Bogey Hole, The | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Bogey Hole, The

Item details

Name of item: Bogey Hole, The
Other name/s: The Bogey Hole, Commandant's Baths, Bogie Hole
Type of item: Landscape
Group/Collection: Urban Area
Category: Swimming Pool - tidal
Location: Lat: -32.935138 Long: 151.781676
Primary address: Shortland Esplande, Newcastle, NSW 2300
Parish: Newcastle
County: Northumberland
Local govt. area: Newcastle
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT7004 DP1077043

Boundary:

Area bounded by the high water mark (HWM) on the east, the edge of the York Drive cliff-top carpark on the west, and lines 5 metres to the north and south of the pool extremities
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Shortland EsplandeNewcastleNewcastleNewcastleNorthumberlandPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Newcastle City CouncilLocal Government 

Statement of significance:

One of the two remaining constructed features from the days of the earliest European settlement in Newcastle, probably the earliest European-built work extant, it is a convict constructed baths hewn out of a rock face for Major James Morisset, a notable military figure from the early period of European settlement in Australia. The Bogey Hole is the first recorded European purpose-built ocean pool on the NSW coast. It forms a picturesque and interesting feature in the coastal landscape of King Edward Park and is of considerable social significance to the people of Newcastle. (Heritage Office)
Date significance updated: 04 Oct 05
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

Designer/Maker: Commandant James Morisset
Builder/Maker: Convict labour, 1819/20; enlarged to present dimensions by Newcastle Borough Council, in 1884
Construction years: 1819-1884
Physical description: A public baths hewn out of rock on a wave cut platform below the cliffs at Shepherd Hill. Dimensions length (maximum) 10 metres x width (maximum) 6.5 metres. X depth (average) 1.5 metres.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Physical condition is good. Archaeological potential is nil.
Assessed as being 'Fair' condition in 1994 (EJE, App E).
Date condition updated:03 Feb 03
Modifications and dates: 1884. Various weatherboard sheds and a brick toilet block were added over time, but all have since been demolished. The seaward side is fenced with stanchion and chain, date unknown.
Further information: The Bogey Hole is currently incorporated into a public walk called "Bathers' Way", for which a Bathers' Way Masterplan has been prepared by Council and some interpretative signage installed. There is a proposal to commission and install some piece of commemorative public art in the clifftop picnic area overlooking the pool.
Current use: Public recreation
Former use: Private recreation

History

Historical notes: The Bogey Hole was constructed by order of Commandant Morisset in about 1820 for personal use. Whether this work represented the enlargement of a naturally occurring rock pool used by Aboriginal people is unknown. There is no exact date for the commencement of construction nor is there a record of how long it took. Morisset was Commandant of Newcastle from December 1818 until November 1823. He was the longest serving Commandant of Newcastle. It was known, originally as the "Commandant's Baths". The name "Bogey Hole" was applied afterwards and is said to come from the Dharawal word meaning "to bathe".

The Bogey Hole is situated at the foot of Shepherds Hill, or as it was known in the 1820s "sheep pasturage hill". Geologically, the rock in the area is sandstone/conglomerate typical of the coastal areas of the Hawkesbury Sandstone deposit on which Newcastle was built. The rock is considered reasonably hard. In 1863, control of the bath passed to Newcastle Borough Council for public use. The bath were enlarged by Council and catered mainly for male swimmers, with women being permitted only at set times. Since that time a collection of changing sheds and other facilities have come and gone. The Bogey hole was originally much smaller than it is now and was substantially enlarged in 1884 to its present size.

The Bogey Hole is located beneath a pseudo headland or prominence and gets battered in heavy seas. Local dare-devils often tempt fate by climbing the cliff and jumping into the Bogey Hole. It is only about 1.5 m. deep. Another local thrill is to grab the barrier chains on the seaward side of the baths in a moderate swell and hang on tight when a wave breaks over you. Audrey Reay remembers that "The Bogey Hole was the best place for a dip, but dangerous in bad weather. When the tide was very high and weather rough it was a most delightful place if you could get safely in and out - to a moderate or indifferent swimmer it was hard to get out without a few scratches." (Memories of the Hunter and Newcastle in the 1880's by Audley Reay, p. 8).

