In Australia, the pool takes many forms. In the bush, a waterhole, a dam, a billabong; on the coast, a concreted cavity gouged from the rocks over which the surf spills and crashes. Around the country, old-time municipal baths have steeply decked seating and supervisory signs about diving and running. In the suburbs, millions of tame blue rectangles adorn the back yards, as if plucked from the wild blue ocean. Mysterious and familiar, tame and wild, natural and man- made: a pool is where the communal and the personal intersect. This companion publication to the Australian Exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale considers the pool in Australian life and architecture through the reminiscences and anecdotes of many: from children to teachers, swimmers to onlookers, architects to their clients. In playful reference to the number of competition lanes in an Olympic pool, eight prominent Australians have also shared their stories: Olympians Shane Gould and Ian Thorpe; authors Anna Funder and Christos Tsiolkas; musician Paul Kelly; environmentalist Tim Flannery; fashion designers Romance Was Born; and art curator Hetti Perkins. The pool is revealed in these accounts as a vital force in Australian life, not only as the setting for formative childhood memories, but also as the stage for impressive sporting feats that fuel the nation?s pride. A backdrop to many significant events in our communities, it is also a deeply contested space in the history of Australia, that has highlighted racial discrimination and social disadvantage.