A documentary paying homage to the Northern Beaches’ rock pools is underway – do you have a story or sentiment to contribute?
Manly filmmaker Tikky Hes, of the Hes Gallery, fell in love with the local ocean pools when she moved to the area from the US almost four years ago. Born and raised in mountainous Chiang Mai in Thailand, Tikky first learnt to swim properly at the iconic Fairy Bower rock pool, and she found the experience transformative.
“I noticed many others that also used the pool and began talking to them,” Tikky said. “I picked up on common themes and started to think about the pools’ stories and histories. Given the area’s beauty and the stories surrounding the pools, I thought there may be a way to share these stories with others. I had recently studied at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School so I began to think about putting a documentary together.”
Tikky has been chipping away at the film alongside a fellow ocean swimming enthusiast, Anna Trichet-Laurier, while also building their skills in the local scuba diving scene.
Anna, who is highly accomplished in videography and film production, moved to Australia from France almost seven years ago. She is an avid user of the Queenscliff rock pool, as well as Tikky’s favourite Fairy Bower. Recently completing high calibre work as a producer and researcher for National Geographic documentaries, including Mick Fanning’s Save This Shark, Anna says she jumped on the chance to share the stories of these quintessentially Australian landmarks.
Together the pair has already interviewed scores of locals about their relationship with these quasi natural wonders. But with filming set to resume in coming weeks, they are on the look out for more stories, both old and new, about people’s relationship with the pools. In particular, Tikky would love to hear from the women who used the Dee Why rock pool during the Second World War, or their descendants. Dee Why’s main rockpool was recently renamed the Isa Wye Rockpool. Isa championed women’s swimming in the area and was part of the Dee Why Ladies’ Amateur Swimming Club for a staggering 85 years.
Tikky and Anna assert that these small stories can seem insignificant at first, but can often reveal more, or at least a greater depth, about an era or an event than the history books. The anecdotes becomes a testimony to the past and how we got to where are on the Beaches in 2021.
Rockpools are a very iconic feature in many of our beachside suburbs on the Northern Beaches. (For a full list check out Council’s summary). Built throughout the 20th Century, they have played silent witness to many crucial moments in history – from world wars to divisions of gender, race and social hierarchy.
“The pools make a significant contribution to creating a community that feels more like what you would find in a country town than part of the most populated city in Australia,” Tikky said.
“Of course, locals know of the pools, but few would know the heart-warming stories that lie beneath each of them, stretching back to the early 1900s. This documentary will explore the rich texture of this part of Australian society.
“It might also be a good way to promote the natural beauty and inclusive, relaxed spirit of the Beaches to tourists, who we will desperately need back in the post-Covid era.”
Filming will resume in early February and it is due for completion in May 2021.