Historical information

This photograph was taken in the 1960s of the Lake Sambell Swimming Pool with the lake itself in the background. The swimming pool area has multiple features including park benches, a water slide, and a fenced area with a diving pontoon for lap swimming and racing.

Lake Sambell Swimming Pool was completed in 1961, driven largely by R.E. Carter, Beechworth shire engineer from 1954-63. Carter advocated for improvements to the lake and surrounding area in order to encourage tourism in Beechworth. The opening of the swimming pool was part of many improvements to Lake Sambell made during this period by Carter including establishing the caravan park in 1959, water skiing and boating facilities, and increasing the lake surface in 1964. These improvements were financed mainly by grants from the Tourist Development Authority.

For many decades, members of the local Beechworth community had advocated for the development of swimming pool at the lake that would include a safe wadding area and Olympic standard lanes for laps and races. Throughout the 1940s the Beechworth Swimming Club tried to raise awareness and funds to address the structural engineering issues, raise the water levels, and improve swimming facilities at the lake. Beechworth Swimming Club hosted a swimming carnival at the lake in 1948, but it was decided due to several issues at the event, that no further carnivals would be hosted until necessary improvements were made to the area.

Swimming pools, both artificial and built into natural environments, were an extremely popular public space throughout the 20th century in Australia. Increasing in accessibility and popularity through such developments as less restrictive swimming outfits during 1920s, public building works during the 1920s and 30s, and an increase in leisure time during a period of post-war prosperity.


This photograph is of historical significance as it documents the newly established Lake Sambell Swimming Pool in the 1960s after many decades of discussion and proposals around creating a safe swimming area at the lake. Further, this photograph provides important social insights into the facilities and uses of this pool in the 1960s, and underlines the significant role public swimming pools have played in Australian social and recreational experiences.

Physical description

Black and white rectangle photograph printed on photographic paper and unmounted.

Inscriptions & markings

3537 /