Thames & Hudson
75 pools across Australia for saltwater swimmers
Travel along the coast with this beautiful guide to ocean pools – stunning spaces to exercise, relax, recuperate and socialise.
Fly along Australia’s rocky surf coasts and you’ll occasionally see brilliant beads of blue cut into the rock platforms. These humble-yet-treasured saltwater sanctuaries for humans and marine life are what we call ocean pools.
This book celebrates ocean pools developed by human efforts to enhance nature to provide convenient, accessible pools offering swimmers protection from sharks, rips and the full force of the surf. You’ll find everything from simple rings-of-rocks pools to pools carved out of rock platforms, tidally flushed pools and seawater pools with concrete floors and sides, pumps and marked lanes.
Communal, sustainable, restorative – ocean pools are sites of memory and identity. With stunning photography, a clear guide to each pool’s amenities, accessibility and location, this book provides the perfect inspiration and guide to your ocean pool dreams.
About the author
Marie-Louise McDermott has a MA in public history and a PhD looking at the past, present and future contributions of ocean pools to Australia's surf coasts. She gained a grant from the NSW Heritage Office to develop the NSW Ocean Baths website, launched in 2006. Between 2008 and 2011 she visited and researched ocean pools in New Zealand, South Africa, the UK and Ireland.
As a founder member and the chair of All into Ocean Pools inc (a non-profit organisation that promotes the ongoing use, study and celebration of ocean pools around the world), she promotes and advocates for the ocean pools that mean so much to their communities.
For photographer Chris Chen, the beauty of ocean pools lies in the way the human-made elements blend with the natural landscape. She sees these pools as uniquely spectacular spaces that allow us to connect with the wildness of the ocean within the safety of their edges.
Growing up in Brisbane, Chris discovered her passion for photography in a high school dark room. After graduating, she made Sydney her home where she completed a Visual Arts degree and fell in love with the local beach culture.
Since establishing herself as a commercial photographer over 25 years ago, she has shot a wide range of subjects including travel destinations, cookbooks, interiors, portraits and products for some of the world's most recognised and respected brands and publications.
Photographs by Chris Chen
Published October 2022
222mm x 261cm