Discovery of Claremont swimming baths pylons makes council consider exhibition

Excavations have dug up Claremont swimming bath pylons now in the care of Claremont Museum co-ordinator Jan Offermann.  Picture: Andrew Ritchie.
Discovery of Claremont swimming baths pylons makes council consider exhibition
Excavations have dug up Claremont swimming bath pylons now in the care of Claremont Museum co-ordinator Jan Offermann. Picture: Andrew Ritchie.

DISCOVERY of wooden pylons from the former Claremont swimming baths has led the town’s museum to contemplate an exhibit about the popular facility, where many learnt to swim on the Swan River between 1902 and 1972.

“They are the only artefacts we have from the baths, and before them we had nothing for a display,” Freshwater Bay Museum co-ordinator Jan Offermann said.

The two, 2.1m-long pylons were uncovered during car park works near Chester Road last month, and are thought to have been used as infill in 1936.

The timber pylons are now kept in the museum’s gardens under hessian wraps to keep damp and prevent rotting.

“Each day they are watered to keep them wet,” Ms Offermann said.

The pylons have been examined and photographed for the museum’s archives, until a decision on their most viable use is decided by the council.

Mayor Jock Barker said their full conservation and permanent storage would cost $25,000, and drying out the waterlogged timber would cause it to lose up to 70 per cent of its mass, making the pylons unsuitable for use as park benches or bollards.

“Another option is to undergo a fungal treatment and allow the pylons to dry slowly and naturally, and this will allow them to be incorporated into a public art work which could represent the significant role the baths played in the Claremont community,” Mr Barker said.

A decision is expected in coming months.

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