Country swimming club to celebrate 60 years of history

By HARRY CLARKE

THE rattle of the old vintage camcorder and the sepia-toned images of professional springboard divers performing in front of the crowds tell a story of summer fun and country town community that now spans six decades.

Footage taken from the official opening of the Chinchilla Public Pool on October 13, 1962 has surfaced on YouTube as the local swim club prepares to celebrate its 60th anniversary.

OPENING OF THE CHINCHILLA POOL – filmed by Clem (CC) Allen

A lot has changed since that time – fashion sense, for starters.

Sadly, anyone middle-aged or older in the video is likely deceased. The children in the video now have gray hair. Some of their grandchildren probably spent the summer playing in that same pool.

There is now a huge 25m heated indoor pool in the area next to the main Olympic pool. The facility that was once simply called the Chinchilla Pool has taken on the fanciful title of the Chinchilla Aquatic and Fitness Center.

And sadly, skyrocketing insurance costs and modern society’s “wrap the kids in cotton” mentality mean that these impressive diving boards have long been decommissioned, condemned and deemed out of bounds.

Scenes from Chinchilla Sharks Swimming Club meetings, held on Thursday nights for 60 years

But a visit to one of the usual Thursday night swim club meetings shows that thankfully many of the great elements of the Chinchilla pool remain very much intact and still present.

A crowd of energetic kids, fueled by snacks, lollipops and Gatorade behind the gazebo, gather behind the big tub, laughing and playing as they wait for their groceries.

Their nervous bodies leap off the blocks and for the next 40 seconds their parents cheer them on from below on the edge of the concrete pool or in the wooden grandstand.

As the swimmers touch the wall at the other end, another group of parents, stopwatches in hand, stand on the edge, leaning over to take the children’s times and record their progress.

Parents and committee members, as always, take the time and record the children’s swimming progress

“The kids obviously have a lot of fun, but so does the committee,” says Jenny Bunting, patroness of the Chinchilla Sharks Swimming Club.

“When you have a good committee and you work well together, it’s a breeze and we really have fun. It’s good.

“We have excellent support from the city and sponsors. Whenever we need something, you can always guarantee that someone in town will come forward and help us.

The Chinchilla Sharks Swimming Club will celebrate its 60th anniversary on Saturday March 26 in the Byrne room of the Chinchilla Club Hotel, from 6 p.m.

Following the end of season presentation for the children, there will be shared stories and memories on display throughout the club’s long and proud history.

“Anyone who has been involved with our club over the years is welcome to join old friends and listen to stories over the years,” said Chinchilla Sharks president Julieanne Bannister.

“All the kids, committees and families have kept the club going for so long. We are truly proud of the Chinchilla tradition and it is great to be able to continue this for years to come.

Chinchilla Sharks Swimming Club President Julieanne Bannister and Jenny Bunting