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A Tale of Two Pools…. Phillip v. Dickson

By grunge_hippy - 16 January 2011 26

As it was the first sunny day in a while, and the kiddlies have been driving me a bit batty, two invitations to go swimming couldn’t be ignored.  I enjoy an outdoor pool (despite the having to slap on the sunscreen on squirming children) than the noisy echo filled and swampy watered indoor pools.  Outdoor pools have that shimmer and sparkle that makes it inviting, rather than the stiffling chlorine drenched atmosphere of the indoor variety.  So an invite to Phillip for the morning and Dickson in the arvo was just the ticket.

Firstly, to Phillip Pool in the morning.  I used to live at Phillip Pool as a child.  It was my choice of pool, living in tuggers in the 80’s, before the big indoor pool opened up and if I wanted to avoid the tit and ball soup that was Erindale I would catch the bus to Phillip.  Nothing has changed (accept the price) and its like stepping back in time.  In fact, I think the man at the front was the same lifeguard we used to oggle in our teens in his speedos and lack of shirt.  Now, with myself, a 5 year old and a 1 year old… $15.  Now, I can get that prices rise.  I get that.  I get that pools are expensive to run….But to charge $4.50 for an infant who barely paddles and $6.00 for an adult who isn’t swimming is a bit steep.  The pool has not had an upgrade/facelift EVER, it still has the same pinnies in the canteen that were there 25 years ago.  Nearly every other pool in Canberra has had a facelift except Phillip.  It was also very quiet.  A few lap swimmers, a couple of parents with kiddies having a splash but very quiet considering it was getting warmer by the time we left at 12.

Now, for Dickson.  Firstly, the place is PACKED.  yes, it was later in a hot day, but it was very busy.   An another selling point… no charge for the 1 year old.  So including hubby who came this time as well, $14. Friends who invited us, family of 5, $20 family pass.   Win.

The crowds filled me with a kind of dread, thinking its going to be crazy to even get into the pool but there is so much going on, that not everyone is in the pool.  There’s the new (I gather) water play park which was cool for the kids, there was the baby pool, the middle sized pool and the big pool.  While it has the same number of pools as Phillip, they are all under shade sails in some shape or form.   Another bonus, much more places to sit in the shade, as I stupidly got burnt at Phillip in the morning and needed some respite from the sun.  Bands, sausage sizzles, zumba lessons, jugglers, and a red man in a full body lyrca suit running around kept the kids amused.  I even spotted Johnboy there, thankfully without speedos…  I remained anonymous and incognito.  🙂

Despite Dickson being a tad far away for us, I would definitely go again.  Phillip could learn a few things about getting the crowds in.

So discuss dear rioters, what is your favourite pool in Canberra and why?

[ED – Worth noting that Dickson Pool was running it’s Aquaculture Nights program every Saturday night through summer.]

What’s Your opinion?


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26 Responses to
A Tale of Two Pools…. Phillip v. Dickson
dtc 9:24 am 17 Jan 11

gospeedygo said :

I haven’t been to Dickson in a while but I hope they still have the great canteen reminiscent of before schools got wrapped up in the health food BS.

Yep, ice creams, pies and lollies is about all you can buy, along with flavoured milk.

Dickson is by far (IMHO) the best family pool, in particular because the kids can find a pool of a suitable depth. Parking can be a pain, although if the pool and shopping centre car parks are all full, you can usually park on the road near where the observatory used to be (but with a 5 min hike to the pool).

Civic also has a kiddies pool, although sometimes it is filled with duck sh#t; but for laps I think Civic is the best bet. Dickson can be really pleasant for laps on the right day, and completely miserable on other days.

gospeedygo 6:44 am 17 Jan 11

I haven’t been to Dickson in a while but I hope they still have the great canteen reminiscent of before schools got wrapped up in the health food BS.

grunge_hippy 9:50 pm 16 Jan 11

John Moulis said :

Phillip Pool is a disgrace. Run down, overpriced and very much playing second fiddle to the ice skating facility. No wonder the pool is always deserted. The boss of Southern Cross Health Club has tried repeatedly to take it over in order to upgrade it and offer concessions to gym members but has been repeatedly knocked back. It’s a pity because I have to travel to Tuggers every morning to do the swimming component of my gym and fitness training.

funny you say that, as we were leaving, the (i assume) owner was showing around some people, and from impressions it looked like they were showing them around akin to a prospective buyer… perhaps he is finally selling it?

