Before air conditioning or backyard pools were common in Australia’s private homes, night bathing at public pools was a very popular activity on hot, humid summer nights.
Fear of sharks and rips limited the appeal of night surfing at the beaches, as lifesavers and lifeguards were only expected to patrol even the most popular surf beaches in daylight hours.
Electric light enabled night swimming, night competitions and night-time carnivals at the ocean pools and helped lifesavers get all the swim training they needed. Regular pool patrons were often stunned by the beauty of the illuminated ocean pools and commended the ‘artistic success’ of night carnivals.
Some purists nevertheless still feel that the pleasure of swimming in an unlit ocean baths at night is hard to beat. It’s a good time and place for skinnydipping.