Appendix Nine: An Account of the Opening of the Junction Park Pool (5 Febuary 1910)

The first swimming pool in conjunction with Queensland State schools was opened under the happiest auspices by the Minister for Public Instruction (Hon. W. H. Barnes) at Junction Park on Saturday. The Minister was accompanied by Mrs. Barnes, Mr. J. D. Story (Under-Secretary), Mr. R. H. Roe (Inspector-General), and Inspector and Mrs. Shirley. Seated also on the dais were Mr. J. J. Dempsey (head master of the school), Mrs. Dempsey, and the following members of the committee : Messrs. Down (secretary), W. R. Juster, P. Marshall, Wadley, G. A. Bayard, Mesdames Down, Juster, Marshall, Wadley, and Bayard. Apologies were received from Alderman J. Allen, Rev. W. Little, Mr. A. Midson, and others. After dainty afternoon tea was served, an inspection of the swimming pool was made by the Minister and party, and a number of speeches were delivered.

The Minister expressed his pleasure at being asked to perform so interesting a ceremony. He regretted exceedingly the unavoidable absence of the chairman of the school committee (Hon. D. F. Denham), who asked the Minister to convey his best wishes and deep regret. He noticed that this was the majority day of the school under the present head master, and in looking over figures he noted the wonderful progress of the school. There was a good enrolment of 700 and a magnificent average attendance of 645. This showed that the head master was heart and soul in the progress of the school, and also reflected credit on teachers, parents, and scholars. He also noticed that a former pupil had designed the pool, and an energetic committee of practical men had supervised its erection. He noticed also with pleasure that provision had been made to keep the baths free from anything objectionable [sic]; and every swimmer must have a shower bath before entering the pool. Mr. Barnes also paid a compliment to the lady helpers, and said he always recognised their work, even in an election campaign. The wife of the head master took the initiative, and it was a case of all pulling together. This was the completion of a long cherished scheme of Mr. Dempsey's, and he congratulated every one [sic] on its success.

At this juncture Master Harrison, in a brief speech, proferred [sic] a request to the Minister that a whole or part holiday should be granted to the school today in commemoration of its majority and the opening of the pool. This was granted.

Mr. Story said that, as president of the State School Swimming Association, he was pleased to join in the general rejoicings at the opening of the swimming pool. As the Under Secretary, he had some knowledge of the efforts of the committee. He would testify that they had an energetic committee and an energetic head master. The department had not contributed one penny towards the swimming pool, but it had contributed one half of the cost of a new playsheds, and he must add that he never saw a playshed put to more admirable use. It was usual for the committees to contribute only one fifth of the cost of playsheds. He hoped children would be taught the means to restore the apparently drowned. He considered swimming pool training grounds for the navy and would be of great service in this connection, and he hoped that soon the ABC in swimming would be taught in all State schools. The number of children taught last year by the State was 300 boys and 100 girls, and this he considered an excellent start.

Mr. R. H. Roe (Inspector-General) added his congratulations to those of the Minister and the Under Secretary, and said he regarded it as a magnificent portion of school work. Inspector Shirley also expressed his appreciation of the work accomplished, both in the school and in the grounds. In the latter connection he said that Mr, Dempsey's example had a beneficial effect on the district. Mr. J. J. Dempsey, head master of the school, acknowledged his appreciation of all the kind things said of him, and his indebtedness to all those who had helped towards the realisation of his long cherished scheme. It was an object-lesson in cooperation -- committee, teachers, and parents. He paid a tribute to the Hon. D. F. Denham (chairman of the school committee), to Mr. Stephens, the first chairman, and to Mr. Joseph Allen. He said every pupil would be taught to swim and how to save life. The pool, he continued, was an imitation of the one in the Y.M.C.A. Building. The funds were raised in one year. Though slightly over the amount available had been spent, he was sure the small debt would be liquidated in a month.

A vote of thanks was passed with acclamation to the Minister, the Under Secretary, and other visitors, and suitably acknowledged.

Those present included Miss Denham. Mr. and Mrs. J. S. Kerr, Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Jones, Mr. and Mrs. W. Bevington, Mr. and Airs. Briggs, Mr. and Mrs. Bradshaw, Mr. and Mrs. Jas. Wilson. Mr. and Mrs. G. Simpson, Mr. and Mrs. G. K. Scabrook, Mr. and Mrs. B. G. Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Round, Mr. A. E. Round, Mr. and Mrs. Cosgrove, Mr. and Mrs. Dawson, Alderman and Mrs. Burke, Mr. and Mrs. Robson, Lieutenant and Mrs. Blackborough, Mr. and Mrs. Jas. Law, Mrs. Bentley, Mr. and Mrs. Lather, Mrs. And Miss Kirkland, Misses Stephens, Wilkins, Halstead, and Smith.

The pool is 43ft. Long by 16ft. Wide, with a maximum depth of water varying from 30in. to 50in.when full. It is a concrete structure, which has been faithfully built by Messrs. Wells and Bennett, of Woolloongabba. The cost was £175. There are shower baths, a convenient dressing room, and sanitary conveniences. The waste water will be used for irrigating the extensive garden plots which are to be laid down in the girls' playground, and in thoroughly flushing the school drains at least once a week.[1]


[1] The Brisbane Courier. Monday 7 February 1910, p. 5.