Three years on from launching The Pool at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, we’re thrilled that the ABC have produced a two-part documentary exploring the social, historical and political role that the swimming pool has played within the Australian psyche. Drawing on the narratives woven through The Pool exhibition and book, the documentary is in the excellent hands of Mint Productions, co-written by acclaimed author Christos Tsiolkas, directed by Sally Aitken, and featuring some familiar faces amongst the cast including Tim Ross, Myf Warhust, Tim Flannery and Benjamin Law.

Tune into The Pool on the ABC and iView, with the first part airing on Sunday September 22.

From Mint Productions:

Narrated by Richard Roxburgh, The Pool is a social history documentary series that explores our love affair with pools and how our Australian identity has been shaped by these cobalt-blue bodies of water.

Over two Sunday nights, viewers will be treated to a visual feast as we unpack the story of the pool as our hedonistic playground (episode one) and also as our battleground (episode two) where conflicts over race, sexuality and gender have played out. 

We are the world capital of pools – Australia boasts more than 100 ocean pools, more than 1000 public pools and more than one million backyard pools – per capita, we boast the highest number of backyard pools on Earth. 

The pool is where we splash around as kids, chase Olympic-sized dreams as teens, keep fit as adults and gather as a multicultural community of equals.

Stripped to our budgie smugglers or boardies, bikinis or burqinis, we all have nostalgic memories of the pool – relief from the blistering heat, the sting of chlorine, the terror of the school swim carnival, poolside fashion, bellyflops, bombs and dives.

The pool is also a coveted public space where communities have fought for access and acceptance – from the 1965 Freedom Ride to Moree to the fight to keep public pools open, unlike any other country, our pools play a pivotal part in our lives.

Featuring a diverse cast including Tim Ross, Myf Warhurst, Tim Flannery, Peter FitzSimons, Benjamin Law, Clare Wright, Hannah and Eliza Reilly, among many others, this series tells the surprising and untold story of the swimming pool in Australian culture and identity.

The Pool is a Mint Pictures production for ABC. Principal production investment from Screen Australia and the ABC in association with Create NSW.

Directed by Sally Aitken. Written by Christos Tsiolkas, Sally Aitken and Paul Clarke.