Gail and Michael Smail have been operating the Stanthorpe Swimming Pool for 20 of its 50 years.
Gail and Michael Smail have been operating the Stanthorpe Swimming Pool for 20 of its 50 years.

The facility that keeps giving: Pool to mark milestone moment

MEMORIES that will last a lifetime have been created at the Stanthorpe Swimming Pool.

Fifty-years ago Gino Zanatta took the very first dip in the pool.

February 28 will mark the pools 50th birthday.

On that day in 1970 the community came together to see the ‘Stanthorpe Shire War Memorial Olympic Pool’ dedicated to the men and women who served in World War 1 and 2, as well as the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

This February 28, the community will again unite for a ‘rededication’ service.

“It’s to honour those that have served in wars or conflicts after the first dedication,” Stanthorpe Swimming Club’s Shannon Armbruster said.

“The Stanthorpe RSL, RSL sub branch, Stanthorpe Swimming Club, Southern Downs Regional Council and community members will all be in attendance for the service and unveiling of the plaque,” she said.

A photo taken by Geoff Rayner in 1969 of the pool under construction.
A photo taken by Geoff Rayner in 1969 of the pool under construction.

For nearly half the pools life Michael and Gail Smail have been at the helm.

“The guys who built this … there was great foresight,” Mr Smail said.

“It’s still a modern pool today and very well designed.”

In 1970 there was no Stanthorpe Fitness Centre adjoining the pool and no grandstand, but the canteen and toilet facilities were there.

Mr Smail says the pool becoming heated and the development of the grandstand are the biggest changes since he took charge.

The pool came at a cost of $150,000.

A total of $20,000 of the funding was raised by the community, $4000 was drawn from government grants and the balance was raised through loans.

As reported in the Stanthorpe Border Post on March 5, 1970, at the pool’s opening Mr W Rae, the then Minister for Local Government and Electricity, said that the dedication of

the pool was the facility’s “crowning glory”.

“They must respect the sons and daughters who had gone forward and this pool would be a living memory to those who had given their all,” Mr Rae said.

Gino Zanatta dives into the pool at the 1970 dedication service. Picture: Border Post archives
Gino Zanatta dives into the pool at the 1970 dedication service. Picture: Border Post archives

Funds for the 50m pool were raised through raffles, donations and a walkathon hosted by

the Apex Club in which participants walked from the Terrica (near Pikedale) turn-off to Stanthorpe.

“It is a big part of the community,” Mr Smail said.

“It was back then too. I remember as a kid it was a big thing because it was one of the only things we had to do in town.

“Hopefully it’ll be here for another 50 years. It’s a magnificent facility,” he said.

The rededication service will be held on Friday, February 28 from approximately 5pm.

If you have any photos or history on the facility please contact the pool.

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