The Andrew “Boy” Charlton swimming pool in the Domain near Lady Macquarie’s Chair opens today, coinciding with the first day of spring.
The early opening to the season follows an increase in demand, with an extra 7,000 visitors taking pool attendance to 130,000 visits last season.
Set on the shores of Woolloomooloo Bay near the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Andrew Boy Charlton Pool offers breathtaking views of Sydney Harbour and provides a tranquil environment for swimming, relaxation and socialising.
Facilities at the pool include an eight lane outdoor heated saltwater 50 metre pool, timber grandstand seating, a learners’ pool with sun shade cover and a café. There are even yoga and Pilates classes.
The pool is open daily 6 am to 7 pm and until 8 pm during daylight saving. Entry prices are: Adult $5.20; child/student $3.60; pensioner $3.50; and City of Sydney concession card $2.00.
The pool is being opened one month ahead of the City’s swimming season as part of a trial to improve pool access for the community.
In other pool news, the City of Sydney is installing water-saving showers, reduced-flow taps, dual flush toilets and waterless urinals at the Cook + Phillip Park Aquatic Centre.
The City’s goal is to reduce onsite water usage by 37 per cent which would represent a water saving equivalent to nine Olympic swimming pools each year.
At the Victoria Park Pool in Camperdown, construction of new program room is due to be completed in mid November.
And the City’s landmark $40m Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre at Ultimo is expected to open in 2007. The Harry Seidler designed-facility, his last public Sydney work, will feature a distinctive wave-form and a heated 50 metre pool, leisure pool with spa, program pool, sauna, café and fitness centre.
Media Contact: Josh MacKenzie (02) 9265 9082 or 0402 351 459
Boy Charlton Pool – A History
The site of the pool was a popular swimming location with Indigenous Aborigines before the arrival of Europeans to Australia. The pool was also the venue for the sporting triumphs of Australian swimming legend Andrew Boy Charlton in the 1920s and is believed to be the birthplace of the Australian Crawl or freestyle swimming stroke. The pool reopened in 2002 after a $10 million upgrade.
Andrew “Boy” Charlton – An Australian Legend
Born in North Sydney in the same year as Don Bradman, Andrew ‘Boy’ Charlton received more adulation than almost any Australian of his time. The nickname was bestowed because he was only 14 and a student at Sydney Grammar School, when he first came to prominence, beating Olympic swimming champions of the era. He was 15 when he smashed an incredible 19 seconds from the world record to win the NSW 880 yards freestyle title.
In 1923, the 15-year-old Charlton swam for the first time against the famous Frank Beaurepaire, who had won 35 Australian Championships and had set 15 world records in his career. The Manly Baths was filled to capacity for the 440yd race, with Charlton winning the race by two yards.
Charlton won the 1924 Paris Olympic 1500 metre freestyle in 20 minutes and six seconds. He, more than all other swimmers combined, put Australia back on the Olympic swim map after World War I.
While he easily won the 1924 Olympic 1500 metre race, Charlton won bronze in the Olympic 400 metre with the finalists including American Johnny “Tarzan” Weissmuller.
Before the Games finished, Charlton anchored the Australian 800 freestyle relay in another thrilling come from behind race adding a silver medal to his gold and bronze in the individual races. Again he finished second to Weissmuller.
After Paris, Charlton headed home to finish his agriculture degree and a career in farming. Out on the farm, there was little opportunity for swim training and he literally disappeared from the scene between Olympic Games.
Charlton represented Australia again at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam and won two silver medals.
He also made the team for the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. He died in Sydney in December 1975.