Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The magical moods of Maroubra's Mahon Pool

The beauty of ocean pools is that they change each day according to the weather and the patterns of the sea.

Last week huge waves lined up outside Mahon Pool and crashed over the chains.

Sometimes there was so much water the pool disappeared completely from view.

It was mesmerising watching the rise and fall of the sea and the sun shining on the sandstone.
And seeing a face appear in the curves and lines of a rock.

More than most of Sydney's 100 ocean baths, Mahon Pool is at the mercy of the worst waves and weather as it doesn't get protection from the south-westerlies. Built in the early 1930s on the rock platform north of Maroubra Beach, at high tide the pool often merges with the sea. In the 1930s and 40s my mother and her sister swam there often especially when the surf was dangerous at Maroubra Beach..

A month ago I was greeted by a much more tranquil scene than last week's big seas.

It was the day before winter but almost like a summer's day so I was ready for a swim.

Near the steps leading into the pool, I met a man who swims there all year round.  

"You never get sick when you swim here each day," he said. "I am 71 but I never get the flu; you get that on the bus. And today it's the best," he said. "It's 21 in the water."

As I swam along olive green plants fluttered in the water like Reconciliation hands and close to the edge where the waves wash in I spotted a fish.


On the rock platform, the grey-brown boulders looked like crocodiles, hippos, whales and sharks; their half-opened eyes watching me and the other swimmers in the pool. 

It was beautiful in and I started to have that familiar feeling like I wanted to stay forever in this pool.


  1. I have finally made it back to your blog via facebook. What spectacular shots. Hope the writing is going well.

  2. Thanks Jen. I put a comment on your blog the other night via my phone but I don't think it worked so will return there again. Hope all well in Milano. Ciao.

  3. Swimming Pool cover

    Too cool!
    I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a designer to create your theme?
    Excellent work!

  4. Hi Therese. I'm working on a personal post about morning ocean pool swims (actually the Mahon pool, but I don't mention the name in the post since I write a roughly anonymous blog. I used to swim there most mornings all year around until we moved from Maroubra). I wonder if I can use a couple of your great photos above for the post? I will of course link to your post as the source of them, and recommend your post about the pool. You can read it first if you like. Anna

    1. Hi Anna, yes that's fine. If you could link to my post that would be good. I look forward to reading it. Can you give me the link?

    2. Hi Therese,

      Thank you very much! Yes of course I'll link to you in the post! I'll give you the link to the post as soon as I complete the post... (it got parked for a little while now, unfinished, as something else came up that needed to be done ... tends to happen with my posts).

      Your photos are great and very nostalgic for me, because that's precisely how I remember it, and I miss swimming there very much.


    3. No worries Anna and thank you. I went there again last week. A lovely pool and different every time I go.

    4. That sounds lovely:-) I wish it was me! I have written the post (a while a go. It took some time to post it because I was moving to a new domain, and wanted to finalise that first) Here is the link: http://historyofbadparties.net/?p=26785

  5. Thanks for letting me know Anna. Will have a look. All the best. Therese

  6. Does anyone know the origin of the name of the pool?

  7. You should read Down The Bay and Up The Junction by Adrian Simpson!
    He writes extensively about Mahon Pool - in the guise of "Mahoney Pool" in this fabulous novel. He truly brings the pool to life, outlining his many experiences there as a boy. The writing about the pool is superb!