In the swim for 30 years

While Melbourne was moving into its first of two lockdowns earlier this year, the distraction of a global pandemic overshadowed the 30th anniversary of Connect Health & Community’s hydrotherapy pool.

Our hydrotherapy pool has been supporting our community's health for 30 years.

Opened in March, 1990 the facility at 2A Gardeners Rd, Bentleigh East was the result of much hard work from across our community to provide an alternative to land-based exercise to those with specific health and fitness issues.

Since its opening, the pool has been the venue for a range of group and personal hydrotherapy sessions, hosted thousands of members of the community as both clients and volunteer helpers.

CEO, Amanda Murphy, said the facility has proven a critical part of Connect Health’s support for the community.

“For more than 45 years we have been working to help keep our community connected to good health.  In the late 80s the local community recognised the need for a pool that would increase the range of health and wellbeing options for our community, and thousands of people pulled together to fulfil this need, whether through planning, fundraising or donations,” she said.

Our hydrotherapy pool will continue supporting our community for many years to come.

“Looking back we are proud of the benefits this facility has provided the community and will continue to provide for many years to come,” she said.

After a long lockdown, hydrotherapy services have now resumed in the pool with session numbers increasing each week.

For information on hydrotherapy sessions at Connect Health & Community call us on 03) 9575 5333.

Looking back

In 1987, a public fundraising appeal was launched for a Southern Regional Community Hydrotherapy Pool, to be located at the East Bentleigh Community Health Centre. 

A deputation from the Health Centre to then health minister, the Hon. David White, resulted in an allocation of $200,000 from the State Government towards the construction costs.

The final cost of construction was $850,000.Work on the pool began in 1989 and the pool was officially opened by new Minister for Health, the Hon. Caroline Hogg, on 29 June, 1990. 

Connect Health & Community’s hydrotherapy pool timeline

Hydrotherapy clients are supported by staff and volunteers.


  • Began using pool therapy for weight-management clients to encourage exercise.
  • Began using Clapperton St pool - but no steps for entry - unsafe.
  • Increased sessions to provide service for clients with arthritis problems.
  • Changed to Paul Sadler Pool and Krongold Pool at Monash University providing easier entry and warmer temperature.
  • Ceased using Krongold pool.
  • Hydrotherapy clients requested purpose-built hydrotherapy pool.


  • Hydrotherapy pool auxiliary formed.


  • 30 September. Public meeting held to establish community support and commitment to the establishing a hydrotherapy pool for the Southern Region.
  • Health Centre Hydrotherapy sub-committee lead by Lillith Collins
  • Fundraising committee established following public meeting, chaired by Cr Doug Lee.


  • 11 April. Official launch of fund raising program.
  • 1987 - 1988 Annual Report

                $630,000 had been pledged to the project in 18 months. Architect documentation being                prepared.


  • Construction commenced.
  • Hydrotherapy Advisory Committee works to develop management, safety strategies for


  • Southern Region Hydrotherapy Pool opens clients, 19 March, 1990.
  • The catalyst to building of a pool came from the determination and dedication of these groups of clients to bring to fruition their vision for a purpose-build hydrotherapy pool.


  • Hydrotherapy Auxiliary contributes $29,800 to pool fund from monthly market stalls, cake stalls, functions, equipment sales etc for the period May 1984 to June 1991 .        
  • Fund raising committee disbands after almost 5 years of fund raising in early 1991.


  • Hydrotherapy Advisory Committee continues with pool management.
  • Hydrotherapy Auxiliary continues its work to supply equipment, plant equipment etc.


The following are excerpts from the Annual Reports of East Bentleigh Community Health Centre officers for the year, 1989-1990:

East Bentleigh Community Health Centre President’s Report

“Another highlight of this year has been the official opening of the Hydrotherapy Pool by the Minister for Health, the Hon. Caroline Hogg, on 27 June, 1990.  Sincere thanks was extended to all those organisations and individuals who have contributed towards the cost of the pool – this has been a mighty community effort.   Coinciding with the official opening was Bentleigh Rotary Club’s presentation of a cheque, which completed their promise of $75,000.  There are still some dollars to be raised, however, and the Board of Management and Fundraising Committee anticipate that this will be realised in the not too distant future.  We are indebted to the hardworking Hydrotherapy Fundraising Committee and express sincere thanks to President, Doug Lee and his committee.  Particular recognition must also be made to the centre’s physiotherapists during the period of construction of the pool.  Margaret Jagger is to be congratulated for ‘holding the fort” during the twelve months leave of absence of senior physiotherapist, Devorah Zmood.  Tribute is paid once again to the Architects, Demain Partnership and their representative, Simon Hangar, for their contribution.”

Moira Dwyer, President – Board of Management, Hydrotherapy Fundraising Committee

“This Committee has worked extremely hard for the past four years to raise funds for an onsite purpose-built hydrotherapy pool.

In March 1990 this year, the fruits of magnificent community efforts were realised with the pool opening to clients on 19 March, 1990.  The official opening by the Minister for Health, Caroline Hogg, followed on 4 June – a befitting occasion expressing the appreciation of all committees, groups and community members whose determined efforts made the pool a reality.

The committee, chaired by Cr. Doug Lee, will continue with their work until funds to complete the payment of the pool are achieved.

The committee said farewell this year to retiring Health Centre Manager, June Calder.  Her commitment to the project, encouragement and support over the past 3.5 years was greatly appreciated.”

Hydrotherapy Auxiliary

“The twelve months from August 1989 have seen some exciting events for our Group, the highlight being the completion of the pool; and our members requiring hydrotherapy treatment have been enjoying the comfort of the heated pool and facilities.  Some of our members were pleased to witness the opening of the pool by the Minister for Health, Hon. Caroline Hogg, on Wednesday, 27 June.

Our contributions to the pool fund this year totalled $3,500, bringing the overall amount since May 1984 to $22,800.  We will continue to work to maintain the pool with equipment etc., and this year have paid for two hair driers installed in the change areas.

Thelma Kleeman, President”

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