While British seaside tourism was not focused on the charms of sea baths, ocean pools or surf beaches, some surf beaches in the United States and in the Australian colonies were becoming popular tourist destinations. A few ocean pools were in use in the colony of New South Wales.
Australian colonies – New South Wales
During the convict-era of colonial New South Wales, Sydneysiders were more likely to bathe and swim in the harbour or in harbour pools than venture out to the surf beaches for a summertime dip. Ocean pools were, however, already in use in at Newcastle and Wollongong.
The Newcastle pool, initially known as Commandant’s Bath or Commandant’s Hole and later as the Bogey Hole offered a refuge from the summer heat and humidity and provided a satisfyingly large private venue to enjoy the pleasures of bathing in a world of rock and water at the bottom of a cliff, away from the convict settlement’s noisy, busy harbour or the more public river baths. The Bogey Hole pool was an exclusive rather than a convivial place, not intended as a facility for tourists, families or the general public, all of whom were scarce in 1820s Newcastle.
By the 1830s, the women and children of Wollongong had their own bathing pool sited on the surfcoast beyond the harbour, while Wollongong’s male bathers bathed and basked on a more public rock platform nearer the town. Those Ladies Baths were strongly promoted as a tourist attraction in the 1840s, when Wollongong sought to establish itself as a seaside resort for Sydneysiders.