Swimming is one of summer's pleasures. Long before the development of formal swimming pools, people swam in creeks, lakes and at waterfalls. Lake Canobolas, Junction Reefs and Ophir were popular spots in the Orange district for a swim and a picnic. Even farm dams, with their deliciously muddy bottoms, provided a welcome respite from the summer heat. Once houses had access to piped water, children enjoyed summer fun with sprinklers, hoses, wading pools and water pistols.
The first unofficial pool in Orange was in James Cox's brick pit in Summer Street, a murky pond where dead animals were occasionally found. The Blackman's Swamp watercourse was the natural spot for the first Council swimming pool, which opened in 1924 on swampy land behind what is now the Gallery and Library. When North Sydney Swimming Club gave a demonstration of life saving, regulations stipulated neck-to-knee swimming costumes. By the mid 1920s Orange Amateur Swimming Club was established with an initial membership of 50.