|Fanny Durack image from the National Museum of Australia.|
The request came from members of the Cooks River Valley Association, who are campaigning to clean up the inner-Sydney river. One of their goals is to rehabilitate the polluted waterway so that at least one area is suitable for swimming. In 1916 Fanny Durack gave an exhibition of swimming in the river at the Illawarra Road bridge. Her display was part of a Venetian Carnival held to raise funds for the Australian New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). Dawn Fraser's coach Harry Gallagher also swam in the river, which he writes about in his autobiography, Memoir of a Fox.
|Fanny Durack (left) with Mina Wylie. Image from Mitchell Library (State Library of NSW)|
On the eve of the London Olympics Fanny would have been impressed with the turn-out of locals gathering near the pool named in her honour. There was a great atmosphere at the event with photos and information on Fanny's life story, centenary gold medals, an old-style gramophone man, a sausage sizzle and games and activities for the young and young at heart.
And just back to that request to don the cossie of F. Durack and swim in the dirty old Cooks. Well, I wasn't needed till 2014 and there is one other candidate willing to take on the role. Stay tuned.