This is one place that I will not be showing our friend Kari (KTanska) when he visits Sydney soon.
That's because McIver Baths are for women and children only. One of Coogee Beach's four ocean rock pools, the women-only custom goes back to the early nineteenth century when the pool was thought to have been a traditional bathing place for Aboriginal women. From the late 1820s white women also bathed here, and since the 1860s it has remained a women-only bathing area. There has been quite an uproar from many men in the community, when a few times in its history, organisations and individuals have applied to have the baths open to men but each time they were unsuccessful. A key objector to Randwick Council's 1946 proposal was the Mother Superior of the Brigidine Convent at Randwick. She said the nuns at her convent, any country nuns vacationing there and the 100 boarders at the Brigidine school would not be able to visit the baths if they were opened for mixed bathing.
The baths are named after Robert and Rose McIver, who began operating them in 1918 and developed them into the form they are today. With Mina Wylie, Bella O'Keefe and others, Rose McIver established the Randwick and Coogee Ladies Amateur Swimming Club in 1923. In the 1970s and 80s renovation work was completed, and in 1994 the pool was heritage-listed by the National Trust.
Today the pool attracts all types of women but is particularly popular with Muslim women, Pacific Islanders, older women, mothers with babies and young children and lesbians.
The entry fee is 20 cents.
Canon 5D MkII
Critiques | Translate
KristinsCamera (2373) 2014-01-13 20:17
very interesting. and yay! i would qualify to go with you if i can get myself to australia :)
it looks quite fascinating and you've captured in a nice almost mysterious light, reminding me a bit of scenes from iceland.
how on earth did you manage to shoot this w/o anyone around?
tfs & happy tuesday ~
jemaflor (93299) 2014-01-13 23:14
Nice view well presented, well composed with a Fg , I like too the blue tone and this soft light.
SnapRJW (31629) 2014-01-13 23:52
I like the idea of this women only pool Lisa. Here I could bathe without worrying whether my bum looks big in this! Your shot makes full use of the contrasting textural details here, both the man-made and the natural. Happy swimming. Rosemary
krzychu30 (15512) 2014-01-13 23:58
just love the perspective you´ve chosen and special mood you created.It looks so tranquil(in this case it´s great there were no other people).
But I like also color of the water and how it contrasts to the few street lamps in the far distance.
Wish You all the best
Noel_Byrne (29235) 2014-01-14 4:16
My name? Why I'm Noeleena.....yes, I swim here all the time...
Sergiom (73496) 2014-01-14 5:22
If only muslim women are using this pool, there is no need for the sign " diving prohibited".
These pool with sea water are not very frequent in Canada.Only a couple are still existing in the province of Quebec. It was a very good idea at the time.
Looking at the Australian Master in Melbourne I see that it is very warm at the moment with temperature over 100 degres. The answer is beer and shade.
Have a good one
Silvio1953 (136797) 2014-01-14 5:39
Ciao Lisa, gran bel posticino, ma se ho letto bene la nota io non ci posso andare, foto di gran qualità, splendida nitidezza e magnifici colori, brava, un abbraccio Silvio
rigoletto (34279) 2014-01-14 6:50
lol! noel is not fond of his vanishing words, but a one liner can be much more effective, no?
yes, indeed, deniz is also a unisex name and i can add my name to the list of bathers. futher if necessary, i can use a headscarf and shave my beard whenever i visit cooogeee. not to be observant of my environs, of course. only to be able to make such "electrifying" photos.
emka (91544) 2014-01-14 8:01
Ciao cara Lisa,
I am not a Muslim woman or mother with babies but I am ELDER woman, so why I didn't swim there? It is funny that such a secret pool exist, but it is rather small, like also the main pool in Coogee. Wonderful blue colour, rather unusual in your photos. Lovely stars on the beach. Is this the pool you learned swimming with your grandma?
Warm regrads Malgo
lousat (87202) 2014-01-14 10:09
Ciao Lisa,la foto è molto bella come sempre,realizzata con la tua consueta classe e qualita',davvero interessante pero' anche la lunga storia di questa piscina per sole donne che ancora oggi è rimasta un mito,mi sono letto tutte le note in inglese,ho fatto fatica ma mi interessava molto,complimenti! Buona serata,Luciano
photoray (13725) 2014-01-14 10:20
Interesting view, leading the eye down the steps into the natural infinity pool, with attractive geology setting.
In California we are going in the opposite gender direction with male transsexuals now permitted to use female school restrooms.
ikeharel (67245) 2014-01-14 11:24
I wish you could dismantle the sign for just a minute, Lisa, doing that the pic. would be even more stunning.
Fine shot, unique place, secret for laddies only, a punishment for men ?
Nice place, well shown and city across the bay just framing the photo.
carlo62 (43605) 2014-01-14 15:00
Silvio non può entrare con quella barbaccia, ma io probabilmente si, se poi mi metto il vestitino rosa....
Riesci sempre a creare bellissime sensazioni in presenza di acqua.
