The Bogey Hole is an icon of our city. Loved by locals and visitors alike it is a popular swimming spot and is accessible from King Edward Park. The Bogey Hole provides a spectacular vantage point from which to view the dynamic Newcastle coastline. It is the oldest ocean pool on the east coast of Australia.
The Bogey Hole was hand-hewn out of a wave cut rock platform by convicts for Major James Morisset, in 1819 for his personal use. Whether this work represented the enlargement of a naturally occurring rock pool used by Aboriginal people is not known. There is no record of how long it took to construct the pool but it was likely to have been finished by the time Morisset left Newcastle in November 1823.
As Morisset was the longest serving Commandant of Newcastle, the pool was originally referred to as the 'Commandant's Baths'. The name 'Bogey Hole' came into regular usage sometime after, and is said to come from the Dharawal word meaning 'to bathe'.
The Bogey Hole is situated at the foot of Shepherds Hill, or as it was known in the 1820's "sheep pasturage hill". Geologically, the rock in the area is sandstone/conglomerate typical of the coastal areas of the Hawkesbury Sandstone deposit on which Newcastle was built. The rock is considered reasonably hard, although rock falls from the cliffs have damaged the baths and its surrounds on several occasions.
In 1863, control of the bath passed to the Newcastle Borough Council for public use. It was then enlarged by Council and catered mainly for male swimmers, with women being permitted only at set times. Since 1863, a collection of changing sheds and other facilities have come and gone. The pool was substantially enlarged in 1884 to its present size.
The Bogey Hole is listed on the NSW State Heritage Register in recognition of its importance in the course of NSW's history. Potentially the place has national significance as the earliest known example in the whole of Australia of a purpose-built ocean swimming pool.
Note: The care and control of the Bogey Hole no longer rests with The City of Newcastle. The NSW Government is responsible for ongoing maintenance and future planning for the site.