The Dome, VIC
Freshwater Swimming Holes in Australia

 
The Kilsyth Centenary Pool, affectionately known as The Dome, is arguably Victoria's best winter lap swimming venue. Outside it can be a bitterly cold and rainy Melbourne day, but if you close your eyes inside The Dome, you can transport yourself to tropical Queensland. The air temperature inside this huge white plastic marquee is positively balmy. Apparently the airtight PVC/polyester bladder that encases the pool needs its own microclimate high pressure system to hold up the roof.

Swimming under the dome at Kilsyth Centenary Pool
When I was a kid this pool was the coldest around and you only went there on really really hot days. It is possibly the depth that made it so much colder, but I do not know for sure. Then one day The Dome came down and life in Kilsyth was never the same again. I also don't know whether sci-fi novelest Stephen King ever visited Kilsyth before publishing "Under The Dome" in 2009, but it would not surprise me if it were a source of inspiration for him.
In addition to the superheated air, the dome echoes with even the quietest private conversations that are amplified as they reverberate around the whole pool. If you stand in the right spot, you can whisper from one side of the pool to the other and still be heard. Lastly there are the early morning and late afternoon shadows of nearby trees and darting birds that come to life on the dome wall like a grotesque puppet show. Put all of these things together and The Dome overwhelms your senses in unexpected ways that is part stifling but genuinely fascinating. The Dome is lit up from the inside with floodlights at night, which changes its mood again.

I am not aware of any other public swimming pool air domes in Australia. The inflatable "Bubble" at Clarence Aquatic Centre in Hobart, which at one time split its seam whilst pepole were inside it, was decommissioned in 2002. Air domes are fantastically warm in winter, but difficult to keep cool in summer. Fortunately the Kilsyth Centenary Pool has a 25m outdoor pool for hot summer days.

Here is a video that I took when visiting the pool. Outside it was a dreary winter's day, but inside you wouldn't even know.

Essential Information Before You Go:
Location: 75 Hawthory Rd, Kilsyth, 36 km east of the Melbourne CBD
Latitude:-37.794840 Longitude:145.312231
Getting there: Drive along Maroondah Hwy to Ringwood then take Mount Dandenong Rd to Hawthory Rd. Bus 689 from Croydon Train Station runs via Hawthory Rd.
Facilities: Heated indoor Olympic pool, indoor rock pool, indoor/outdoor toddler pools, spa (not included in entry fee), indoor learner pool, outdoor 25 m pool, toilets, showers, lawns, picnic tables, playground
Entrance fee: Prices are at the lower end of public pool prices in Melbourne. Exceptional value for money in winter.
Water temperature: Warm
Water clarity: Clear
Under foot: Tiles, concrete
Maximum water depth: Greater than 2 metres
Minimum swimming proficiency required: Beginners
Prohibitions: Normal pool rules apply
Sun shade: Shade in and out of the water
Opening times: Times vary by day, season and section of the pool
Wheelchair access: Yes
Managing authority: Yarra Ranges Council
Nearby attractions: The miniature railway next door, which operates on the 4th Sunday of every month.
Before you head out, make sure to read the swimming safety information.
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the approximate location of the pool car park.
Change of Conditions:
I am not currently aware of any change of conditions reported at this site by the managing authority, or by swimmers on this website. If you are visiting this swimming spot and have any further updates on any change of conditions, let me know via the comment form below.
Comments:
Here is a quick tip from one swimmer who enjoys swimming at The Dome:

"Great for lap swimming, quiet during the week" - Linda from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 29/5/2017

If you would like to leave a comment about this swimming hole, please fill in the comment box below. I'm particularly interested in your experiences after visiting, and any changes in swimming conditions.

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© Brad Neal 2016. All rights reserved. This work is not to be sampled, copied, modified, adapted or reused for commercial purposes without the written consent of the author.