Birtwistle Local Studies Library
The Armadale Aqua Slides, known locally as the Aquatubes, opened at the Armadale Aquatic Centre on Boxing Day, 1981.
The slides were built by Aqua Slide (Armadale) Pty Ltd. The fibreglass modules were made in Maddington by United Fibreglass Industries, with the tubes constructed in halves, using moulds, and then bolted together. Naria Steel in Spearwood made the steel sections. Construction involved bolting together the fibreglass and steel sections on the ground three sections at a time, which were then lifted into position by crane. The total cost of the project was about $400,000.
The Aquatubes were always a privately operated business, separate from the Armadale Aquatic Centre. They were open between 1981 and 2017, during which time they had three different owners. The original owners were Denis Watson and Deniston Marshall, who then sold the business to Warren Ayres, a local businessman, in 1992. The final owners were Glenda and Bob Smallman, who ran the Aquatubes from 1999 until they were demolished in 2017.
The Aquatubes were open from November to April. During the School Holidays they were open every day, whilst at other times at the weekends only.
There were three tubes: the Dipper Tube, the Corkscrew and another nicknamed ‘The Fast One’. Each tube was 1.2m in diameter, with the platform being 15m above ground level. Mats were used to propel patrons through the slides.
The Armadale Aqua Slides provided the local community with endless fun and were extremely popular. These comments from the Lost Perth Facebook site in 2016 give an idea of the enjoyment they gave.
Had many great days riding those slides.
[There] nearly every weekend in the summer with my mates in the late 80s and 90s.
Was our favourite thing to do on summer holidays! We would catch the train there with our friends.
At times some people used to break into the centre and ride the tubes at night, either using dishwashing liquid to replace the flowing water, or riding down on a variety of devices, as these comments make clear.
Used to sneak in at night with dishwashing liquid and emu export – half a dozen mates – great times.
I remember sliding down that on bin lids with dolphin torches back in the day.
There was the occasional accident consisting of bruises, bumps, and minor cuts. In 1998 extra safety features, such as padding at the top of each tube entry to prevent head knocks and a green light/ red light system to help with the timing of each run, were added as a precaution.
In October 2017, with proposed upgrades to the Armadale Aquatic Centre, the Aqua Tubes were demolished. This brought an end to a fun filled chapter for the many patrons who enjoyed their times here.