Frolicking female fun – sounds pornographic but it is the furthest you can get from it.
Easter Monday and the sunshine from Autumn enticed the Gs to check out the McIver’s Baths at Beach St, Coogee. These historic Ladies Baths remain the last women’s- only seawater pool in Australia and has been in use since its establishment in the late 1800s. The baths were managed by the McIver family until 1922 when Randwick Amateur Swim club formed and then took over.
They were even granted an exemption from the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Act in 1995. The pool is specifically designed for women and children (boys up to age 13) and is a haven for women of all shapes, sizes and persuasions.
There is a wonderful old world quaintness about the getting into the pool. As you enter, there is a bucket to throw your 20c entry fee toward the upkeep of the pool. Our informant at the pool told us that a bunch of dedicated volunteers look after the pool. There is a small kitchen building where the blue bucket with the 20c is contained.
Access to the pool and the clubhouse is via a number of steps so it could be a challenge for older ladies. Nana L has visited with Mrs G on other occasions and has managed just going slow and steady. Other issues with accessing many of the pools is the abundance of moss on the steps in the water – so being extra careful on entry is a must .
On our visit we saw lots of mums and kids frolicking. In another time, one of the Gs visited the pool with a young Miss G who was horrified at the larger sized topless women enjoying themselves. In one of those priceless parenting moments Mrs G threw caution to the wind and her bikini top too, to the total mortification of a young Miss G. It is a place that feels safe and friendly and easy.
We were joined on our visit by our friend the lovely Mrs L another keen ocean swimmer who had not been to the Ladies Baths before and was keen to bralk and take in the Autumn afternoon sun. The water was incredibly warm – we think it was about 23 degrees and at 33 metres long the pool is a good swim. It was clear and high tide, so a bit of splash adds to the fun. It is possible to do laps here for training although today we had to dodge the children.
The change rooms look recently painted but unfortunately the showers are COLD. The Gs do not like cold showers. On a positive note though, there is the most amazing view out to sea from the window ( see pic) that we have ever seen. An endless horizon straight out over the ocean to Wedding cake island – which one day the Gs will swim out to in an ocean race. There is also a lending library in the changing room, grab a book and sit on the grass overlooking the ocean and relax.
There is no coffee shop at the pool but a short walk down to the beach to a number of cafes at the beach will see you caffeinated and ready for whatever your days holds.