PS hai scritto "principe del mare"...lascia perdere, neanche a un maggiordomo posso paragonarmi. Comunque grazie :)
macjake (64768) 2014-01-14 15:37
nice to see a new photo posted from you...i sent you an email too today.
so you're getting a new visitor to your great large Island of Australia, thats cool...hope to see some pics of you guys...and i bet it'll be from a bar! lol
Hmmm, Australia seems to have a few of these rock-like pool areas, very unique looking I have to say - but maybe not to you though.
love the pic as it shows the not-too-often sides of Iconic cities or countries. great post for TE too, as it fits the theme of learning about the world around us.
I DO have one grudge though...and I hope i'm not going to get into trouble for saying this to you, or to the other hundreds of women who read this comment i'm about to make (not a good start is it....where's my defense layer lol)
Its a classic case of a double standard.
Keep in mind i'm not specifically talking about the subject in your photo, i'm speaking 'generally'.
its ok for women to have their own Gym (just one example)
but imagine the backlash if a gym opened up down the street and it says MEN ONLY...there would be a HUGE outcry from the female population, saying its sexist etc....and from the media in general.
Do you see where i'm going with this?
I think I should stop before i dig a deeper whole though right lol
Hopefully you get the point i'm trying so hard to make. double standards are a part of life I suppose, and depending on which side your on, male/female, its taken in completely different ways and emotions.
Anyways...hope all is ok on your end of the world
jcpix (13846) 2014-01-14 19:33
Good afternoon Lisa,
Hey, I'm crying foul on this one...discrimination, discrimination! Oh, wait...I still act like a child quite often...I'm in, right? :) I love these places that are rarely, if ever, seen anywhere but a forum like this. I don't imagine this is something found in any tourist guide book?? The originality and that local perspective goes a long way to strike interest and garner attention.
I would think that common sense would dissuade anyone from diving in the first place, but it must be posted for a reason, yeah? :/ Sublime turquoise colors, and a great idea to include just a touch of the distant shoreline for accent coloring. Now, what are you insinuating with your title? (I proclaim true to form as well! :)) Beauty shot, this has a very peaceful and calm mood about it. Be good you, take it easy.
Cheers from the top side,
danos (94310) 2014-01-14 23:32
a very nice historical site that decades years ago used only for women and children,taking their bathing.I like the place with the tranquility and the calmness of the place to be unique.I like the excellent presentation as the excellent light and colour management.
Waylim (25488) 2014-01-15 8:46
I guess we'll just have to see it through your lens than. In so many ways I think that is strange that there is such segregation. But than again, it allow women to enjoy it without the hassle of men around. Men can be annoying, except me :) I fit right in, gossiping...
This is lovely photo without any one in it gives a feeling of peace and tranquility. Love the soft glow of the light reflecting on the emerald pool. So inviting and welcoming.
parvatibb (1387) 2014-01-15 11:02
I love the kind of ice blue color. Ocean looks so calm and quite. A peaceful mood.
Enjoy your day.
Romano46 (18472) 2014-01-15 13:25
al di là della foto, che come tua abitudine è molto bella e curata in tutti i dettagli, trovo che il fatto di dedicare un luogo alla sola balneazione delle persone di sesso femminile più che un fatto di civiltà sia un elemento di regressione.
Mi tornano in mente i ristoranti in Iran che - quando ebbi modo di fare una visita in quel paese - avevano ambienti separati per uomini e donne ovvero una festa della circoncisione festeggiata all'aperto nella parte asiatica di Istambul nella quale i passanti che assistevano ai festeggiamenti di rito si erano divisi in maniera netta e ben visibile in due gruppi a seconda del sesso, non essendo evidentemente ammissibile per uomini e donne festeggiare insieme l'evento. Forse in Turchia i tempi sono mutati, ma in Iran credo che la situazione sia ancora quella di allora.
Mi spiace sapere che in Australia, che io giudico un paese molto moderno, ancora si facciano simili distinzioni.
williewhistler (16193) 2014-01-16 11:55
having carefully read your note if you think that I`m going in there with a load of kids splashing around you are mistaken,as for the rest of the users well..
I do enjoy the blue tones and innovative view point.
Kindest thoughts Les.
ourania (41292) 2014-01-21 10:21
Hello dear Lisa,
a beautiful composition of shapes, perspectives and fine, unusual colours. I like very much the vibrant arrangement of perspectives that shift our attention from one direction to the other all the time. There's great depth and superb, clear and contrasting textures. It's easy to think of the ways one could explore and relate to this place. How intriguing it is that the traditional use of this place has been kept in these days of free will and equality. The thin strip of the distant coast completes the composition delightfully and adds reference too. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a great day,
EstudioChispa (2164) 2014-01-23 11:20
All my life, I've been fascinated by "secret women's business," so your title drew me in like moth to flame. But Kristin's comment points out the most interesting part of this image -- the light! The tell-tale detail -- revealing that this is another of your long-exposure specialities! -- is the artificial light along the coast at the top of the frame. So where's the EXIF data? (or maybe that's secret, too?)
All my best,
COSTANTINO (62697) 2014-02-14 4:13
complicated scenery created a special mood
your useful notes explain this photo
in detail nice perspective adding depth