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Community Engagement, Media and Research
Your guide to the best swimming holes


 
As an advocate for swimming holes and water safety, I have been involved in a number of community campaigns, including various articles published on this website and in the mainstream media. I have also contributed to research on the recreational value of swimming holes. These contributions are listed below.
Community Campaigns
Here are some of the community campaigns that I have been publically involved in: Leader Newspaper, 12 September 2014. After several drownings at the lake, I believe that a life saving service should be introduced at the lake, similar to the patrols that operate at popular swimming beaches around the country. Such a service would (i) heighten awareness about water safety at the lake, (ii) increase the likelihood of being able to save swimmers who get into difficulty and (iii) provide opportunities for local young people to build self-esteem by getting involved in a community service. If combined with a nippers program, such a service could improve swimming proficiency, water safety awareness and life saving skills, as well as offering a fun, active, social activity for kids in the area. A related article was also published a few days later in the Leader Newspaper on 17 September 2014. I canvassed support for a nippers program in summer 2014/15 and a handful of people expressed interest, but not enough to take this idea further without Parks Victoria support. Parks Victoria has opted instead to improve signage at the lake and increase ranger patrols to warn people about disobeying the signs. Let's hope that's enough to prevent further drownings. Merimbula News Weekly 24 August 2015. In response to safety concerns at Nethercote Falls, the NSW Forestry Commission decided without consultation to close all access to Nethercote Falls permanently. There was an immediate and significant public backlash to the decision to ban access to this much loved swimming spot on the NSW South Coast. My public view was that the Forestry Commission's decision did not appear to consider options to reduce the risks at the site, such as improved signage, safety barriers and road improvements, and failed to recognise the value of the swimming hole as a regional tourist attraction. Until such options have been pursued, the falls should not be closed.
Promoting Swimming Holes in the Mainstream Media
Here are some of my contributions to promoting swimming holes for fun and fitness: I was interviewed on the afternoon show on ABC 774 radio Melbourne by Claire Bowditch. Claire came across the website and was inspired to visit one of the swimming holes with her kids. After the interview callers were invited to share their favourite swimming holes. The program, which aired on 9 February 2016, is available on podcast from the ABC website. I was interviewed as a "swimming hole aficionado" in September 2015 by writer and photographer Jennifer Pinkerton for her article on swimming holes in the Northern Territory. The article was published in Virgin Australia's in-flight magazine in January 2016. This was an article about swimming holes that was written for a summer feature in The Age newspaper in Melbourne on 29 December 2004. This was shortly after the publication of the first edition of the Guide to Freshwater Swimming Holes in Victoria.
Photography Sales and Media Support
For anyone in the media wanting to draw upon my work, please contact me beforehand via the feedback form. Images from my website can be made available for a fee of AUD$975, although reduced fees can be negotiated in certain circumstances, such as for registered charities.
Research and Industry
I have provided assistance to university researchers, conducted my own research, and provided support to industry on swimming holes. In 2015, I assisted a Monash University PhD candidate with estimates of swimming visitor numbers for the Yarra River. This information was a first order estimate, which helped to better target visitor surveys by the student. The aim of the PhD thesis was to better understand recreational uses of the Yarra River. - In 2015 I provided advice to a film and television location scout about potential locations for an upcoming mini-series for ABC television.
- In 2015 I provided advice to the Horsham Visitor Information Centre about facilities at Taylors Lake.
Online Articles
Here is a list of online articles that I have prepared about swimming holes:
- Melbourne's Best Swimming Hole
- Melbourne's Top Two Swimming Spots
- Three Spectacular Outdoor Swims in and around Melbourne
- Four Secret Swimming Holes in and around Melbourne
- Melbourne's Best Swimming Holes
- The Best Swimming Holes Near Melbourne
- The Best Swimming Holes in The Grampians
- The Best Swimming Holes in Darwin
- The Best Swimming Holes in The Otways

© Brad Neal 2017. All rights reserved.