The proposed closure of the Ross Pool by the Northern Midlands Council has caused an outpouring of public objections resulting in a petition signed by every household in the town. The issue has also caught the attention of the Tasmanian government, with some MPs making visits to the pool site. ABC television, which is preparing a program on pool closures in Tasmania, has also taken an interest.

Disputed evidence for Ross Pool closure

Ross pool

Ross Pool, built by members of the community in conjunction with the council, was opened in 1962.

Following the public outcry the council voted at their June meeting to postpone their final decision while they consulted the community.

The council’s stated reason for the closure is the dwindling number of visitors and the $1 million plus cost for an upgrade which could be better spent on the Campbell Town pool 9km away.

Ross Community Sports Club president, Christine Robinson, refutes the cost stated by the council  for the pool upgrade as well as the council’s low figures for pool attendance. Robinson says that during the pool opening from December to March the pool recorded 925 visitors, an average of 18 per day.

She said that there were possible grants available to help with improvements and that the community would look into these.

A proposal – Ross  Pool  and  Heritage  Parkland

Ross resident Jennifer Bolton stands by the sign displaying the proposal for a heritage parkland.

Concerned resident Kim Peart has produced a proposal that, he says, would not only save the pool but would improve visitors’ enjoyment of the area at a time increasing tourism is a major goal for the town. This proposal is reproduced below.

“Should the public land west of the Ross Pool and running over the hill to the Macquarie River, now walked upon by many people who explore the old stables and go to the Uniting Church be declared a heritage parkland and given a name? The Ross Pool would be part of the park, and should a café be added, this would serve visitors to the Ross Bridge and folk who explore the Ross Museum, located through the wall in the Tasmanian Wool Centre.

The old Ross Clinic, which is a public building on the same land as the Ross Pool, could be used as an interpretation centre for the art of the Ross Bridge, and other community uses.

The heritage parklands around the Ross Pool and the Uniting Church directly connect with ten kilometres and 100 acres of unmade public road reserves in Ross, which anyone can walk on now, south along the Macquarie River and all around Ross. The Walk Around Ross could begin at the Ross Bridge and return to the Ross Pool café, if this is added, where folk could also look in on the Ross Museum, and even have a dip in the pool.

In the light of its role in the heritage landscape of Ross, the pool could gain a roof, be beautified and be used all year round, and at night. A car park for the pool would need to be developed off Bridge Street, where the main entrance would be seen. The children’s play area could be relocated to public land above the Ross Pool, and made more interesting.

As the grounds of the Uniting Church are now open to the public, as is the church, these grounds may also be included in the heritage parkland. They would provide views for picnics across the heritage landscape of the Macquarie River and over to the Ross Bridge. Would you like to see this happen? Would you like to help make it happen? What is the best way to secure the long-term future of the Ross Pool.”

Constructed of sandstone, Ross Bridge was built by convict labour in 1836.

Heritage & Landcare in Ross

If there is to be another National Heritage application for the Ross Bridge, the surrounding public lands will need to be improved, and given character. The heritage parklands would be an ideal location for an interpretation installation for the Ross Bridge, along the lines of 42 Degrees South next to the Town Hall.

This map shows the significant amount of public land west of the Ross Pool, which is a park without a name now, and requires for improvements. The Uniting Church grounds are open to the public, and might be included in the development of heritage parklands.