Jeff and Libby Manthey ready for the final days of Gympie's Memorial Pool after working there for more than 20 years.
Jeff and Libby Manthey ready for the final days of Gympie's Memorial Pool after working there for more than 20 years. Renee Albrecht

Guests swim in Gympie pool's memories

NOSTALGIA is in the air for staff and guests as the Gympie Memorial Pool enters its last working week after more than 50 years of service.

Opened after the Second World War, the historic pool has been a fixture in residents' lives and hosted generations of Gympie families.

Libby and Jeff Manthey have spent more than 20 of those years managing it and for them the connection runs deep and is tough to see end.

"A lot of the kids in the club ... we have taught to swim,” Mrs Manthey said.

"Because we've been in town long enough now, we've taught all the participants.

"That will be really hard for me to let go of that.”

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The Mantheys were not the only ones enjoying the final weeks of the pool's storied history.

St Patrick's Primary School hosted their swimming carnival at the pool today, the last carnival that would be held on the site.

St Patrick's principal Susan Geaney said it was something that had not gone unnoticed by the staff.

"I think the staff is finding it a little bit nostalgic,” she said.

Guests were also feeling a tug on the heart about the pool's closing.

"I grew up in Gympie so I used to come here for swimming lessons,” Hannah Collyer said.

"Closing down is very sad but it's exciting because the new pool looks great.”

For the Mantheys, no longer working seven days a week every season will be strange.

"For 30 years we've never had an Easter off,” she said.

Working at the pool for more than two decades, the Mantheys also developed a store of their own memories about the pool.

However those that stood out were not the ones you would expect.

"Cleaning up after floods,” Mrs Manthey laughed, saying what made it memorable was the feeling of family.

"In the family there's lots of young boys that are all about the same age so whenever there was a flood we'd ring them up in the middle of the night and ask, 'Are you coming down?'

"Even though it was a bad time, it was kind of nice.”

The memorial pool also held another personal connection for the pair beside its role in their careers. It was also where their relationship started.

According to Mr Manthey, he saw Libby at a dance and knew who she was through the paper from her swimming but he had never really spoken to her.

That all changed when he happened to meet her on the pool's stairs.

"As I was walking down, she was walking up and all I said to her was, 'Are you going to the dance next Saturday night?'” he said.

"She said yes.”

They also wanted to thank the community for the support over the years and were looking forward to what came next.

"We will miss the pool and miss the interaction with the people and we will certainly stay in Gympie and see what the future is.”

Gympie Times


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