The Bogey Hole was opened for public use in 1863 (LEP).

The most significant changes to the original Bogey Hole rock pool were in 1884. The pool was enlarged to seven times its original size and deepened, an iron safety rail was constructed along the access track and two bridges, stairs and ledges cut into the rock face (EJE, 2016, 6). These works were undertaken by Newcastle City Council (Steinbeck, pers.comm., 17/12/2016).

Men and women swam on different days and new dressing sheds and showers to use water piped 150 yardfs from a natural spring were built in 1893. Despite improvements, the rock pool was not considered safe or respectcable enough bathing site for the good citizens of Newcastle. The 'Newcastle Morning Herald' commented that the 'Bogey Hole has become the aquatic hunting ground of the Newcastle larrikin' (NMH, 9/12/1884, in EJE, 2016, 7).

There have been minor modifications to the Bogey Hole Baths since. These affected mainly the area above the baths, including post-war construction of the caretaker's cottage, removal of the original timber shange sheds, removal of a timber picket fence, and alterations to access steps and ordinance fencing (EJE, 2016, 7). A brick changing shed was built in 1953 (EJE, 2016, 8).

The Bogey Hole remains a popular spot, particularly for inner city dwellers who don't like getting sand in their shoes, and still becomes very crowded on warm summer days. (www.ncc.gov.au/library/locals/ histweb/bogey.htm).

The Bogey Hole was temporarily closed in September 2003 after Council noticed a number of boulders had crashed 20m from the cliff into the swimming hole, which had damaged fencing and created instability in the cliff face above the Bogey Hole. In 2004 the Newcastle Morning Heraldn reported that the Bogey Hole 'had reopened following completion of stabilisation work above the popular swimming spot' (EJE, 2016, 7).

