Original Naracoorte Swimming Lake volunteer reflects

A unique swimming lake in Naracoorte was built off the back of many hard-working volunteers more than 50 years ago.

The volunteers gathered in 1958 when they developed a plan to build the pond on the Naracoorte Creek.

They included Ralph Belcher, Laurie Gericke, Tom Guster, Colin Heard and Martin Huntley with their idea being supported by the chamber of commerce and endorsed by Naracoorte Corporation.

The Herald spoke with one of the original volunteers, Colin Heard, who explained why he and the rest of the volunteers decided to build a lake in town in the first place.

"I had two young boys at the time who did not really have anywhere to swim," he said.

"Laurie Gericke came into my shop and I said, 'Laurie, if I can get permission from the council to bulldoze a hole in the creek that we can cement up and turn into a swimming pool, would you do it?', he said, 'yeah, I will supply the bulldozer'."

Mr Heard called the first meeting of supporters to discuss the prospect of having a lake in town with about 50 turning up.

A total of 8000 pounds was donated by the citizens of Naracoorte and District to build the lake.

Tom Guster began construction, designing and building the retaining wall with volunteers' help.

During the work, stock agent Bennett and Fisher, through Ralph Belcher, discounted their supply of cement and reinforcing rods.

Mr Gericke and Mr Guster had firstly bulldozed the few trees that were in the area before carting clay in, eventually rolling it with the bulldozer.

Mr Heard reminisced about he used to constantly see Mr Guster's old truck and cement mixer working away at the site.

"He built the wall and Laurie would come down and push the soil up against the wall," Mr Heard said. "When the wall was finished, he built the cement parts around the top of it."

The volunteers worked hard with Mr Heard explaining that Mr Guster was the heart and soul of the work site as he tackled the project almost every day throughout the six-month construction period.

"It really is a memorial to Tom Guster," Mr Heard said. "It was a good pool once we had finished it - everyone seemed to like it ... everyone backed us in and it really went smoothly."

Basso Bros built the dressing rooms and the light towers which were donated by the district council. In 2004, council laid a new concrete floor.

Naracoorte Lucindale Council is waiting for clarification on what COVID-19 social-distancing measures it needs to enforce to keep swimmers and spectators safe while the lake is in operation this coming season.