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Crystal Lake Park, Macclesfield

Home > Adelaide > Escape the City | Exhibitions | Parks | Picnic Spots | Walks
by Cecelia Hopkins (subscribe)
Cecelia's articles are illustrated by Allan who enjoys photography. Cecelia is also the author of: "Silver Springtime", "All for Love", "Mystic Evermore" and the new release: "Faith and Love".
Published November 27th 2016
Walk and view sculpture at site of historic swimming pool
Crystal Lake Park is located off Devereux Street, Macclesfield.

Crystal Lake, Macclesfield, old swimming pool
Looking back across Crystal Lake - Photo by Allan

The lake is of historical interest because it was once a popular swimming pool. Although the town of Macclesfield was located close to the River Angas, the townspeople longed for a dedicated swimming hole. According to, a committee was established in 1930 to plan the swimming hole, and a location was chosen.

On "Arbor Day" in 1931, when traditionally tree replanting was performed for the good of the environment, leading citizens planted pine trees around the area where the pool was to be constructed. Some of those trees are still growing there today.

Crystal Lake, Macclesfield, Arbor day pine trees
Row of trees standing today - Photo by Allan

The pool was opened in 1932 with over 400 people attending the opening ceremony. Other festivities included a dinner at the Davenport Arms and a ball. A visitor to the park today can see the remains of the swimming pool. It appears to have been created by building a dam wall along the lower edge of a natural waterway or runoff area. This wall has confined the water and caused it to build up into the "swimming pool" area. It once had a lower ledge to stand upon and jump into the water. As the sides are worn and steep, and original cement steps cracked, I urge caution in walking out on this wall.

Crystal Lake, Macclesfield, old swimming pool
View of old swimming pool - Photo by Allan

The day we visited, recent rains had filled the pool area to overflowing and a small waterfall formed over the weir at the end. There is a sharp drop here. A romantic looking seat is located on the lower bank, and if my shoe had not had a slight heel, I might have climbed down to it, but as the "path" is barely what we used to call a "bunny track" when we were kids, I remained safely on the upper bank.

Crystal Lake, Macclesfield, old swimming pool
Looking down from the wall - Photo by Allan

Crystal lake is no longer crystal clear. I would not jump in there anymore. It has followed the maturation process natural to lakes and waterways. Young lakes are clear and may house a few fish. Older lakes collect nutrients from run-off and grow "algae". (These are small organisms that colour the water.) Fish and other creatures love eating the algae and living in the nutrient rich water until the silt and pollution just gets too much. Over time, the algal cover can decrease sunlight penetration and oxygen circulation in the water. The creatures living in the lake change, and the water becomes less appealing.

Lake maturation is a natural process, but it is hastened by the use of fertilizers and (unfortunately) pesticides in the local area. Organophosphates are a major contributing factor, which is why their use is being minimised. I cannot say what stage this lake has reached without doing a water and creature test on it, but it is no longer "crystal" clear, and you cannot see whether there are sharp sticks and stones in the water, so it is no longer appropriate to swim there.

Crystal Lake Park now forms part of the "Hill sculpture Trail". This is a walking trail which leads from Mount Compass all around the Adelaide hills to Loebethal. Unique sculptures have been placed at points along the trail, and Crystal Lake Park plays a major role in the sculpture trail festivities. A nine-day sculpture symposium is planned at the site for 1- 9 April 2017. This will include a communal picnic (I think bring your own basket), workshops and educational programs for aspiring sculptors and a photographic competition. For more details visit:

Crystal Lake, Macclesfield, sculptures
Sculpture - Photo by Allan
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Why? History, nature, getting out and about
Where: Crystal Lake Park, Macclesfield
Your Comment
Interesting history, Cecelia!
by Elaine (score: 3|8515) 1795 days ago
Thanks Cecilia, a fascinating peek into our history.
by Dave Walsh (score: 4|11307) 1795 days ago
I remember when children stayed in huts just above the pool around 1985 and the pool was used for had a pontoon at one end...I believe it is fed by a natural spring.The area around the pool and the huts a couple of years ago was overgrown with weeds etc.It could be transformed into a nice picnic spot and possibly the swimming lake could be made useable again, if cleaned up and made safe..or perhaps used to sail toy boats in etc.It would also be nice to see a walking trail developed from here along the Angas river to Strathalbyn...but would need approval from property owners no doubt.
by noelp (score: 3|1199) 1793 days ago
Thanks Cecilia - this is an interesting website and article.
Did you know about the Davenport connection to Beaumont House. Sir Samuel was one of the three brothers after whom the Pub in Macclesfield was named. He and his wife Margaret Cleland, owned and occupied Beamont House from 1857 until his death in 1907.
He produced the first commercial olive oil in SA here, along with wine/brandy, silk and many other new experiments at that time.
by theo (score: 1|12) 1769 days ago
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