Monday, November 8, 2010

Ithaca Pool, Paddington

When my latest rates notice arrived (and after I recovered from the initial shock), I noticed in the accompanying bumpf from lord mayor Campbell Newman that the Ithaca Pool had reopened after a million dollar facelift. This was good news to me, because I had a blog post ready to go, just waiting for a current photograph. I had been to the pool to take a photo several months ago, but it was just a hole in the ground with workmen everywhere. It looks much nicer now - it has been enlarged to 25 metres, and the surrounding area improved with sun shades, vital for our Queensland climate. When I took the photo below, the pool was teeming with people swimming, sunbathing or just relaxing. It seems to be busy already, a very good sign for the coming summer.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

I had only ever been to this pool once prior to this year, and that was way back in 1967. The social club at the insurance office where I worked arranged a swimming carnival one summer evening after work, and it was a lot of fun too. I actually won a race, and for a person with the build of a rugby front-rower, that was quite an achievement. The fact that the length of the pool was only 23 metres (or 25 pre-metric yards) was a significant factor :-) The other thing I remember was that a bloke that I worked with (who shall remain nameless) demonstrated the art of staying underwater for a long time. This was achieved after hyperventilating for about five minutes, and then sinking below the surface. He blacked out and had to be rescued before he broke any Guinness World Record! The following photo was taken in 1943, and the pool didn't look too much different in 1967. (Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #157643)

Below is a photograph of the pool from around 1910, when it was known as the Ithaca Baths. It was just a free-form swimming hole dug out of the ground on the former site of the Paddington Cemetery. It looks like a cricket match is in progress too, at the rear of the photograph - that's probably where Suncorp Stadium stands today. A special act of parliament was passed to allow the land to be converted to recreation use.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #62800)

Later, the town of Ithaca proceeded with a plan to construct a children's playground, creche and kindergarten, free library and swimming pool around 1918, and the pool was upgraded as can be seen in the photograph below from around that time.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #67703)

Today, with addition of a skateboard facility and having Suncorp Stadium just across the road, this area is still very much a leisure precinct.

I would like to thank the lessees of the Ithaca Pool, Jacqueline and Tomas, for letting me take today's photograph.

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: Prince Alfred Hotel


  1. Swimming about in a large hole that was previously a cemetery would definitely give me the heebie-jeebies.

  2. I love Ithaca Pool! I used to swim there on Friday nights for club competitions. I haven't been since it's upgrade, but I drove past it the other day and I like that they've added a ramp to the pool.

    Thanks for sharing this! I love the old photos.


  3. Cara - I'm not sure where the cemetery boundaries were. I suspect the majority of graves would have been where Suncorp Stadium is now.

    Given that the cemetery closed in 1875 because of the health concerns of the local residents, I guess they would have made sure that the pool was OK to swim in!

    Jasmine - the new pool complex is great. Maybe you should visit again :-)

  4. Love these photos - especially the original one - wow! There is a real sense of community amongst locals when we cross each other in the street with towels around the shoulders. Ithaca is one block from my Yoga Studio and I'm honoured to run Aqua Yoga there, plus we pop in for a dip.

    1. Hi Susan
      I used to do your yoga classes at the local gym!


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