History of Mackay War Memorial Swimming Centre

Posted on 5 November 2018
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The Mackay War Memorial Swimming Centre opened on 14 December 1963. It was dedicated as a Memorial to the fallen of WW1 and WW2, as well as those who served and returned.

The 3x1.5 metre mural of glass mosaic tiles embedded in the front façade of the building depicts the Navy, Army and Air Force, a Lancaster bomber, a battleship and a submarine, an Owen gun, the hills of New Guinea and the sands of Egypt. In the background, the sun shines on a dove of peace and the Southern Cross. Two bronze wreaths are on either side of the mosaic, surmounted by the words 'Dedicated to the fallen of Mackay and district.’

This mural acts as a daily reminder of the men and women who served our country.

The Memorial was officially opened by the Postmaster General, Mr Davidson. The Mayor of Mackay, Alderman Binnington, said that it was fitting that Mr Davidson performed the official part of the pool’s inauguration ‘in view of his service in two World Wars, and his service to Australia as a member of the Federal Government’.

During the opening ceremony, Archdeacon J.H.R. Innes offered a prayer of dedication to the fallen. Mr Davidson and Mayor Binnington inspected a guard of honour in front of the main building, and members of the Royal Queensland Regiment from Mackay fired three volleys, as the Last Post and Reveille were played. The significance that these military traditions represent cannot be ignored.

The Mackay War Memorial Swimming Centre is listed on the Queensland War Memorial Register.

The day of the pool’s opening, the Mackay Daily Mercury published a reader's letter which said that the building of a public swimming pool to commemorate the war was fitting and relevant and that the pool was well placed. ‘The opening of the pool,’ the author claimed, would ‘honour our servicemen who fought so gallantly to give us a free and wholesome life and on their behalf an opportunity for the people of Mackay and district to enjoy themselves and the prospect for the rising generation to learn to swim well’.

In its report on the opening, the Daily Mercury emphasised the value of living memorials which were to be used and not just looked at.

The centrally located Mackay War Memorial Swimming Centre is a dedicated living memorial and serves a very practical purpose for the public of Mackay.

Many school swimming carnivals are held at Memorial. The pool is utilised by various local schools and the Mackay Cyclones Swimming Squad train there mornings and afternoons six days per week. Aqua Aerobics classes are a very popular attraction at the Memorial. Year round, you will find lap swimmers, masters swimmers, water polo players, triathletes, as well as the disabled, enjoying the convenience of this city pool which is heated during the winter months.