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Kept in the family

Next month will see the end of an era at the historic Manuka pool as the Taverner family farewells the Canberra institution after a 65-year association.

John ''Tav'' Taverner confirmed today that he will leave the pool as manager at the end of March after taking over the reins from his late father Owen in 1990.

The Taverners have been an integral part of the iconic art deco pool for generations of swimmers.

''We've been managing the swimming pool since 1956 - that makes 55 summers - but there's been a Taverner on the wages book since 1947,'' he said.

''My dad was a volunteer lifeguard at the Cotter and he got the offer of a job here. He was a bricklayer around Canberra and this was his summer job. So he started off in 1947.''

Mr Taverner died in 1999 but his son - known to all but his mum as Tav - has carried on the family tradition for the last 22 years.


''My dad had three farewells. He was farewelled in 1988, '89 and we finally got him out in 1990, so I've been the manager since 1990,'' Mr Taverner said, with a laugh.

Mr Taverner said the last two seasons had been very tough with the cooler weather but he also felt now was the time for change as he prepared to turn 60 in July.

''I wanted to go out smiling, with my head held high and proud of what I've done and want to get on with something else,'' he said.

Mr Taverner's last day will be March 25, celebrated with an open day from 10am to 4pm.

''We just want to say goodbye to friends of the Manuka pool,'' he said.

Mr Taverner's departure has been known for some weeks but he was reluctant to talk about it last week when contacted by The Canberra Times saying he was too emotional.

But now, with his decision made, he is keen to celebrate his family's association.

''I've been teary a few times. I can't help myself - always wear my heart in my sleeve but you just know when it's time for you,'' he said.