In 2010 NSW Land & Property Management Authority, custodian of the site, invited expressions of interest for proposed remediation works to The Bogey Hole. EJE Architecture and Terras Landscape Architects won the tender to design new access stairs and structures for the public to access the baths as the existing stairs and access had eroded due to the incidence of the ocean and weather and were becoming dangerous. The new stairs and structures were completed and opened to the public in late September 2012. The Bogey Hole remained a popular spot, particularly for inner city dwellers. It became very crowded on warm summer days until November 2015. Newcastle City COuncil commissioned a grand project to rehabilitate the Newcastle Seawall and Bathers Way. Council engaged Cardno to do extensive geotechnical testing to inform the project. The Bogey HOle was part of the scope of these investigations. Cardno identified a number of hazards requiring immediate attention to prevent possible catastrophe such as irreparable damage to The Bogey Hole and/or possible loss of life. The results were reported to the Department of Industry - Lands and the perceived risk was enough that access to the Bogey Hole was blocked off on 20th November 2015. Cardno were commissioned by the Department of Industry - Lands to undertake further detailed investigations at the Bogey Hole locality and recommend how to mitigate risks previously identified. These led to the current recommended scope of stabilisation and access works (EJE, 2016, 10).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Convict-Activities relating to incarceration, transport, reform, accommodation and working during the convict period in NSW (1788-1850) - does not include activities associated with the conviction of persons in NSW that are unrelated to the imperial 'convict system': use the theme of Law & Order for such activities Convict labour-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Convict-Activities relating to incarceration, transport, reform, accommodation and working during the convict period in NSW (1788-1850) - does not include activities associated with the conviction of persons in NSW that are unrelated to the imperial 'convict system': use the theme of Law & Order for such activities Working for the Crown-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of coastal swimming, diving, surfing and sunbathing-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Building in response to climate - ocean pools and baths-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Outdoor relief-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Activities associated with relaxation and recreation-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going swimming-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Gathering at landmark places to socialise-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with James Morrisett, military officer-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Bogey Hole is one of the two remaining European-made structures from the days of the earliest European settlement in Newcastle, probably the earliest European-built structure extant, it is a rare item, being a convict constructed baths, dating from between 1819 and 1891.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The Bogey Hole Is associated with Commander James Morisset who ordered it dug for his private use, and with the earliest period of convict labour at the settlement
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Bogey Hole and its natural setting are distinctive and pleasing features of the King Edward Park foreshore and a popular subject for contemporary artists and photographers. The pool itself is an interesting example of early convict workmanship, as modified by subsequent enlargement.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The Bogey Hole recalls the early period of military privilege and convict servitude. In the 1850s it was a venue of segregated bathing. (The Ladies' Bathing Place was at the south end of Newcastle Beach.) Swimming at the Bogey Hole features in Audley Reay's "Memories of the Hunter and Newcastle in the 1880's". Today, the Bogey Hole and its steep cliff-face form a noted local landmark. It is said to be of particular significance to "local daredevils" who "often tempt fate by climbing the cliff and jumping into the Bogey Hole."
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The Bogey Hole has the potential to demonstrate early convict excavation techniques as well as subsequent Council modifications. The social significance of the Bogey Hole to identifiable groups merits further investigation.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The Bogey Hole is rare by virtue of its early date (1819).There are no known swimming venues in NSW constructed earlier.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Geologically, the rock in the area is sandstone/conglomerate typical of the coastal areas of the Hawkesbury Sandstone deposit on which Newcastle was built. The Bogey Hole is the first Australian representative of the tradition of associating particular bathing facilities as being for users of a special class (National Trust)
Integrity/Intactness: The Bogey Hole retains its 1884 form: length (maximum) 10 metres x width (maximum) 6.5 metres. X depth (average) 1.5 metres.
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.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0167821 Nov 03 18510740
Local Environmental PlanLEP/King Edward Park Group (Bogey Hole) Public BatI57915 Jun 12 64 

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
Written  JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL AUSTRALIAN HISTORICAL SOC. VOL 21, 1935, P160.JOURNAL OF THE NEWCASTLE AND HUNTER DISTRICT HISTORICAL SOC. VOL 10,1955-56 P163 VOL 7,
Written Audley Reay Memories of the Hunter and Newcastle in the 1880's
WrittenBeryl Nashar1964Geology of the Hunter Valley
WrittenCardno Geotech Solutions2016eotechnical Assessment Report, Bogey Hole, CGS2930
WrittenEJE Heritage2016Statement of Heritage Impact, The Bogey Hole, Shortland Esplanade, Newcastle, NSW
WrittenEJE Landscape Architects & Christa Ludlow1994Survey of Harbourside & Ocean Pools of the Sydney Metropolitan Region
WrittenNancy Cushing Newcastles Beaches, Found & Lost, in 'Hidden Newcastle: Urban Memories & Architectural Imaginaries, J. Moore & M.J. Ostwald (eds) View detail
TourismNewcastle City Council2006Bogey Hole - Visitor Information Website View detail
WrittenNSW Soil Conservation Service, July 20162016 Review of Environmental Factors: Bogey Hole Environmental Stability Works
TourismTourism NSW2007Bogey Hole View detail
Electronicwww.mgcarclub.com.au/htmpages/kinEd/kingEd.htm2003King Edward Park Hillclimb
Electronicwww.newcastlecitycentre.com/heritage/tour/pages/23.htm2003The Bogey Hole
Writtenwww.vnc.qld.edu.au/enviro/flinders/f-p-nne.htm2003Newcastle: Matthew Flinders and the Coastal Landforms of SE Australia

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

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

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5053928
File number: EF11/1626


Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

All information and pictures on this page are the copyright of the Heritage Division or respective copyright owners.