Gymea Baths | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Gymea Baths

Item details

Name of item: Gymea Baths
Other name/s: 1601 - L039
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Recreation and Entertainment
Category: Swimming Pool - inground built
Primary address: North West Corner of Gymea Bay, Gymea Bay, NSW 2227
Local govt. area: Sutherland
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
North West Corner of Gymea BayGymea BaySutherland  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The place evidences the development of leisure based activities, specifically estuarine bathing in the Sutherland Shire. Evidences permissive occupancy of crown land since early Twentieth Century. The site has the ability to evoke the isolation of the precinct. The place demonstrates the development of organised sport in Sutherland, Swimming Club. The site has landmark and scenic qualities. The site is well known to the local community. The site retains its naturally evolved environment in Estuarine landscape. The site demonstrates principal characteristics of estuarine baths. The site is a rare Estuarine Bath in a bush setting, an important typology in the area that was once prevalent.
Date significance updated: 25 Feb 10
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Physical description: Home of Gymea Bay Amateur Swimming Club
The landscape is located in the northwest corner of Gymea Bay.
The site has a natural setting and is highly visible with easy public accessibility, accessed via Gymea Baths Reserve off Ellesmere Road.

The baths comprise timber piles to north and east and concrete piles to south. The boardwalk is constructed of timber, and steel steps provide access to the water. Timber railings occur to the east while steel is substituted to the south. There are swimming block pontoons at either end. On the shore a fine sandstone block retaining wall survives, topped with concrete. A set of sandstone steps are flanked by brick and concrete tiered seating and painted brick dressing sheds. A two-storey concrete block and timber clad clubroom and store is adjacent.
Modifications and dates: Elements impacting upon the integrity of the site include: Steel and concrete structures, buildings and seating.

History

Historical notes: The site forms part of a parcel of land owned by Thomas Holt and became part of the Holt–Sutherland Estate.

The earliest aerial photographs of the site, taken in 1930, are unclear and do not evidence the Baths. The aerial photographs of 1955 evidence the Baths. By 1970, the aerial photographs show the Baths enlarged extending further to the north east. The 1984 aerial photograph shows sea walls constructed to be wider.

Home of Gymea Bay Amateur Swimming Club.

Sutherland Council Building and Property Files include:
• Sutherland Shire Heritage Study 1993 dates the Baths 1926-1950 and also 1951-1975.
• Letter dated 2 August 1928 from Departments Lands, Sydney to Council in relation to clarification of details of Permissive Occupancy. A “Notification of Granting of Special Leases” is also attached where it shows a special Lease 1928-1947, Metropolitan, Sutherland Shire Council. It also details the conditions of this lease especially in relation to providing appropriate screens for dining rooms, use of bath by school children for two days a week free of charge, life saving appliances to be provided and kept in good condition, adequate supervision and provision and maintenance of adequate sanitary accommodation (Department of Lands “Notification of granting Permissive Occupancy,1998”).


AREA HISTORIES
Gymea Bay, named after the flowering Gymea Lily plant, was given its name in 1855. The first residential subdivision in what is now the suburb of Gymea Bay occurred in 1917. (Neve, A Brief History of the Sutherland Shire)

Gymea Bay waterfront land, with its steep topography, was not subdivided until the 1920s. Cridland described how, for those without a boat, the area could be accessed by land: “From the tramline at Miranda a long red road may be seen dipping down to the gully to the south, Then, rising on the hill beyond, it appears to be swallowed in the distance by the bordering green trees. This is Kiora Road, an enticing walking or driving track that leads to the big promontory lying between Yowie and Gymea Bays. From it by-roads branch to all the little headlands and inlets of the two bays and the promontory.” A series of surviving subdivision plans indicates that at this time settlement was very sparse, with just a handful of cottages located round the bay. The area was obviously used for recreation as the presence of baths and boatsheds testify. Jack Clarke, born in 1918, used to visit a weekender on Gymea Bay in the 1920s. This shack consisted of a wooden frame covered with wire netting and bags (possibly chaff bags), which were then painted. This structure, although sounding flimsy, was apparently quite waterproof. He also recalled that a man called Horns owned the nearby boatshed and that there was a large tidal swimming pool. There may have been some permanent residents around Gymea Bay at this time. Phyllis Rugless (nee Worswick, born in 1907) recalled that the Shorter family had a 'beautiful home on the water' on Ellesmere Road. This is not how a weekender is usually described. Perhaps the residence of Dr Gray at the end of Kiora Road was also a permanent residence.
(Extracted from: Pauline Curby, Sutherland Shire Foreshore Study History)

Apart form secluded waterside dwellings, little development occurred until the 1950’s. (Neve, A Brief History of the Sutherland Shire)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Reclamation and Permissive Occupancy of Crown Land-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Clubs-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Surfing Boating Fishing Swimming-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities Organised Sport-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The place evidences the development of leisure based activities, specifically estuarine bathing in the Sutherland Shire Evidences permissive occupancy of crown land since early Twentieth Century
The site has the ability to evoke the isolation of the precinct
The place demonstrates the development of organised sport in Sutherland, Swimming Club
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The site has landmark and scenic qualities
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The site is well known to the local community
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The site retains its naturally evolved environment in Estuarine landscape
The site demonstrates principal characteristics of estuarine baths
The site is a rare Estuarine Bath in a bush setting, an important typology in the area that was once prevalent
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

The landscape is above the threshold for inclusion in the Heritage Schedule of the LEP. A heritage curtilage could be expanded to include the landscape setting and the reserve. At the time of the July 2012 inspection, significant elements, which include the timber boardwalk, rails and piers, sandstone sea wall and steps, warrant careful management and retention is desirable. No restrictions relate to the retention of the Clubhouse, brick building or tiered seating. Ideally, the current use of the landscape should continue. The bushland setting of the item should be protected and restored.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSutherland Shire LEP 2015160123 Jun 15   
Local Environmental Plan  15 Dec 00 16213339

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Sutherland Shire Community Based Heritage Study Review20131601 - L039Architectural Projects  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenNeve A Brief History of the Sutherland Shire
WrittenPauline Curby1998Sutherland Shire Foreshore Study Thematic History
WrittenPauline Curby Sutherland Shire Foreshore Study History

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2440167


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