Dictionary of Sydney

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Mr Jack Healy recalls boyhood swimming rituals in the Georges River, interviewed in 1986

Mr Jack Healy was born in 1908. He was interviewed in 1986 for the 'Looking Back at Liverpool: An Oral History of the Liverpool Region 1900 to 1960.' He recalls the boyhood rituals of learning to swim in the Georges River.

JACK: We used to play football mostly, in the wintertime. And then other days we had off in the weekend, we spent an awful lot of time up the river. Everybody went up the river. In the summer time, of course, we'd swim.

INTERVIEWER: How far up would you go?

JACK: Oh, as far as Campbelltown sometimes.

INTERVIEWER: And how would you get there?

JACK: Either walk or swim. You wouldn't swim all the way but obviously there were deep holes and shallow places, you'd swim across the holes. Just for something to do. You'd start to learn to swim in the 'duck pond' at Casula. Everybody I think learned in the duck pond at Casula. It was a little hole about as big as this. Then when you could swim a bit you graduated. And when you could swim from 'the bend' down there where they are building that park beside the new bridge. When you could swim from there to the weir, well you were ok. Everything was set. You were safe then.

Contributed By
(Excerpt from interview with Mr Jack Healy from the 'Looking back at Liverpool : an oral history of the Liverpool region 1900-1960' conducted in 1986 by Liverpool City Council, editor and project co-ordinator Catherine Johnson ; researchers Angela Imbrosciano, Verica Miiosavijevic, Kathleen Smith.)