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Bankstown Arts Centre is a refurbished cultural facility, now on the site of Bankstown Olympic Pool, previously known as Bankstown Baths which opened in 1933. It was one of the first Olympic Pools in NSW and the training ground for the famous Konrads Kids, John and Ilsa, who rewrote swimming world records as young teenagers in the 1950s and early 1960s. The Konrads, residents of Greenacre, trained for eight years at the Pool under Coach Don Talbot. The Pool closed in 1983.
Bankstown Pool or Baths as they were most commonly known was an iconic community hub, a place where local people met, learnt to swim (the most popular Free learn to swim classes in Sydney) or attended swimming carnivals. Since the Bankstown Arts Centre opened on this site, stories associated with this site have been offered to us by many people coming past, almost on a weekly basis.
On 30 November 2013, Bankstown Arts Centre celebrated the
80 year anniversary of Bankstown Baths with a large scale performance-based event – The Pool: stories of water to remember the past history and contemporary connections to the site. The showcase event involved the re-telling of stories of local people’s experiences at the old Pool through music, dance, installation and performance.
Image: The community swimming at the Bankstown public baths to beat Australia's baking summer heat.
Image: Mayor William Robert Wylie tossing half pennies into Bankstown Pool in what was known as the half penny scramble. Circa 1933
Image: Children are swimming at the Bankstown public baths.
Image: The verve Ensemble performing at the Pool: Stories of waterPhoto credit: Christopher Woe
Image: The World Music Choir performing at the Pool: Stories of waterPhoto credit: Christopher Woe
Image: Australian Olympic gold medallist and Bankstown Arts Centre patron - John Konrads opened the event. John and his sister Ilsa trained at Bankstown Baths under the guidance of swimming coach Don Talbot.Photo credit: Christopher Woe