great little place for coffee in Parkes uses coffee roasted in Bathurst by the Fish River Roasters. Big city coffee lovers who worry that they won’t get a decent brew in country NSW need not fear. They made a good, smooth flat white at Cafe’n’Ate, on Parkes’ main drag.



2 thoughts on “Parkes Aquatic Centre – Parkes, NSW 2870”

  1. I have enjoyed reading your blog. I was wondering if you have heard of the Elvis festival which is held in January of each year in Parkes? The whole town gets involved, including events at the Parkes pool. I wanted to write and tell you that we swam at the Parkes pool this summer and what a delight it was. I wanted to especially mention the splash pool as it is deep enough for children to practice their swimming skills confidently, but they are able to stand when they want. I was happy to see the open air sheds were still there as it was a memory from growing up in the town.

    Kind regards


    1. Thanks for the comment, Kate, and for the info on the smaller pool. Yes, we did see lots of references to Elvis around Parkes but have not yet managed to go back when the festival is on. Love to see some pics of how Parkes Pool gets involved with Elvis!

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