Delightful bush pools were easily accessible between Warrimoo and Faulconbridge. However, after the Melbourne Olympics in 1956, many communities wished for more sanitised, Olympic-sized pools.
Springwood certainly did.
The Springwood ward aldermen were supportive but the cost was prohibitive.
Undeterred, Springwood's citizens created the Springwood Olympic Pool Association (SOPA) in April 1957. Council promised help to acquire a state government loan.
The association registered with the Chief Secretary's Department to fundraise for the pool and surrounding amenities in Buttenshaw Park. Then the hard work began.
The major fundraising activity was a simple idea, the Wattle Queen Competition. Contestants for the Wattle Queen of the Mountains title would each raise money for both the pool and the group supporting them. The woman who raised the most became Queen. A win-win situation.
Dances, tennis days, afternoon teas, card nights and barbecues were organised in the four months from nomination to the coronation to raise money.
A carnival opened the 1958 contest on April 12. A Chinese dragon, fireworks, food and general stalls and a merry-go-round entertained the crowds.
On August 1, Fay Smith was crowned the inaugural Wattle Queen at a ball in Warrimoo Hall. She won a trip for two to the Gold Coast. £1352 was raised for the pool that year.
In 1959, the carnival tradition continued and a new entertainment was added, a procession through town. The Katoomba Marching Girls and the Katoomba Band led a motley parade of girls' and boys' clubs, junior Red Cross, Scouts, children in fancy dressw and riding decorated bicycles and glamorous floats prepared by local businesses.
The four contenders together raised £1192/8/6, Pauline Wheatley winning with £351/6/2. She was crowned at Lomatia Park, Springwood, on Saturday, August 8.
The whole town celebrated, many enjoying the ball at the Warrimoo Hall that evening.
The carnival and procession continued in 1960 when the Wattle Queen, Kerry Pearce, raised £929/17/4. Seven contestants together raised £2,726/17/1.
Before Kerry's coronation, Mr W. L. Chapman, MLA, Member for Nepean, announced that the minister for public works had approved the construction of Springwood Olympic Pool.
The estimated cost of the Olympic pool, wading and diving pools and buildings was between £40,000 and £45,000. SOPA had already raised over £4,200. The Public Works Department was granting them a subsidy of 25 per cent of the pool's cost. A loan secured the rest.
SOPA was exuberant. To cut costs, locals worked with council to excavate the ground for the pool. The rest of the work was sub-contracted, under the watchful eye of the council's engineer.
By 1963, Springwood Pool was a reality because the people of the town had worked together to make it happen.
- Robyne Ridge is publicity officer for Blue Mountains Historical Society