A pool with a figure 8 shape created by natural forces rolling boulders on soft rock. Associated with a well-established shack community at Burning Palms in the Royal National Park and highlighted as a swimming place in bushwalking guides to the Royal National Park, this pool is more significant as a landmark for rockfishers. Getting to this pool involves a scramble over rocks. Not ideal for children.
Near Burning Palms in Royal National Park, NSW, Australia
(Latitude South 34 degrees 11 minutes 38 seconds, Longitude East 151 degrees 02 minutes 20 seconds)
Shell middens show a long Aboriginal occupation of the National Park area and meals of shellfish and snapper. Members of Aboriginal communities in Sydney’s La Perouse and in Wollongong and along the south coast retain links to the Royal National Park area and its fishing spots.
Ex-convict Andrew Byrne ran cattle on a run from Burning Palms to North Era.
Late nineteenth century
Tracks from the railway stations at Waterfall, Helensburgh, Lilyvale and Otford down to the pastoral holdings on the coast became popular with bushwalkers and campers.
By the late 1880s, timbergetters working for the railway and the collieries had spread knowledge of the beautiful beaches at Bulgo, Era, Garie and Burning Palms. These beach areas became favoured picnic and holiday places for Helensburgh residents. While the Collaery and Byrne families allowed camping areas at no charge on their properties, other landholders charged rental fees to campers and actively encouraged camping at Burning Palms and South Era.
Burning Palms was named after bushwalkers set fire to cabbage tree palms on the headland during their New Year celebrations. This group of bushwalkers founded the Mountain Trails Club.
1911 to late-1920s
National Park trustees ran a truck and bus service from Audley and Waterfall railway station to Garie Beach, north of Burning Palms.
Bushwalking became a popular pastime and railways promoted day trips to the National Park for bushwalkers.
Burning Palms was a popular recreational area for both bushwalking clubs and for residents of Helensburgh, a nearby mining community.
By 1926, local miners had built a hut at Burning Palms.
Farm families sold food to Sydney-based bushwalkers from the 1930s. The number of shacks increased in the Depression years.
Before 1934, the Byrne family owned the northern headland of Burning Palms Beach, while the Collaery family had grazing rights over the Crown land behind the beach.
In 1934, all the Crown land from the Byrne land down to Otford Gap was incorporated in the Garrawarra Park. Bushwalking clubs then developed camps at Burning Palms Beach and some bushwalkers built shacks.
After a drowning at Era in 1938, surf clubs were established in the shack communities at Era and Little Garie in 1938 and at Burning Palms in 1939.
The Confederation of Bushwalking Clubs, the Mountain Trails Club and the Coast and Mountain Walkers agitated in 1949 to have ‘primitive areas’ set aside for bushwalking and conservation purposes
In 1950 the former Collaery and Byrne lands covering Little Garie, Era and Burning Palms, including the shacks, were incorporated into the National Park. Most of the shacks at Bulgo and Burning Palms had been built on land long popular for camping and most of the materials for the shacks had been carried in down long tracks and steep hills. Officially, no new shacks were to be built, but this policy was not enforced.
After Queen Elizabeth II visited Australia in 1954, the National Park was renamed the Royal National Park.
The National Parks and Wildlife Act passed management of the Royal National Park and the Garrawarra Park from park trustees to the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
The Australian Heritage Commission recognised the Burning Palms settlement covering the ‘area between the ridge ending in the Figure Eight pool in the south, the Burgh Ridge to Semi Detached Point in the south, the escarpment in the west and the coast in the east’ as important components of Australia’s cultural resources by listing them on the Register of the National Estate.