In January this year, a regular swimmer Siobhan Moylan, alleges she was assaulted by a pool attendant for attempting to swim at the pool during high tide.
“It wasn’t that rough for me as I am a confident swimmer. But instead of saying calmly – the conditions are dangerous she [the attendant] hit me,” Ms Moylan told The Sun-Herald.
The incident was reported to police.
In the end, an AGM on March 9, voted 56 to 17, to elect a new management committee.
“Democracy won over the rule of law,” says regular swimmer at the pool, Professor of Law at University of NSW Bronwen Morgan. She will team with Beth Goldblatt, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Technology, Sydney to do a socio-legal study of the case in the next few months.
As long term swimmer Colleen Kelly says a group rallied to draw attention to some of the problems at the pool since 2019. But it was more than that. It was about restoring the spirit of the place.
“As someone who deeply loves the pool and its history of caring for women, I experience the behaviour of this group as a direct contravention to the ethos of the pool, which is meant to be a caring communal place for women’s business. I’m in no doubt past members of the association would find the behaviour of some absolutely abhorrent and shameful,” she wrote in a letter to the AGM.
The pool was named for Rose McIver, whose family ran it until 1922, and this year there are plans to celebrate that centenary.
Already women are returning. This week the new committee intends to approve the back list of about 68 people who were refused membership under the previous regime. They have signed up 37 volunteers in the past two and a half weeks.
Ms Kelly says the new leadership group is already working with the trans community, the Muslim Women’s Association, the Council of Jewish Women and the Swifts netball team to make the pool as welcoming as possible.
“I first came here as a 12-year-old wagging school who was a minute away from suicide,” Ms Kelly told me.
“I’d been expelled from every school and even sent to the Parramatta Girls’ Home. But when I came to this pool a woman called Mrs C welcomed me, and sat me down and wrapped a towel around me and accepted me. For me this is about the people like Mrs C. who are the heart and soul of the pool.”
The Morning Edition newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up here.