Laurieton is a town rich in history when it comes to its public pools. One of the earliest pools was built in the 1930s by brothers Albert and Alf Ostler with the assistance of the Eames boys at North Haven. The pool was built with voluntary labour from Ti Tree poles and timber from the Queens Lake area. A second pool was built at Laurieton near the present Dunbogan Bridge.
A private pool was also built in Dunbogan by Mrs Jamieson who also ran the local Dunbogan store. This private pool was built in the 1930s and still exists today within the Dunbogan Reserve (previously known as Jubilee Park) for all to enjoy.
After considerable lobbying and fund raising by the people of Laurieton the current War Memorial Baths were opened on 20 March 1970 by the Hon. W Davis Hughes, Minister for Public Works. Fundraising for the pool was led by locals Roy and Rose Deas back in 1950s and in 1954 a collection /donations were raised for the concrete piers at 5 shillings a pier and another 1 shilling was required if the donor would like the pier inscribed with their name. Fundraising procured enough for a 30-metre pool with provision for expansion in the future. Funding was also acquired through the state government and local council. Initially the pool provided safe swimming for approximately 1700 people within the Camden Haven area.
The Minister, when officiating on the Friday afternoon at the opening of the 'Baths', described their completion as the culmination of some 23 years of intensive local effort. The Minister offered an additional $1000 to assist with the ongoing beautification of the pool surrounds and adjacent reserve: "This fine pool, in which the whole of the area has an interest, commemorates those who laid down their lives in the service of their country. Lasting pleasure, freedom and health - built on these ideals, the Laurieton War Memorial Baths form a most fitting tribute to those who have served and died" , the Minister said.
The land for the Baths was acquired from land owned by the Country Women's Association, with the purchase of additional land from the adjacent road reserve. As a War Memorial Pool, it commemorates those who served and died in the war. The pool is commemorated by the 'Remembrance Torch' in its foyer where it remains today (photo left). The pool and its amenities of the time became a focal point for the future development of Laurieton as a popular tourist destination, as well as serve the local community.
Research by Dale Allen & Mike Dodkin, Camden Haven Historical Society
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