Ghost pool. Bermagui’s Horseshoe Bay once had a round bathing pool created by lightly binding rocks together with cement.
(Image taken on 3 April 2004.)
Lamont Street, Bermagui. NSW, 2546, Australia
(Latitude South 35 degrees 25 minutes 33 seconds, Longitude East 150 degrees 04 minutes 42 seconds)
The Yuin people were the earliest inhabitants of the Bermagui area.
Late nineteenth century
Bermagui became a shipping port and the town grew around the wharf. The Horseshoe Bay Hotel dates from 1895 making it one of the oldest buildings in Bermagui.
Bermagui’s Horseshoe Bay Hotel, claimed to be ‘the Premier Guest House on the South Coast of NSW’.
Visitors camped on the flat in front of the Horseshoe Bay Hotel and the recreation ground. Horseshoe Bay was equipped with a bath house for ladies on the beach behind the old shipping wharf. Its northerly aspect meant was Horseshoe Bay was considered a safe beach, without the deep southerly swell that affects nearby Beares Beach.
Mumbulla Shire Council approved a contribution of 20 pounds toward the construction of public baths at Bermagui South and to support any application the Bermagui South Swimming Baths Committee made to the NSW Department of Public Works for a grant. Dances were held to raise funds for the pool, which appears to have been the first ocean pool constructed at Bermagui, sited near the Ladies changing-shed between the steamer wharf and the beach.
This Horseshoe Bay pool, created by lightly binding rocks together with cement, was completed by the end of 1928. Photographs show it was a round bathing pool rather than a pool for training or competitive swimming.
Mumbulla Council was asked to take over control of the public baths at Bermagui South and appoint inspectors. Council asked the Bermagui South and District Association and the Bermagui South Swimming Baths Committee to nominate two men each to serve as bathing inspectors.
As the village of Bermagui was ‘becoming increasingly popular with tourists, particularly from inland districts’, it was proposed to make further provision for summer camping. About 50 people in Mumbulla shire were on unemployment relief.
The capture of a 232-pound (105 kilo) black marlin off Montague Island in 1933 triggered a flurry of fishing activity, that established Bermagui (close to the edge of Australia’s continental shelf) as a leading centre for big-game fishing.
International author and angler Zane Grey’s camp site at Bermagui was further developed and named the Zane Grey Camping area in his honour. Trustees were appointed to manage the camping area.
Advertisements for the O’Shea’s Hotel Bermagui in the Bermagui Big Game Anglers Club Newsletter mentioned that an ‘enclosed swimming pool within 50 yards of the hotel’ was ‘available for ladies and children’.
Later 20th century
Both the pool and the shed were later washed away in high seas. The steamer wharf no longer exists.