BACK TO FONTY'S 2012

26TH FEBRUARY 2012

Archie Fontanini
Fonty’s Pool was founded by the Italian immigrant Archimede "Archie" Fontanini after aquiring 460 acres of land in what was known locally as "Archie's Oven Gulley", in 1907. He set about clearing the land by hand then planting and harvested apples and various vegetables. The water in the front of the house was used to grow heavy crops, and after a few years Fontanini decided to rest the land by damming the stream with a large log. He believed this would settle silt in the water and improve the land's fertility for use again when he removed the log the in the future.

Fontanini and his wife had five children, who swam regularly in the dam he created. The dam became popular with other children and adults as the district of Manjimup and the timber town of Deanmill expanded. There was no public pool in Manjimup, and Fontanini was encouraged to keep the dam and charge an entry fee. This he did, and he constructed facilities, cemented the dam walls and floor and developed the surrounding gardens all with little mechanical assistance.

The pool was officially opened to the public in 1925. On Australia Day, 1947 a log chop was held as part of an Australia Day Sports carnival. This was then held annually for eleven years.
Fontys Pool Picnic Day 1924
In 1950, Fontanini retired from farming to work full-time on managing the pool and gardens. Fonty's Pool was receiving thousands of visitors each year. Swimming lessons there became very popular with hundreds of children crediting it as the place where they first swam. Fontanini closed the pool to the public in 1973 when the management burden became too great. Community support saw the pool reopened in 1979 with a “Back To Fonty’s” Australia Day Log Chop and Swimming Carnival as part of Western Australia's 150th anniversary celebration. Some 12,000 people attended the carnival over two days. This continued for a few more years and again lost momentum in the early eighties.

Now over twenty years later, with Fonty’s Pool under new ownership, “Back To Fonty’s” has again been reborn in January 2008, repeated in January 2010 and is now set to become a bi- annual event. In 2012 it will be held away from Australia Day for the first time but with two World Titles and a full Chopping program in the arena combined with the famous Bath Tub Derby and other pool events and “Miss Fonty’s 2012”, you can expect it to be the best ever.