Located at the foot of Shepherds Hill in Newcastle, the Bogey Hole is said to be named after the Dharug word “bugi” meaning ‘to bathe’. It was originally referred to as the ‘Commandant’s Baths’, after it was hand-carved in 1819 from the rock platform by convicts for Major James Morisset as his personal swimming pool. (Morisset was the longest-serving Commandant of Newcastle, arriving in NSW with his regiment in 1817 and being appointed as commandant and magistrate at Newcastle in 1818)
Bogey Hole is listed on the NSW State Heritage Register, as one of the earliest known examples in Australia of a purpose-built ocean swimming pool. The pool is at the bottom of a steep cliff, and has been closed a few times due to the risk of rock falls and cliff collapse. Although most of the swimming hole consists of natural sandstone, a metal plaform and stairs provide access to the water.
Getting to Bogey Hole
The ocean bath is accessible via York Drive, which has parking along the road, as well as a small carpark at King Edward Park Lookout. From here you walk down to the pool, with a steep set of stair descending to the edge of the pool.
The natural pool is also on the Bathers Way, a coastal walk which stretches between Nobbys Beach to the north, and Merewether Beach at the southern end. This route also takes you along the Newcastle Memorial Walk.
- Visit NSW – Bogey Hole
- Traveller – Bogey Hole, Newcastle: Australia’s oldest sea baths were carved by convicts