Decades of service recognised

Shire of Mundaring aquatic facilities coordinator Chris Blankley has been recognised for 40 years of service.

Mr Blankley, who oversees operations at Bilgoman Aquatic Centre and Mount Helena Aquatic Centre, was presented with an Industry Service Award in recognition of the milestone at the Leisure Institute of Western Australia Aquatics Inc. (LIWA) Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 23 September.

After first diving into the role in 1980, the lifetime hills local has been on deck for the past four decades, ensuring a safe and happy environment where kids can learn to swim, schools can hold annual swimming carnivals, and families from near and far can enjoy a splash in the summer months.

Mr Blankley said his passion for the job goes hand-in-hand with his strong sense of community spirit. 

"I've been lucky; it's a job that I not only enjoy but I take great pride in and, after 40 years, I'm still happy to come to work and see what each new day will bring," Mr Blankley said.

"I was actually brought up in Darlington, went to the local schools and still being a part of that is pretty special.

"Support in the community is fantastic and once you've been brought up around the trees and the hills you don't tend to leave because it is such a great environment," he added.

Shire of Mundaring recreation and leisure services manager Kirk Kitchin said Mr Blankley was a leading figure in the aquatic industry.

"Chris oversaw several major upgrades at Bilgoman Aquatic Centre recently, achieving gold Waterwise status recognition by Water Corporation for several years running," Mr Kitchin said.

"In addition to his long service at the Shire of Mundaring, Chris has held the post of LIWA Vice President for many years and played a part in training nearly all professional aquatic staff in WA, including me."

Mr Blankley's 40-year milestone was recognised by LIWA alongside Jeff Fondacaro (Beatty Park), Craig Smetherham (Gosnells Leisure World), Adrian Timms (Mandurah Aquatic Centre) and Ray Martin (Jigalong Pool) who are celebrating 30 years of service at their respective facilities this year.

In Darlington, Bilgoman Aquatic Centre will reopen from Saturday 17 October 2020, followed by Mount Helena Aquatic Centre on Saturday 5 December 2020.

For more information about the Shire's aquatic centres, including opening times and swimming lessons, visit

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