150-year pool pass offered to mark Hanmer Springs’ anniversary
Hanmer Springs in 1878, shortly after the first dressing shed opened.
After their discovery through the Maoris, the first dressing shed was built in Hanmer Springs Thermal Pool 150 years ago.
Now the current custodians are providing access to the pools for another 150 years to mark the anniversary.
According to historians, the first dressing shed was built in Hanmer Springs in 1871 by John Fry, said Graeme Abbot, general manager of Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa.
“He built the cabana and put steps down to the hot springs so his guests at the Jollies Pass Hotel could enjoy the hot springs pools.
“The shed ultimately marks the beginning of swimming pools as we know them today, and the 150th anniversary is a truly special time for our entire community.”
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The site became a public establishment in 1883 when the Crown fenced it for the paying public, and a Jubilee of the Pools in 1933 was celebrated with a parade through the streets of the village.
The pools have come a long way since the single dressing shed was on a very exposed site in the Hanmer Basin.
The original hot spring is believed to be located next to the historic Gasometer, near the current entrance to the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa.
The early Maori were the first to discover the hot springs while traveling in the area.
Although they never settled in Hanmer Springs, the discovery of ancient native umu (ovens) indicated travelers’ camps or signs that people had stopped.
In 1859, an advertisement in The Lyttelton Times announced the discovery of “hot springs” by William Jones. Fry built the first dressing shed 12 years later.
“This anniversary is in recognition of the support we’ve had all these years, we want to celebrate the epic memories that hundreds of thousands of visitors have created with us,” Abbot said.
“We hope the VIP card will be enjoyed by generations to come and passed on as the ultimate family heirloom.”