grunge_hippy 9:44 pm 16 Jan 11

To answer your question s-s-a….She was arms reach the whole time, with me knee deep in the baby pool and my friend taking her in the other pool for a spell. The 5 year old was also just paddling in the baby pool and in the bigger pool again with my friend. I just didnt like the idea of swimming at 10am!! I did swim at Dicko though.

oh, and to clarify, the family pass was only $17 at dicko, not $20 as I stated. even better.

taninaus 6:57 pm 16 Jan 11

Key difference – Phillip is privately owned (used to be a bunch of Sydney doctors – may still be) and Dickson is Government owned with a contractor in place. The ice rink is what keeps Phillip going, I don”t think they would even turn a profit at the pool and that is probably why they don’t care.

From what I have heard I belive John R is still there – he would be the ‘then’ hunky lifeguard in the 1980’s – we all age in 30 years!

While the government might help Dickson out with infrastructure Phillip has to pay for it all themselves – and the Government probably put some cap/guidance on entry fees where Phillip is in the free market.

As much as I loved frequenting the outdoor pools in my youth, the indoor ones are my choice as you don’t have the sunburn problems. I love the vibe of Dickson and the guys running it are certainly bent on creating a great sense of community – now all we need is someone like that on the southside.

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd 5:27 pm 16 Jan 11

went to dickson for the first time in my life in the holidays. took the kids and neices and it was brilliant. other side of town but well worth the trip. only problem was the parking.

damien haas 2:45 pm 16 Jan 11

25 yr old pinball machines ? Cool.

d1nny 1:23 pm 16 Jan 11

The Dickson Pool has AquaCulture nights every Saturday through January. Yesterday was a jazz bad, next Saturday 22nd Jan is a Rock Band. Take a picnic dinner and relax in the Shade.

miz 12:33 pm 16 Jan 11

Phillip was a fantastic pool in my teen years, before they built over the (what was then) extensive family area (shade trees/grass) to put in the ice skating rink. We were there practically all summer hols. I was, and remain, extremely disappointed that they were permitted to put that ugly shed up all those years ago.

Sorry to hear that the pool facility itself is not only run down, but also expensive.

Deref 12:32 pm 16 Jan 11

It’s been a few years since my kids were young enough to have to take to the pool, but I have fond memories of taking them to Dickson. It was always delightful.

Brianna 12:10 pm 16 Jan 11

I love Dickson pool. Many hot summer days have been spent there in the shade of the huge trees. Relaxing in the shade when you have older kids who are quite capable of looking after themselves is a wonderful way to spend the day. It can be 40 Celsius at home but in the shade at Dickson pool, it’s a very comfortable temperature. Cold roast chicken, salads, bread buns, sunblock, Rid, and the sounds of summer. The perfect summer day.

farnarkler 11:46 am 16 Jan 11

I can’t comment on Phillip but Dickson is my pool of choice. $5 isn’t over the top and you don’t have to pay to put your gear in a locker.

John Moulis 11:36 am 16 Jan 11

Phillip Pool is a disgrace. Run down, overpriced and very much playing second fiddle to the ice skating facility. No wonder the pool is always deserted. The boss of Southern Cross Health Club has tried repeatedly to take it over in order to upgrade it and offer concessions to gym members but has been repeatedly knocked back. It’s a pity because I have to travel to Tuggers every morning to do the swimming component of my gym and fitness training.

s-s-a 10:40 am 16 Jan 11

Phillip is my local, however my shadow will never darken their doorstep again, for much the same reasons as you alluded to. Several years ago I turned up there with an under 1yo and concession card for myself, and when I found out how much entry was we went back to the car and drove to Manuka.

Sorry to be pedantic though, but if you are entering the pool as sole adult with a 5yo and 1yo then you WILL be swimming because the new “Keep Watch” regulations dictate that your 1yo should never be beyond arm’s reach.

I also wonder how “Keep Watch” applies at Big Splash where there are several slides for littlies where parents are NOT allowed on the slide, therefore I’ve had to escort a 4yo to the top and get them to wait until I was back at the bottom before they slid down. Thankfully said 4yo is nearly 7y so I don’t have to try and get my brain around those logistics ever again.

Golden-Alpine 10:05 am 16 Jan 11

We have been to Dickson twice this summer, parking the first time was a nightmare but the second time we scored a spot right out the front. We took our one year old and she really enjoyed the little baby pool where she could crawl around and splash happily. Dickson does like it has developed to accommodate all sorts of people.

A review on Jamo would be interesting as that used to be where we hung out as kids.

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