Sunday, March 2, 2008

Olympic Pool, Maryborough

Maryborough Olympic PoolMaryborough is about two hours drive from Melbourne in the heart of the Victorian Goldfields. Given that the Victorian goldrush was centered the middle part of the 1800s, it is possibly the last place you would expect to find an Art Deco gem. The Municipal Olympic Pool was built in 1939-40 using umemployed and voluntary labour. It was designed by local Maryborough architech E.J. Peck and opened in time for the Australian summer on 7th December 1940 by Sir Frank Beaurepaire.

Frank Beaurepaire was Lord Mayor of Melbourne at the time but previously had had a successful swimming career winning 3 silver and 3 bronze medals representing Australia at the London (1908), Antwerp (1920) and Paris (1924) Olympic Games.

Maryborough Olympic PoolThe complex consists of three outdoor pools. An Olympic size 50m pool and toddler pool were part of the original design while an intermediate pool was added during the 1970s.

Like so many Art Deco buildings, the pool features a semi-circular entrance providing space for a cashier office and kiosk with symetrical wings housing the male and female changing rooms. A stepped decoration topped with a flagpole has pride of place above the rounded office windows.

Not so long ago this building was under threat of closure but community action with support from the Art Deco Society in Melbourne led to the complex being restored and is now proudly included as one of Maryborough's attractions.

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