Deep Rock Swimming Hole – Fairfield, Australia - Atlas Obscura

AO Edited

Deep Rock Swimming Hole

The gathering point of an old Melbourne swimming club was site of a historic, world-record dive in 1918.  


On the Yarra River, Melbourne’s iconic waterway, is a location that was frequented by the Deep Rock Swimming and Life Saving Club. First established in 1906, this site has seen many visitors searching for a break from busy city life over the years. 

In 1918, Alick Wickham, a Solomon Islander swimmer and diver, broke the world record for a dive of 205 feet (62.7 meters) from a tower erected on the opposite side of the cliff from the Deep Rock swimming opening.

Wickham is widely known as one of the pioneers of the modern front crawl and had an influence in bringing this method of swimming to the Western world. It is said that over 70,000 visitors came from across Melbourne to witness him break the world record dive, which was a truly remarkable feat at the time. 

Those who visit the site are able to take in the picturesque setting on the edge of Yarra Bend Park, with deep pooled water and many trees on each side of the river bank. The Deep Rock Swimming Club regularly used this area for recreational swimming, competitions, and regular training sessions. The swimming club operated until the 1940s.

A small distance downstream lies the Dights Falls, a handcrafted weir. Unfortunately, the area is rarely used by swimmers today as pollution has contaminated the river.  

Know Before You Go

There is a picnic bench to enjoy a break and take in the tranquility of the area. There is an information sign which allows visitors to read about the history of the site. Five minutes downstream lies the Dight Falls which are well worth checking out. 

In partnership with KAYAK

Plan Your Trip

From Around the Web