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Byron Shire
February 28, 2021

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[author]Catherine Baker[/author]

When the ‘Mullumbimby Baths’ were officially opened in 1967, the then NSW minister for public works said that no other ‘baths’ in the state had been built so entirely by volunteers. He paid tribute to all the tradesmen, parents, teachers and grandparents of the Brunswick district for helping to make such an ambitious learn-to-swim-facility available.

At the end of a lengthy campaign, the Mullumbimby Baths Committee was able to hand over the $60,000 pool debt free to Mullumbimby Municipal Council in 1971.

Several years later when the pool’s filtration plant started to break down, volunteers once again began looking into the idea to extend the pool to an Olympic 50-metre facility.

Fundraising began in 1984, and the community responded. By 1992 the Mullumbimby Pool Extension Fund Committee had raised $100,000 selling raffle tickets and suchlike.

The state government matched that sum dollar for dollar. Although the Byron Shire Council confirmed its commitment to enlarge the pool at this time, there were still four years to go and a number of hurdles to clear.

But the fundraisers never let up, increasing the community contribution to our current Olympic pool to $180,000.

Not bad indeed, for a town the size of Mullumbimby.

However, that’s not the end of the story. As in any authentic community effort, the story doesn’t just stop. It evolves.

So – now we have this sparkling facility, officially opened in 1996. The next question is: Can the pool go solar heated?

With it closed for four months every year, this valuable asset is underutilised.

Thankfully the current crop of volunteers continuing the community tradition couldn’t agree more. The Friends For Heating Mullum Pool, Inc (FFHMP) formed in May 2010 and have actively lobbied for such a facility.

The FFHMP has been given an estimate of $600,000 for a solar heat-pump system that will feed electricity back into the grid. To this end, while looking into a number of possibilities such as grants and corporate funding, the FFHMP with Mullum pool is holding a swim-a-thon at the pool on Saturday November 19.

Swim-a-thon on November 19

Anyone can participate either in a team or as an individual. The Lions Club is doing the BBQ, and the FFHMP would be happy to see any of those volunteers from the pool’s earlier days joining in.

For more information on the swim-a-thon, and registration and sponsorship forms, enquire at the pool or visit www.friendsforheatingmullumpool.com.au.

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