Little Coogee | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Little Coogee

Item details

Name of item: Little Coogee
Type of item: Landscape
Group/Collection: Landscape - Natural
Category: Wetland or river
Primary address: Parramatta Park, Parramatta, NSW 2150
Parish: St John
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: City of Parramatta
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Parramatta ParkParramattaCity of ParramattaSt JohnCumberlandPrimary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Parramatta Park TrustState Government 

Statement of significance:

This area is associated with the recreational use of the Parks during the latter part of the nineteenth century into the twentieth century. The area has high social significance for its use as a beach and swimming hole and its association with Mr Noller. Its picturesque location gives it high aesthetic significance.
Date significance updated: 05 Dec 97
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.


Physical description: "Little Coogee" is the area between the causeway and the Rangers Cottage. It is today a grassy picnic ground area.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The area is still used extensively for picnicking. There may be some archaeological remains here related to earlier activities but evidence of the older kiosk and dressing pavilion are likely to have been destroyed by the construction of the new Visitor Centre.
Date condition updated:30 Jun 03
Current use: Recreation
Former use: Recreation


Historical notes: Although swimming had taken place in this area since the days of the convicts (one drowned in the water hole in the vicinity in 1817), Little Coogee did not officially become a public place of swimming until the Park trustees agreed to remove pre existing bathing restrictions, in January 1912. There were requests for dressing sheds, as it was noted that people swam there day and night. During the same period the first mention of the name 'Little Coogee' was made in the records of the Trust, in regard to the 'Little Coogee Life Saving Club' (February 20, 1912). An official investigation of the water at Little Coogee in 1923 found it not to be polluted. By 1924 the Trust was receiving income from boats and bathing sheds. By 1926, two shelter sheds are listed (one of which still survives), a refreshment kiosk and dressing sheds. There was also a bus service via Ross Street and the Causeway. (Flynn, M. 1996).The Ranger, who lived at the Dairy Precinct, played a large role in the regulation of Little Coogee. Public toilets were built east of the Dairy Cottage with separate male and female pathways. The decline of the water quality and the availability of a swimming pool nearby saw the end of the crowds as still seen during the early 1960s. (Varman,R.V.J. 1997)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Little Coogee is historically signficant for its association with the recreational phase of use of the Park.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Although there is no longer a sand beach in this location, this is still one of the picturesque river side locations in the Park.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Little Coogee is still remembered today as a popular local swimming spot.
SHR Criteria g)
Little Coogee is perhaps representative of river side swimming holes in western Sydney.
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:

Objective:As a long term aim, Little Coogee will be managed to reinterpret the now lost ‘beach’ area that was a popular swimming and boating spot in the 1920s. Actions: To this end the Parramatta Park Trust will introduce a series of sand inlets between rock ‘headlands’, which will simulate the previous sand deposits, such that the beaches will not be eroded by river action. These small ‘beaches’ should be of a scale to create a sense of intimacy. Materials should reflect alternating period of sand deposition and removal together with exposed underlying sandstone formations with grass and Casuarina plantings behind. (Parramatta Park Landscape Master Plan 2002, p.51)


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     
Archaeological zoning plan 43   
Heritage study 418   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenDPWS2000Parramatta Park Landscape Masterplan
WrittenFlynn, M.1996The Ross Street Gatehouse: its historic context in relation to Parramatta Park.
WrittenVarman, R.V.J.1997Archaeological Zoning Plan for Parramatta Park Trust

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

(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: State Government
Database number: 4681043

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