King Edward Park Group (Bogey Hole) Public Baths | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


King Edward Park Group (Bogey Hole) Public Baths

Item details

Name of item: King Edward Park Group (Bogey Hole) Public Baths
Other name/s: Bogey Hole
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Community Facilities
Category: Other - Community Facilities
Primary address: 3 Ordnance Street, The Hill, NSW 2300
Local govt. area: Newcastle
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
3 Ordnance StreetThe HillNewcastle  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The Bogey Hole is significant at state and national levels as the first and oldest surviving ocean bath in Australia. Construction commenced in 1818 using convict labor under the supervision of Commandant James Morriset, as his private swimming hole. Completed by 1822, the Bogey Hole is technically significant as a rare surviving example of vernacular construction techniques employed by a convict workforce. In 1863 the Bogey Hole was vested in Newcastle Borough Council for the inhabitants. On 12.1.1883. the N.S.W. Government dedicated to the council some 6 acres of rocks below Signal Hill. The word "Bogie" or "Bogey" comes from the Aboriginal language meaning "to bathe" or "a place to bathe"
Date significance updated: 20 Apr 04
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.


Builder/Maker: Constructed using convict labour
Construction years: 1819-1822
Physical description: A public baths hewn out of rock on wave cut platform below cliffs at Shepherds Hill (King Edward Park). Originally constructed for personal use of the Military Commandant of Newcastle (Major J. Morisett).
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The bathing hole itself is in excellent condition. The steps leading to the bathing area are in poor condition and require attention.
Date condition updated:20 Apr 04
Modifications and dates: There has been only minor modification to the baths since construction. The major changes are to the area above the baths, including removal of the original timber change sheds, removal of a timber picket fence, and alterations to access steps and ordinance fencing.
Current use: baths are now used by the public


Historical notes: The Bogey Hole was constructed by convicts under the Direction of Major James Morriset between 1819-22. It was opened for public use in 1863.

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Bogey Hole is the oldest constructed bathing pool in Australia. It is historically significant in its method of construction being formed from a natural wave cut platform by convict labour at a time when public infrastructure in Newcastle was being undertaken solely by convict labour.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
It is associated with Major James Morriset.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Bogey Hole is set within a dramatic coastal setting within the grounds of King Edward Park adjacent to the Pacific Ocean and surrounded by cliff forms.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The Bogey Hole continues to offer recreational bathing opportunities for the community. It is an important link to the nation's convict past and is held high esteem by the community.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Potential to reveal information about vernacular construction techniques and use of convict labour.
SHR Criteria f)
The Bogey Hole is the only known surviving ocean bath constructed using convict labour. It is the oldest ocean bath in Australia.
Integrity/Intactness: High level of integrity accentuated by a very intact setting.
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.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanKing Edward Park Group (Bogey Hole) Public bathsI57915 Jun 12 64 
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Newcastle Heritage Study1990303Unknown  Yes
Review of Items of Potential State Significance in the Newcastle City Area2008 Sue Rosen and Associates Heritage Assessment And History (HAAH)  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenNewcastle City Council1998Heritage Places Strategic Plan

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: 2170303
File number: 303

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