Fonty's Pool

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Fonty's Pool is a historic freshwater swimming pool near Manjimup, Western Australia. It is registered with the National Trust of Australia as an area of heritage significance.[1]


Creation of the pool[edit]

Italian Archimede "Archie" Fontanini arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia in 1904.[2] He worked for a timber sawmill at Greenbushes for three years, then decided to move near Bridgetown to become a farmer.[2] Fontanini bought 460 acres (1.9 km2) of land in what was known locally as "Archie's Oven Gulley" in 1907.[2] He cleared the land and planted and harvested apples and various vegetables.[2] The water in the front of the house was used to grow heavy crops, and Fontanini decided to rest the land by damming the stream with a large log and earth.[2] He believed this would settle the silt in the water and improve the land's fertility.[2]

Fontanini and his wife had five children, who swam regularly in the dam he created.[2] The dam became popular with other children and adults as the district of Manjimup and timber town of Deanmill expanded.[2] There was no public pool in Manjimup, and Fontanini was encouraged to keep the dam and charge an entry fee.[2] This he did, and he constructed facilities, cemented the dam walls and floor and developed the surrounding gardens with little mechanical assistance.[2]

Open to the public[edit]

Fonty's Pool in 1950.

The pool was officially opened to the public in 1925.[2] On Australia Day, 1947, a log chop was held as part of an Australia Day Sports carnival.[2] This was held annually for eleven years.[2]

In 1950, Fontanini retired from farming to work full-time on managing the pool and gardens.[2] Fonty's Pool received thousands of visitors each year, and the swimming lessons were very popular.[2] Fontanini was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire and received a Queen's honour for his contribution to the community and tourist industry in 1970.[2]

Fontanini closed the pool to the public in 1973, because the management burden was too great.[2] Community support saw the pool reopened in 1979 with the Australia Day Log Chops and Swimming Carnival, in celebration of Western Australia's 150th anniversary.[2] Some 12,000 people attended the carnival.[3] Fontanini was present at the celebration. He died in 1982.[2]


Public liability insurance issues led to the closure of Fonty's Pool in 2005, when its insurance policy was revoked.[4] The Fontanini family sold the farm shortly afterwards. The new owners, with assistance from the National Trust of Australia, reopened the pool with a 300-metre fence around the perimeter to meet insurance requirements.[4]

The Shire of Manjimup celebrated its centenary on Australia Day 2008 with a "Back to Fonty's" event.[5] The celebration included swimming races, a bathtub race and a log chop competition.[5]

Part of Fontanini's original farm now houses a winery called Fonty's Pool Wines, which is adjacent to the pool on Seven Day Road.[6] The 330 hectare winery, established in 1989, also produces avocados and truffles.[6]

Fonty's Pool holds 18 million litres of water, with a winter flow rate of 44,000 litres per hour.[2] The pool covers nearly one acre.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Heritage Council of Western Australia : Year of the Built Environment 2004". Archived from the original on 15 June 2005. Retrieved 2007-12-31. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "History of Fonty's Pool" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-08-29. Retrieved 2007-12-31. 
  3. ^ Olsen, Graeme. "South West Life – Fonty's Pool". Archived from the original on 19 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-31. 
  4. ^ a b "Fonty's Pool". Archived from the original on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-31. 
  5. ^ a b "Historic pool dives back into festivities". The West Australian. 25 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  6. ^ a b "Margaret River Regional Wine Centre". Archived from the original on 2004-12-09. Retrieved 2007-12-31. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°17′24″S 116°04′08″E / 34.290°S 116.069°E / -34.290; 116.069