Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 25, November 1981

By I. Parlane

First note on the Paeroa Borough Council file is a notice by Cr Silcock that he intends to move at meeting to be held on 13 January 1927 that a pool be erected and Council raise a loan from £1500 ($3000). Mr G L Burmester, architect, of Te Aroha, provided plans for the pool in February 1927 with an estimate of £1650, if built on a level section.

The site originally looked at was the unformed portion of Wood Street near the rear of the Church of England. Objections were received to that proposal. Eventually the present site in Princes Street was purchased from Mr L E Cassrels (executor of the Est A Cassrels) for $200. (30 October 1927).

A Loan Poll to raise a loan of £2000 was held on 27 April 1927 and was carried by 292 votes to 89. The loan was to be for 36½ years. Mr Parry Edwards, brother of Mr Edwin Edwards, offered a donation of £50 towards the cost.

Tenders for construction were called in November 1927 and were received as follows.

C Stanley Pratt, Frankton

£1993 plus sand and gravel

Street and Street, Hamilton

£1735 plus excavation

John McKinnon, Hamilton


Chas Robinson, Hamilton


J P Murray, Paeroa


H Bartlett Martin, Hamilton


R W Lowry, Paeroa

£1536 plus sand and gravel

All were considered too high and it was decided to build it with day labour. The final cost amounted to approx. £1600. Quotes for material were called. Winstone Ltd provided a scow load of shingle which was to arrive at Ngahina Wharf on 16 January at 14/6d per yard less 5%. Thames sand was 11/- per yard and cement £5-9-9 per ton f.o.b. Auckland, also less 5%.

Paeroa Hardware Co (Mr D Prime) also put in a quotation for cement at

£4-16-9 per ton in Auckland

4-3 Auckland cartage

1-3 Auckland wharfage

16-0 per ton Boat freight to "Paeroa Wharf"

£5-18-3 [total – E]

John Burns & Co Ltd Auckland quoted for steel

675 yards No 9 B.R.C. Fabric @ 3/- sq yd F.O.B. Auckland

340 yards No 1210 " " @ 1/4 sq yd

2 cwt. ½" mild stell [steel? – E] @ 16/- cwt

1 cwt. No 16 black wire @ 26/6 cwt

Mr E Neil got the job of carting 40 tons of cement from the wharf to the swimming baths site at 4/- per ton. The plastering was done by Mr George Tucker of Paeroa at 3/- per square yard. Work was to be ½ inch thick plaster made of 2 sand to 1 cement and a second coat to be Whangarei silver sand at 1½ to 1. A bit of a battle raged with the neighbours over fencing but the Council finally settled for erecting the fences with the neighbours contributing 1/- per foot. The baths seem to have been opened about the 1 November 1928 with Miss Bessie Farrow appointed as custodian at £2-5-0 per week "on the understanding that your father will assist in the work and duties of the Baths" without further remuneration. The job attracted a number of applicants.

A letter to the Police on 7 November 1928 states "It has been reported to us that men have been seen peeping through or over the fence of the baths during Ladies bathing hours of 3.15 p.m. to 4.15 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The Council would be grateful if you would keep a watchful eye during these hours and prosecute all offenders as a firm hand now will have a lasting effect." Over the years there have been the usual problems of lack of water when the baths had to be emptied regularly for cleaning, in the days prior to the installation of a filter plant. Complaints were received about the state of the water, especially if refilling was carried out when the water supply was affected by heavy rain. It was also believed to produce the largest frogs in the district.

In the early part of 1949 Messrs Geo Hutchinson & Co Ltd of Morrinsville were engaged to drill a test bore to see whether a sufficient supply of tepid water could be located to suit the pool. Previous bores put down at the N.Z. Co-op Dairy Co Ltd in Fraser Street and at the Brewery at the end of Queen Street, had produced tepid water. The well drilling company reported in June 1949 on their findings. The bore was drilled to 240 feet but the best result appeared to come at 190 feet. At 100 ft the temperature of the water was 63oF, at 110 ft 65o, at 130 ft 68o and at 190 ft 70o. At the same time the town supply temperature was 54o. The cost of sinking a 6 inch diameter bore was estimated at £725. The pump and motor cost was £688 and there were further charges for electrical wiring, pipework etc bringing the estimated total cost to something of the order of £1600. As pool temperatures in the summer already reached over 70oF the scheme was abandoned, having cost just over £150 for the test work.

In 1959 the Paeroa Jaycees undertook a public campaign to raise funds for the installation of a filter plant. A great effort was made and the plant was installed in 1960 at a cost in the vicinity of £4000. Because the plastering was showing signs of failing and would not "hold" the paint coats, the Council had the pool coated with a special epoxy product in 1964 and this material was reapplied in the early 1970s. However, even this is now failing and the search has begun again for some economic solution to prolonging the life of the pool.

Since the advent of private home pools, patronage during public hours has dropped off markedly and the main usage now is by schools (between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.) and the swimming club with its early morning training and Tuesday and Thursday evening organised activities. The Royal Life-Saving Society is also quite active.

The impact on patronage of the public pool can be gauged from the following figures:-

In 1961/62 season (just after the filtration system had been installed) the ticket sales were:

Season tickets 131, Individual tickets 9758

In 1976/77: Season tickets 85, Individual tickets 5528

1979/80: Season tickets 65, Individual tickets 3839.