Cottesloe is Perth’s iconic surf beach. A lone pylon is all that now remains of an unsuccesful 1930s attempt to create a shark-proof pool at Cottesloe. Since 2000, there has been much discussion about developing an ocean pool at Cottesloe.
The relevant local government body – Town of Cottesloe
First official committee meeting of the Cottesloe Surf life Saving Club.
A ratepayer wrote to the Cottesloe Municipal Council proposing that a syndicate be permitted to construct a swimming pool at Cottesloe Beach. Council deferred consideration of the matter until more detailed information was available
Hot sea baths were being installed at the bathing pavilion at Cottesloe Beach
Mayor of Cottesloe (Mr. J. Black) was confident that ‘confident that Cottesloe will always be the leading watering place-of the State’. Council plans for development of the beach included construction of ‘a shark-proof swimming pool illuminated for night swimming’. The construction of this pool involved ‘building big concrete piers to carry the cables on which the shark-proof netting will be hung’ and installation of springboards and floodlights.
Several attempts were made to build the concrete pylons to carry shark-proof netting
Work on the proposed reconstruction of the jetty and on the construction of a shark-proof swimming pool was then suspended pending a Public Works Department report on the condition of the jetty.
After receiving a letter from the proprietors of the rights for ‘scoota boats,’ shallow draft boat* driven by electricity ‘which have been introduced as a beach novelty in other States’, Council decided to spend 300 pounds constructing a concrete pool and to lease the site to that company at an annual rental of £50 for a term of three years, provided the company carried out all other necessary work. Council had been advised that the scoota-boat pool at Manly in Sydney was ‘probably the best patronised of the beach attractions there.’ And that “ No beach in the Eastern States was considered complete without one of these pools’.
April saw the official opening of the scoota-boat pool at Cottesloe. The scoota-boats were wooden boat that seated two people, and were fitted with large pneumatic bumpers. As their pool contained only about two feet of water, it was impossible for the boats to overturn.
By May 1935, expenditure on the shark-proof pool amounted to 1,120 pounds and the pool was expected to be finished by Christmas 1935.
Work on the shark-proof pool continued, but Council decided that delays in obtaining the shark nets meant they could not be installed them until the 1936/37 beach season. Estimated total cost of the pool was 1,650 pounds.
In June, heavy seas severely damaged the shark-proof pool still under construction
Cottesloe’s pylon was all that remained of the unsuccessful attempt to create that shark-proof swimming pool off Cottesloe Beach, but the scoota-boat pool was proving a big visitor attraction.
Cottesloe’s beach pool was closed on health grounds.
After Ken Crew was killed by a shark while swimming metres from the shore at North Cottesloe Beach and in full view of many beachgoers, there was growing interest in a beach pool for Cottesloe. The Cottesloe Beach Pool Committee formed.
Council was presented with a petition asking that a shark-proof pool be built at Cottesloe Beach.
Storms knocked the Cottesloe pylon off its base. Cottesloe Town Council vowed to retrieve or replace the pylon regarded as a significant historic monument.
Some 18 months of work resulted in a concept plan for an ocean pool at Cottesloe that drew inspiration from the popularity of the ocean pools in Australia’s Eastern States and overseas. Private funding for the pool was being explored and there were hopes that the pool would open in 2013.
In 2012, Bryn Martin was killed by a shark when swimming towards a buoy about 350 metres off Cottesloe Beach.
A seven-week period when three fatal shark attacks occurred in Western Australia led the WA Labor party to propose construction of ocean pools at Albany, Cottesloe and one of Perth’s more northern beaches. Shadow Fisheries minister, Jon Ford, said that if the Australian Labor Party won the next State election, it would consider the Cottesloe beach pool committee’s proposal for a 4-lane, 33-metre seawater pool.
Lack of council support was frustrating people pushing for the construction of an ocean pool at Cottesloe. Public feedback had shown a preference for a pool similar to Sydney’s ocean pools and a 50-metre pool, rather than a 33-metre pool. There were concerns about construction matters, pool access for people with disabilities, weak tides, seaweed buildups and rising sea levels.
The ocean pool enthusiasts had offered to raise funds for the pool’s construction and operation, but the idea had not been formally presented to Council and several sites were still under consideration. Council saw a need for further studies, consultations and State government approval.
While the Western Australia government was ‘happy to talk’ about the construction of ocean pools. the state’s Opposition leader, Mark McGowan, promised in 2012 that if the Australian Labor Party won the next state election, it would spend ten to fifteen million dollars constructing ocean pools at Albany, Cottesloe and another site in Perth.
The Liberal Party/National Party coalition retained government after Western Australia’s 2013 state election
A public meeting to discuss the proposed plans for an Ocean Pool for Cottesloe was held in May 2014. By then, Tom Locke had spent 12 years leading the push for an ocean pool at Cottesloe.
Campaigning for creation of an ocean pool at Cottesloe Beach continued. On 28 September, The West Australian reported on the ‘New push for ocean pool at Cottesloe’.
No ocean pool has as yet been constructed at Cottesloe.