Busy days and famous faces at Jigalong remote pool

13 December 2021

The Jigalong Remote Aboriginal Swimming Pool has been very busy this term! Jigalong Program Coordinator Deb Gill, who also teaches swimming and resuscitation courses, has had a full schedule of classes and events at the pool over the last couple of months.

Jigalong is a remote Aboriginal community in the Pilbara, situated 170km east of Newman on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert. The community’s pool is part of the Remote Aboriginal Swimming Pools Project (RASPP) funded by the Department of Communities with contributions from Principal Community Partner BHP.

Deb Gill with kids at the Jigalong PoolThe pool opened for the season on the evening of Thursday 23rd September, the start of the school holidays. “School holiday activities included pancakes, cupcake day, slip ‘n’ slide, the ever-popular inflatable, a new basketball ring, chalk painting and Jenga blocks,” says Deb.

Pool attendance averaged from 150 to 260 per session during the holidays, and Deb has been going non-stop ever since. Term 4 saw the commencement of a variety of swimming programs at the pool including Infant Aquatics, school Swim and Survive lessons, Swim for Fruit sessions and even adult fitness programs such as early morning lap swimming, aqua aerobics, and a boot camp! 

“Infant Aquatics has been a popular program on a Wednesday morning,” said Deb. Jigalong Playgroup mums and toddlers also participated in Heart Beat Club presentations which Deb held over two sessions. “The first was a practical session covering bandaging (which was a lot of fun), bleeding, choking and shock signs. The second session covered CPR with the defib.”

The popular Swim for Fruit program also commenced in Term 4, with 45 kids so far recording their laps on the tally board. “After school we average 15 kids who swim laps and on a good day the daily combined lap total has reached 450 laps. It’s great to see the smiles on their faces when the laps are added to the tally board. And of course, they enjoy the well-earned fruit!”

Jigalong children wearing PFDs as part of a swimming lessonThe pool also held a 10-day program of Swim and Survive lessons for 35 children. “All kids progressed well with their stroke techniques. They enjoyed the sessions of non-contact rescues, PFDs, flippers and water polo skills that were all added to the program for variety. One of the days the weather was not favourable so the kids had an indoor session of resuscitation and a chance to practise CPR on the manikins.”

Deb Gill with Ernie Dingo at the Jigalong PoolIn addition to the swimming programs, the pool has also hosted a variety of community events and afternoon sport activities for the kids. The pool recently hosted a baptism, a Christmas party, and they even had a visit from Ernie Dingo who “popped in for a swim on Sunday 12th December!”

If all of that wasn’t enough, Jigalong was also rocked by a 5.4 magnitude earthquake that hit near Marble Bar on 13th November! The quake was felt in many Pilbara towns including Jigalong, Newman, Tom Price and Karratha.

It’s wonderful to see the Jigalong Pool still going strong after so many years, as one of the first pools constructed for the RASPP program. The pool celebrated its 20th birthday last year, and has provided a whole range of benefits to the community during that time. Learn more at the link below.

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