Sunday, 4 May 2008

Melbourne City Baths

I'm in Melbourne for a meeting, and taking the opportunity to visit a frend for the weekend. Yesterday I swam out the crinkles at the historical Melbourne City Baths. It was fabulous; I've been wanting to swim here for a long time. The pool is 30m in length, which is fairly unusual - they are more commonly 50m or 25m.

These beautiful Edwardian Baths started off as public baths (for washing) and urinals. After dereliction, and closure in 1899 they were re-designed and re-opened, to include two swimming pools, in March 1904. Men and women had separate entrances (the signs are still seen on the facade), and there were first class baths upstairs, and second class in the basement.There were also Turkish and vapour baths, a Jewish ceremonial bath - Mikvah bath and a laundry.Mixed bathing was introduced in 1947.In the 1980s, in disrepair, they were nearly closed, but were saved in 1983 by a public campaign and $4 million refurbishment.

My mum (now aged 79) tells me that when she was a young, single woman, workign in the city in the late 1940s/early 1950s, she used sometimes to use the washing facilities here after work, to freshen up beofre going out with a young man or friends.


  1. Knowing your passion for pools, I'm sure you had a ball! What an extraordinarly stylish pool!

    I guess the images will go straight into your pool blog to.

    Sally my post today is dedicated to you. When you get back from Melbourne, come on over for a visit!

  2. This is fascinating history. Your last photo really shows how huge this facility is.

  3. This is great Sally - Melbourne on Sydney Daily Photo! Do you swim every day?
    When I lived in Melbourne in the early 1980's I had a friend whose mother used to go to the Turkish Baths every Saturday.
    I wonder how many homeless people go there occasionally to freshen up?

  4. Wow! That pool looks so inviting. Great photos!

  5. That's some building. So glad it's been saved again and again as it's certainly a part of history that shouldn't be abandoned. Great story about your mum, too. Hope the crinkles didn't bother you after your swim -:)

  6. What a beautiful building. It must have been so nice to swim there!!