Community hopes to reinvigorate Aslings Beach Rock Pool, a hidden gem of Eden

The local community are being invited to get involved as efforts to properly maintain the historic pool are underway. Photo: Angela George
The local community are being invited to get involved as efforts to properly maintain the historic pool are underway. Photo: Angela George

Hidden away in the south western corner of Aslings Beach is an almost forgotten gem, a secret feather in Eden's seaside cap.

Originally named the Eden Memorial Swimming Pool, the ocean bath now known as the Aslings Beach Rock Pool has been an outstanding community asset since its construction in 1961.

At least 25 years in the planning and built as a war memorial, the pool replaced the town's original 1904 Thompson's Point facility.

Heritage management and interpretation consultant Angela George is encouraging the community to get involved in reinvigorating the historic pool site.

"The time is now ripe for local community to ensure this unique attraction is reinstated to its rightful place as yet another of the iconic treasures that make our Eden so special," Ms George said.

Plans were hatched earlier this year to establish a formal community management group, but the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions has slowed progress considerably.

Nonetheless, information gathering is continuing to secure details necessary to submit a community project proposal to Bega Valley Shire Council, enabling proposed maintenance, usability and access works to be considered within the shire's broader community infrastructure, civil assets and facilities framework.

As part of this, contact has been made with staff from seven NSW Local Government Areas stretching from Wollongong to Coffs Harbour, all of which are have ocean baths under their control, seeking advice on facility management, particularly the methods used to control sand build up.

Originally around 1.3 metres deep when constructed, the pool was used for learn to swim programs for local children from 1962. Photo: Angela George

Originally around 1.3 metres deep when constructed, the pool was used for learn to swim programs for local children from 1962. Photo: Angela George

Measuring 25 by 20 metres, the rectangular shaped rock and concrete feature is set into and on a naturally occurring rock platform, deepened, and formalised to create a safe swimming pool within the marine environment.

Low concrete walls on two sides allow flushing and refilling by natural tidal and wave movements.

A project in which local names such as Ken Timms, Fonga Nammensma and Neil Snowden played a part, the Eden RSL sub-branch were a driving force behind the undertaking, organising fundraising and sponsoring the foundation of the Eden Memorial Swimming Pool Association.

Originally around 1.3 metres deep when constructed, the pool was used for learn to swim programs for local children from 1962; and former local resident and 1974 Australian Commonwealth Games swim team member Michael Creswick began his swimming career in the pool, training there seven days a week with his three brothers.

Outside formal swimming lessons and training activities, the pool also became a popular haunt for residents and visitors alike, especially the children and teens who flocked to the pool during the summer months.

Situated as it is in such a stunning location, it has become an increasingly popular photography subject in more recent years, and recognising its social and historic importance, it was added to Schedule 5 (heritage) of the Bega Valley Shire's Local Environment Plan in 2017.

A Facebook group "Our Rock Pool - The Gem of Aslings Beach" has been set up and will play a vital role in the public consultation and information process, keeping interested parties in the loop about progress and developments, including details relating to the formalisation of the organisation.

Anyone interested in being involved can join the group, or for those who don't use Facebook, send email contact details to Angela George on teaghan11@yahoo.com.au to receive advice when the management group is formed.

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