Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Shellharbour Rock Pools

The driftway at Shellharbour Villlage has always been used in the summer months for recreation purposes, and in the 1880s people began to push for the construction of rock baths. The community did not like ‘the evils of the day’, described as ‘men and youths bathing in a state of nature on the open sea beach’. It was suggested they ‘compel every bather to use a proper bathing costume similar to those in many European countries’.

In 1894, the Shellharbour Progress Association chose a site for rock baths between the jetty and the former cemetery, at the Shellharbour foreshore.

Regulations allowed ladies to bathe for 2 hours in the morning, and from 3-5 pm. Men bathed before 7 am and after 5 pm. The sexes would alternate in the baths by the use of a system of flags.

Bathing became the order of the day and they were soon taxed to their capacity in the summer months. Rock baths attracted tourists and the beautification of the foreshore by the planting of trees drew attention.

On Arbor Day in 1895, the Shellharbour community united to plant the Norfolk Island pine trees that adorn the harbour today. The trees thrived and were cared for by the progress association.

Visitors became more frequent and a tourist handbook issued by the Illawarra Steam Navigation Company in 1905 said ‘of all the delightfully secluded spots on this patch of coast none has become more popular than among visitors than the pretty little township of Shellharbour, standing on a gentle rise overlooking the sea’.

Head down to Shellharbour Village over the Christmas break! It’s a beautiful spot.

Information – Bayley, W, 1959. Green Meadows, Shellharbour Municipal Council.
 
Gwen Allen at the rock pools, Shellharbour Village c.1920
Tongarra Museum collection

Kaleen Allen and friend at the rock pools, Shellharbour Village c.1920
Tongarra Museum collection

Kaleen Allen at the rock pools, Shellharbour Village c.1920
Tongarra Museum collection

Children at the Bass Point rock pools
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries

2 comments:

  1. Glorious. I can only imagine what it used to be like to visit the rock pools at that day and age in Shoalhaven with so much restriction. It makes you really appreciate the freedom we have now to do what we want.

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  2. It's funny so much has changed in just 100 years isn't it?

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