Giles Gym and Baths, Coogee Beach

This photo was taken at the Northern Headland of Coogee beach. A prominent building once stood here, of which this was the entrance. But before we get to that I’ll give you a quick history of this beautiful part of Sydney.

Back in the 1850s, there were only about 20 houses located at Coogee (how things have changed!?). The residents of the time would bathe in the natural ocean pools, privacy being assured by requiring women to bathe at the southern end of the beach while men would bathe at the northern end. Just below this point is where the men would swim.

They did so freely until the early 1900s when the first formal baths were established here. The caretaker of these baths was Mr F.W. Lloyd. While the baths were officially known as Randwick Municipal Baths but more informally became known as Lloyd’s baths.

The year of 1928 saw a new building built here which was a prominent landmark of Coogee for 70 years. The Giles Gym and Baths were built by Mr Oscar Giles, a fitness and health centre at the cutting edge of health services for its time. It included electricity treatments, hydrotherapy, hot sea baths and even sweat boxes which were said to assist with weight loss.

In 1975, ownership changed and the building was redeveloped to include squash courts. It was leased until 1998, after which it fell into disrepair and was subsequently demolished in 2000.

The area, including the nearby Bali bombing memorial and “Bogey Hole” below is still a nice place to explore and swim. However the pool is exposed to the ocean so can get dangerous when the sea is rough.

Note: I try to be as accurate as possible but make no guarantees. Please use this information at your own risk.


Giles's Hot Sea Baths, Coogee, c. 1930s, by Sam Hood. Courtesy State Library of NSW via Flickr
Giles’s Hot Sea Baths, Coogee, c. 1930s, by Sam Hood. Courtesy State Library of NSW via Flickr

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