History of the PAC

Parramatta Swims

Swimming is a vital part of life in the hot and dry climate of Parramatta. Swimming has always been a way the community rejuvenates, reconnects, and finds joy and freedom in the water.

People have always swum in Parramatta’s rivers, lakes, bath houses and swimming pools. The Dharug  Yura (People) have passed down knowledge about where, when and how to swim safely on Country. Though access to precious freshwater became increasingly restricted as the colony spread, the community desire for swimming remained strong.

The water hole, now known as Little Coogee, in what is now Parramatta Park, was a popular swimming spot, with crowds flocking there for picnics. In 1888, Council opened the Centennial Baths on the site of the Riverside Theatres : “the finest host and cold swimming baths in the colonies.” Later in the 1930s, Lake Parramatta became a popular swimming spot, with many cooling off in its deep waters.

In the 1950s and 1960s, inspired by the hosting of the Melbourne Olympics and the memory of World War II, war memorial pools were established by communities across New South Wales.

The first stage of Parramatta War Memorial Pool was opened by Mayor Mobbs on 24 October 1959. Five thousand people turned up to the opening. This first stage cost £140,000. A teaching pool and wading pool were completed in late 1960 and opened by Olympic swimming champion John Devitt, winner of the 100 metres at the Rome Olympics.

Over the years the Parramatta War Memorial Swimming Centre grew, and in 2009, $10m was spent on a major facelift which included a new ten-lane 50-metre pool, new grandstand, shade structures, security fencing and refurbished building entry, change rooms, kiosk and program room.

Parramatta War Memorial Swimming Centre closed for demolition on 31 March 2017 to make way for the new Parramatta Stadium (CommBank Stadium).

In 2019, a $77 million funding partnership between the NSW Government and Parramatta City Council was announced to build the new Parramatta Aquatic Centre. 
Construction on the new centre began in 2021.