A busy start to summer at Jigalong Pool

13 January 2022

Aboriginal children enjoying  a party at Jigalong PoolIt was a super busy end to 2021 at our Jigalong Remote Aboriginal Swimming Pool as the local kids finished off their school year with in-term swimming lessons, and the school holidays started with a whole lot of pool fun!

Jigalong is a remote Aboriginal community of around 333 people located in WA’s Pilbara region. It’s approximately 165 kilometres east Newman on the western edge of the Little Sandy Desert. The traditional owners of the land are the Martu people.

The end of year in-term swimming lessons saw children learn a range of vital swimming and water safety skills, getting them ready to enjoy water fun over the summer holidays. Some bad weather during that time kept the kids out of the pool, but they didn’t miss out on learning, as those sessions were replaced with some resuscitation training in the school library! After the lessons were completed certificates were awarded to the children at their school assembly.

Swimming lessons were also held for the youngest members of the community with parents bring their bubs to infant aquatics lessons. Those attending were treated to a special feed on 15th December, with the Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service (PAMS) cooking a barbeque for the participants! Jigalong Pool Manager Deb Gill says she’s been very encouraged by the parents’ engagement with their children at the pool. “It’s been fantastic to see the parents in the water with their young ones - at arm’s length. The weekly toddler program has educated both parents and toddlers with confidence, strength and safety whilst in the main pool.”PAMS volunteers serving food at Jigalong Pool

Once the school term was over the pool became an extremely popular place for the local families to attend to escape the heat, with the Pilbara experiencing a very hot start to summer. “School holidays have been extra busy. We’ve averaged 100 - 120 attending per session. Lots of families and teenagers seeking relief from the constant 40 - 45 degree days” says Deb.

Local boy Shannon helping at the Jigalong PoolChristmas and New Year were fun times for the locals to celebrate at the pool with Deb hosting a Christmas feed at the pool with everyone enjoying party pies, sausage rolls, hot chips, ice blocks and little cakes. Deb says it was a real community effort. “Viv from the local shop heated the food. I also had local boy Shannon assist and he really enjoyed volunteering at the pool. We had 54 people attend the Christmas party which was great to see! Then on New Year’s Eve police and medical staff from PAMS cooked up a sausage sizzle for Community at the pool, with 45 people getting involved in that session. A big thanks to everyone who made these events possible!”

Our remote Aboriginal Swimming Pool program at Jigalong is supported by the Department of Communities, with additional support provided in the Pilbara by Principal Community Partner BHP. You can find out more about the impact the program has in remote parts of WA at the link below.

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