From the nineteenth century into the 1960s, voluntary labour (working bees, perhaps organised by a swimming, surf club or progress association or as a collective effort by groups of residents) created many ocean pools. Sometimes, even a one-man working bee create an ocean pool.
Working bees were a sensible arrangement in communities with ample skills and labour, but little spare money. Working bees also helped create schools, churches, war memorials and homes for returned servicemen. Where pool projects proved to be beyond the scope of working bees, assistance was sought from council or government grants.
Community support for working bee could take the form of:
- donation of materials or tools,
- printing the names of the volunteer workers in the local newspapers,
- newspaper articles urging support for the working bee,
- ladies providing afternoon tea for the male workers, and
- donations of kegs of beer by the local hotel.
Coastal communities are still quick to remind their councils that voluntary labour embodied in the ocean pool gives the community a stake in the management of the pool and grounds for resisting plans to impose charges at the pool or neglect maintenance of the pool.