The Mont Albert District - a Pictorial History 1830 to 2013

1905 - The Surrey Dive

Indigenous Heritage
Geology and Topography
Vegetation and Fauna
Climate and Hydrology
1840s to 1870s
1850s - Parish of Nunawading
1852 - Whitehorse Inn
1861 - Postal Services
1880s - Electricity Supply
1880s to 1920s
1882 - Phantom Railways to Doncaster
1883 - Residential Heritage Precinct
1884 - Broughton Park subdivsion
1884 - Brickworks
1885 - Surrey Hills district - map
1888 - Football Clubs
1889 - Gas Supply and Gasworks
1889 - Doncaster Electric Tramway and Tower
1890 - Mont Albert Railway Station
1892 - Surrey Hills Golf Club
1892 - Water Supply, Reservoirs and Sewerage
1899 - Telephone Services
1905 - The Surrey Dive
1907 - Scouts and Guides
1912 - Mont Albert Village Shopping Precinct
1914 - Mont Albert Progress Association
1916 - Californian Bungalows
1917 - Schools
1917 - Wattle Park
1924 - Early Shortwave Broadcasting from the Surrey Hills district
1924 - Black's Estate
1925 - Bus Services
1929 - Tramways
1930 - Cricket Clubs in Mont Albert
1930s - Balwyn - Beckett Park Bonfires and Wildlife Sanctuary
1948 - Grange Tennis Courts
1957 - Pioneer Park
1961 - Surrey Hills Communications Tower
1981 - Box Hill Miniature Railway
Koonung Creek Parklands
Heritage Notes
Mont Albert Road - Early History
Mont Albert Rd - the East End
Elgar Rd - north and south of Mont Albert Rd
Mont Albert Rd - View St to Elgar Rd
Bushland Reserves
Service Associations
Sporting Clubs
Box Hill Institute of TAFE
Walking Trails
The Author's Websites
References and Acknowledgements

Location of Surrey Dive

In 1895 a market was opened near Box Hill railway station, which improved Box Hill's commercial importance. Box Hill was also the entry point for a tramline to Doncaster, which ran from 1889 to 1896. The 1890s also saw the opening of a gas works, several brickworks and a private girls' high school.

A site was bought by the Council from a brick works company in 1905, including a deep quarry from which clay had been taken. It became Surrey Park and the hole the Surrey Dive, a popular swimming hole, now an RC boat club.

The brickworks closed in 1988, and the quarry was filled in slowly. Much of the original tamping and grinding machines are still in place, though sadly smashed and graffitied by mindless fools.

Surrey Park Swimming Club
In 1905 the newly formed Surrey Park Swimming Club petitioned the Council to purchase the former quarry site as a reserve. Surrey Dive became an official swimming pool with bathing sheds, springboards, and eventually a 10-lane course, making the Dive the first Olympic standard pool in Australia.

A ramp, springboard, a bathing shed and life buoys were purchased by Council. For many years Surrey Dive was the location of swimming carnivals watched by crowds of up to 3,000 people.

Swimming – for fun, fitness, or competition - has long been a popular activity amongst local residents. In the days before public swimming pools, the most well known swimming hole was the Surrey Dive.

The sheer cliffs and extraordinary depth of over 30 m attracted only the most experienced swimmers. The Surrey Park Swimming Club hosted regular swimming carnivals, the first of which was held in 1907 and featured a young Frank Beaurepaire, who won the one mile championship in record time.

After drought conditions forced the closure of Surrey Dive in 1967-68, the once popular swimming hole was converted into an ornamental lake.

While the experienced swimmers challenged themselves and others in Surrey Dive, there were few facilities for the young or inexperienced - despite repeated requests from the swimming club for improvements.

In the 1930s Ivy Weber, the first woman elected to Victorian Parliament and an advocate for health and fitness, organised a State Government grant to assist Council to build a new swimming pool at Box Hill.

Box Hill City Baths
These were designed by City Engineer Frederick Kerr and featured tiles from the Australian Tesselated Tile Company, opened on 28 January 1939 in conjunction with the Australian Swimming Championships.

35,000 people went through the turnstiles in the first season and local schools were eager to use the Baths for swimming carnivals. The Surrey Park Swimming Club continued to use the facilities for training and competition and conducted learn to swim classes. Numbers peaked in the 1959-60 season when 105,000 came to the Baths.

The Baths are adjacent to the Dive, and are now a heated outdoor facility, part of the Aqualink complex, currently being reconstructed and modernized, with a planned completion date of November 2013.

2013 - plaque at the Dive

2013 - the Lake

1930 - the Dive

1940 - the Dive


1928 - the Dive

1928 - the Dive

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