Smell the chlorine, taste the hot chips and feel the burning concrete underfoot as you read these stories of Australian childhoods at the pool.
Swimming is a central part of most Australian childhoods. We idealise beaches and surf, but for many kids the local pool – whether it's an ocean, tidal or a chlorinated pool – is where they pass summer days. Pools are places of imagination, daring, belonging, freedom, friendship and romance. For some they are places of hard-core swimming training.
This delightful, nostalgic anthology brings together reflections and recollections about the swimming pools of childhood from a range of Australians of diverse ages and backgrounds, well known and not-so-famous, including Trent Dalton, Leah Purcell, Shane Gould, Bryan Brown and Merrick Watts.
Evocative, funny and sometimes bittersweet, 28 people remember the pools that shaped their childhoods. Everyone who has ever dived into their local Olympic pool, bush waterhole or saltwater baths will want to submerge themselves in this beautiful book.
'A joyful, moving, nostalgic and original take at what it means to be Australian. Dive in!' — Robert Drewe
'These immersive stories remind us that the swimming pool is not just the place we first learn to sink or swim. It's a space of respite and renewal, playtime and pilgrimage, limerence and liminality, community and connection. Dive in – go on – I double dare you.' — Sian Prior
'Crisscrossing the nation, spanning generations and histories, these stories celebrate the joy and freedom of being a body in water. Read it while beside your favourite beach or pool, or read it and be transported there.' — Bernadette Brennan
'These immersive stories remind us that the swimming pool is not just the place we first learn to sink or swim. It's a space of respite and renewal, playtime and pilgrimage, limerence and liminality, community and connection. Dive in – go on - I double dare you'. — Sian Prior, lap swimmer and author of 'Shy: a memoir' (Text Publishing).
'I didn't go to church as a kid but that was my church – that was my sacred space – a pilgrimage to Sandgate swimming pool.' — Trent Dalton
'The Memory Pool is a joyful dive into that paradise of Australian childhood, the local swimming pool. In a series of beautifully recalled stories by well-known Australians, it evokes both the sensory bliss of forgetting self in the sights, smells and feel of the swimming pool, and the communal warmth of sharing long summer days simply hanging about at the pool with family and friends. It's a book for anyone who remembers the sting of chlorine or salt in eyes, the silky feel of water slipping over limbs, and the feel of hot cement under a wet cossie.' — Patti Miller
'How timely is The Memory Pool, an anthology of recollections about swimming and swimming pools?...There are stories by notable Australians that direct the gaze inward, that use the chlorine, hot concrete, icy poles and chips, and all the paraphernalia of summers past to understand teenage loneliness, the need for refuge, sexual beginnings, early injustices and aspirations. This collection passes the tests it sets for itself.' — Phillip Siggins, The Australian