Time for me to catch up on another reprint of my Australia and New Zealand magazine articles; this one appeared, rather ironically, in their winter edition.
Now it is being added to my blog just about a few weeks before we will probably be closing down the pool for the colder months here.
Great timing Bob!
Last week I was whingeing about the ridiculousness of Queenslanders swimming pool fence laws. This article levels the field a bit, because, after all, swimming pools are great fun; it’s just fencing them to comply with the latest rules that’s a bit of a bore.
Anyway, the magazine called this one…
Taking the plunge.
Pool anybody? The sound of those two words in England would probably have you heading off to the public bar of your local pub, searching your pockets for one pound coins, chalking up and spotting the black.
Here in Australia of course, the words have a completely different meaning.
Here, you’d be grabbing your togs, heading to the garden and getting wet. Today, I’ll be answering these questions; is a pool worth having? Are they expensive? And does everyone have one in Australia?
Starting with the last question first, the short answer is no, they don’t. But let me be a little more specific. Nationally, slightly less than one in eight homes has a swimming pool. But the figures vary from state to state in a way that almost perfectly mirrors how hot, or not, that state is.
Northern Territory is easily the leader where about 29% of homes have pools. Queensland is second on 18% and Western Australia third on 15%. For those who want to know, New South Wales is on 12%, South Australia 7%, Victoria 6% and not so hot A.C.T. and Tasmania are down at around 4%.
Whether or not a pool is worth having is a matter of personal choice, but imagine this.
When we moved to Australia back in November 2007, the journey, door-to-door, took about 36 hours. It involved a taxi, a couple of flights and a car trip. We finally touched down at Brisbane around 6:30 AM on a Thursday morning.
By the time we’d cleared customs and made the journey to our final destination, it was nearly 9 o’clock in the morning. One and a half hours later, Elizabeth, our daughter, was in the pool.
On that occasion, she had armbands on. Three months later, our little girl, about a month or so short of her fourth birthday, swam her first width of the pool. Now she swims like a fish!
Here in Queensland, you can generally use your pool any time between September and April. It’s during these times that we can hardly keep Elizabeth out of the swimming pool.
She can be in it four or five times a week, with friends, after school. Or sometimes she’d be round a friend’s house, jumping in their pool! For the amount of time my wife and I spend in the pool, the cost is probably not justified. But with kids, it’s well worth it.
But what is the cost?
Here’s a rough guide. First, there’s the cost of running the electrical pump. This should be on between four and eight hours a day, depending on whether it’s winter or summer. On average, that will cost about $30 a month. Then there is maintenance of the equipment plus chemicals, salt and acid to keep the water in balance. That will run you to about $40, making it about $70 a month all in.
So, in conclusion, a swimming pool is a consideration, not a necessity. But if your kids love swimming, it may well just be a great investment. You can pay almost double that cost each month just for subscription television.
What would you rather your kids do when they get in from school; watch the box or jump in the pool?