Out for a Sunday stroll I discovered a skeleton remain of Sydney’s swimming past, sitting idly amongst the city’s socially elite.
Camp Cove is loved by billionaires (formerly millionaires), Korean bridal parties and of course the millions of tourists who visit this beautiful harbour every year. But what most people don’t see is the outline of the oldest ocean pool in NSW and possibly Australia (without the written proof).
The ocean pool (known as a bogey hole) was cut out of the rocky foreshore around Laing’s Point, between Camp Cove and Watson’s Bay in the late 1800s. No one knows exactly when but local records from 1895 show the council spent 10 quid trying to deepen the pool and later build a changing shed. Two strapping local lads, Jack Graham and Reg Norton, did the dirty work.
At the time Jack and Reg got digging Sydney’s waters were fairly heavily shark infested, and the Victorians weren’t too fond of cage dives. This makes sense when you realize the nearby beach is called Shark Bay.
Back in the day ‘blood hungry’ sharks that caused too many problems in the harbour were reportedly caught and strung up for all to see at Watson’s Bay Wharf. These days it’s just the tourists who eat prawn cocktails at Doyle’s Restaurant who are hung out to dry. Ahem.
The outline of the pool is still possible to see, and if you squint your eyes you can see remnants of the changing shed (or it could have been a rock).
Either way this is hands down one of my favourite coastal spots in Sydney and despite the multi-million dollar real estate the view and walking trail is free to any pleb to enjoy. Bottoms up Jack and Reg.