The venue for the 1910 South African national swimming aquatic championships and many national and international events since, Ellis Park is too shallow to be used for national level competitions any more. The main pool was later heated throughout the winter months, giving Transvaal swimmers a big advantage over swimmers from other areas that had no heated pools. The pool was also the home of the Transvaal ASA.
On 16 January 1909, the first public swimming pool built in Johannesburg was officially opened. Known as the Ellis Park Swimming Pool, a swimming gala was held to mark the occasion. A similar event a few weeks later, however, had to be cancelled when it was discovered that somebody had let all the water out. With a capacity of 500,000 gallons of water, it understandably took a considerable time to again fill the pool which became a landmark in this part of Johannesburg. In 1978 a similar event occurred when the pool was 'accidentally' drained a few days before nationals began. In the end the event was held - but in cold water!
Doornfontein - early days
Ellis Park Lake early 1900s looking East toward Bertrams and Judith’s Paarl. The source of the water was known as Natal Spruit. It ran down to a marshy area (which later became Ellis Park Lake) where Ellis Park stadium is today. Then it meandered through Jeppe at the dip, which was known as Natal Camp in the first years of Johannesburg, and made its way south over the main reef. There was apparently a small waterfall roughly where the M2 highway would have crossed the stream.
Today the pools are part of the greater Ellis Park sports complex.