Excitement in Balgo as remote pool opens its gates

24 September 2019

The community has been dreaming of this moment for a number of years, and finally it’s a reality, with residents of Balgo in our state’s far north eagerly enjoying their new community swimming pool last weekend. 

Children lining up along the gate at Balgo pool waiting for opening

The Remote Aboriginal Swimming Pool season is now underway, and it was hectic in Balgo with the pool finally joining the six others managed by Royal Life Saving across WA, in opening its gates to locals.

The weekend kicked off with a traditional Aboriginal ceremony which saw almost 200 people come along with branches to “sweep” the pool clean as part of a spiritual cleansing.

After this, the local Priest blessed the pool by dipping a branch in a Coolamon - a traditional carved wooden bowl - of water and sprinkling it around the pool and buildings.

Once the ceremonies were complete the community’s elders explained the rules to everyone in multiple languages and then it was time to get wet!

Balgo Pool Manager Graeme Pollack says the community thoroughly enjoyed themselves. “Everyone was super excited and happy to be in the cool clear water at last. I was pleasantly surprised to see that most of the kids could at least swim a bit. Parent supervision was for the most part very good.”An image of the Balgo pool at sunset

Balgo is one of Australia’s most remote Aboriginal communities, located in the south-east Kimberley approximately 1780km north-east of Perth and 900km south-southwest of Darwin. The community, with a population of around 460 people, lies on the northern edge of the Great Sandy Desert and on the western edge of the Tanami Desert.

Throughout the season the children and youth in the community will be provided with swimming and water safety education, lifesaving skills and access to all the programs offered at our six other remote aboriginal swimming pools across WA. It’s hoped the “No School, No Pool” policy that is in place will see school attendance rise from its current level of around 40-60% as it has in the other communities that are part of the program.

The Remote Aboriginal Swimming Pools, funded by the Department of Communities, with additional contributions from BHP, are not just about being physically active they are a place where educational, health, well-being and social cohesion outcomes are achieved. Find out more about the impact our Remote Aboriginal Swimming Pools are making across WA at the link below.

Explore more button