It was on November 15, 1927 that the Yass Municipal Baths in Adele Street were opened by Mayor JG Duffy.
The opening was followed by a water carnival starting in the afternoon and continuing into the evening. Events included swimming races with cash prizes, diving and water polo.
The Yass Courier reported that some good swimmers competed ‘including two girls’!
The new pool opened about two and a half years after a swimming club had been formed and approached the Yass Council about building a ‘swimming bath’.
By 1932, the Yass Swimming Club held regular well supported swimming carnivals, with novelty events to encourage wider participation.
But sadly by 1957, the pool had become dilapidated. John Stuber was appointed caretaker. He set about enthusiastically revitalising the Adele Street pool, doing many repairs himself, and enlisting volunteer help and money from fundraising from the Woollenwealth Committee. Improvements included resurfacing the interior of the pool, fencing replacement and the addition of a ‘tiny tots’ pool excavated by volunteers. Carnivals run by the Yass Swimming Club were well supported, one attracting a crowd of 600.
However, by this time some were thinking a new pool should be built to meet modern Olympic standards. Meetings were held and options explored including improving the Adele Street site, using river flats at Flat Rock or new sites at Banjo Paterson Park and Victoria Park. Miss Woollenwealth carnivals fundraised for improved swimming facilities.
In 1960 a public meeting held by Yass Council voted 54 to six in favour of a new pool. Many locals supported the idea of a new pool being a memorial for World War II and Korean War veterans. Later that year, the council held a referendum on several issues. The public voted ‘no’ to all questions except the need for improved swimming facilities. Discussions continued.
Finally, the new Yass and District Memorial Pool was officially opened by the Honourable WC Fife, MLA in October 1965. It was designed by Reg Hart, Yass Council building inspector and Ray Bishop, shire engineer. It was funded by Yass Council for £29,354, Goodradigbee Council £10,000, Yass Woollenwealth Committee £13,000 and a government grant of £10,000. In today’s money, this totalled some $1.629 million.
Later in 1965, Yass Council won the AR Bluett Memorial Award awarded by the Local Government and Shires Association, awarded to the council seen as most progressive in that year. Its achievement included manufacturing liquefied gas, the museum, the council library and a pool meeting Olympic standards.
Some 50 years later, the people of Yass are again discussing what swimming facilities are needed by our community.