Photographer's Note

This is one place that I will not be showing our friend Kari (KTanska) when he visits Sydney soon.

That's because McIver Baths are for women and children only. One of Coogee Beach's four ocean rock pools, the women-only custom goes back to the early nineteenth century when the pool was thought to have been a traditional bathing place for Aboriginal women. From the late 1820s white women also bathed here, and since the 1860s it has remained a women-only bathing area. There has been quite an uproar from many men in the community, when a few times in its history, organisations and individuals have applied to have the baths open to men but each time they were unsuccessful. A key objector to Randwick Council's 1946 proposal was the Mother Superior of the Brigidine Convent at Randwick. She said the nuns at her convent, any country nuns vacationing there and the 100 boarders at the Brigidine school would not be able to visit the baths if they were opened for mixed bathing.

The baths are named after Robert and Rose McIver, who began operating them in 1918 and developed them into the form they are today. With Mina Wylie, Bella O'Keefe and others, Rose McIver established the Randwick and Coogee Ladies Amateur Swimming Club in 1923. In the 1970s and 80s renovation work was completed, and in 1994 the pool was heritage-listed by the National Trust.

Today the pool attracts all types of women but is particularly popular with Muslim women, Pacific Islanders, older women, mothers with babies and young children and lesbians.

The entry fee is 20 cents.

Canon 5D MkII
ISO 100
30 seconds

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Additional Photos by Lisa DP (delpeoples) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5609 W: 342 N: 12455] (60342)
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