Historical information

This photo records one of the swimming carnivals held at the Surrey Dive, the first of which was organised in 1907. It was at the 1907 carnival that champion swimmer Frank Beaurepaire won the one-mile championship in record time.
In the era before purpose-built municipal swimming pools, Surrey Dive was a popular destination for swimming and people came to it from many Melbourne suburbs. It operated from 1905 to 1967.
It was the newly formed Surrey Park Swimming Club (established in 1905) that petitioned the Box Hill Council to purchase the former quarry site associated with the Box Hill Brick Works. A ramp, bathing sheds, springboards, and eventually a 10-lane course were developed, making the Dive the first Olympic standard pool in Australia. The carnivals attracted huge crowds.
The original use as a quarry explains the notorious depth of the swimming hole and the sheer, steep cliffs surrounding it. These posed obvious safety issues, as did the water quality. Ivy Lavinia Weber, who was the second woman to be elected to the Victorian parliament (the first at a general election) and renowned for her commitment to health and physical fitness, campaigned for State government assistance to build new baths. These were built adjacent to the Dive and were opened in 1939.
The Dive continued as a facility used by experienced swimmers until 1967 when it closed due to the drought causing the water to dry up. Today the site has been turned into an ornamental lake.
This image was used as a mural in the refurbishment of the Box Hill Aqualink.


The image has strong associations with early industry (brick making), recreation and particularly the early history of the sport of swimming.

Physical description

Black and white photo with a white border. Scan shows image only. It shows 3 men diving from a wooden platform into an area of water beneath higher banks. There is a boat in the background, a building to the LHS of the photo and many spectators in boater hats on the platform, some in bathing suits along a ledge and many around the top of the bank. Two men in the LH foreground may be officials.

Inscriptions & markings

Printed long the bottom edge of the frame: "An image from history - Carnival Day at the Dive. / (photo: Box Hill Council)"