Bendigo East Swimming Club History
Mr and Mrs Tully, Bendigo East Swimming Pool
The Bendigo East Swimming Club has a very long history at the site on Lansell Street in Bendigo East.
Alwyn Nelson was serving in the Armed Forces in 1944 when he heard that his step brother, Kevin Boucher, had gained a place in the Victorian Junior Diving Championships.
In 1946, the Central Victorian District Swimming Association was established. This remains the authority for organised swimming competitions and events in the Greater Goldfields and Murray region. Back when the division started, only registered swimmers were allowed to participate in official swim meets, from which came qualification for Country and State championships.
The push to form a swimming club so that others could experience his step brother’s successes led Alwyn Nelson to become the driving force behind the establishment of the Bendigo East Swimming Club. His dream was fulfilled on October 14th 1948. Alwyn Nelson remained Foundation President of the Bendigo East Swimming Club, and Central Victorian Swimming District official, from 1948 to 1965.
Since the club’s inception last century, there has been many life members, excellent coaches and celebrated swimmers at the club. Olympian Jenna Strauch started her swimming career at Bendigo East.
Lifetime Members of the Bendigo East Swimming Club
Bendigo East Swimming Pool History
The Bendigo East Swimming Pool (Bendigo East Aquatic Facility) has been a local institution for over a century. The pool is renowned for its warm temperature, grassy areas, shady trees and well stocked kiosk.
In the 1920s, workers from the nearby abattoirs had founded a group called the Abattoirs Charity Club. They were using a dam in the Lansell Street area for swimming and due to its popularity, the need for a proper swimming pool was identified. A Progress Association was formed to further social infrastructure development in the East Bendigo area, under the leadership of the President, Mr J.P. (Jack) Tully.
In 1931, a pool was opened on the current site, in the market reserve. This pool was sand based, with redgum sides and diving boards on each side. The Progress Association were also crucial to the development of other facilities in the precinct, including the Progress Association Hall and the Bendigo East Bowling Club.
In the early 1940s, lights on poles were erected around the pool and further improvements were carried out with the help of workers from local factories. The pool became longer and deeper, being extended to 50 yards in length, and the sides were concreted to a depth of 3 feet.
The timber from the old pool walls was used to build a kiosk on the present site. In 1944, it was noted to be the most modern pool in Victoria, and was officially opened by the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Bendigo, Mr A.E. Cook.
Most recently, the Pool was one of the few facilities open during the Covid19 Pandemic due to it being heated and outside.
The pool has a very high patronage of over 50,000 people a year. The local schools, VicSwim and Sloan Swimming School use the pool for swim training.
Despite our high use of numbers, the BESC always has lanes available for our club swimmers to train.
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