There’s lots of sitting, sunbaking and hanging around at Moree’s hot artesian baths in north-western NSW. The 38 and 40 degree pools are full of bodies; mainly ageing bodies seeking healing in the mineral rich artesian water.
Mature women mingle in their colourful cossies covering ample bosoms and broadening middles. Gold chains with crosses and emblems hang around their necks as they let the spray jets massage their arthritic limbs.
Their husbands with their hairy chests and moustaches are there too soaking up the curative powers of nature’s magic, and renewing friendships made from years of visiting the spa town.
The water in Moree’s two spa pools is drawn from the Great Artesian Basin, 900 metres underground. The mineral rich artesian water was discovered by Canadians, Crawford and McCray in 1895. While searching for a reliable source of irrigation water, they sunk a bore into the Great Artesian Basin.
Soon after, 2,700,000 litres of hot water gushed from a depth of 951 metres, flooding nearby stores and the newly constructed Victoria Hotel which still stands across from the pool today. Following the sinking of the bore, a makeshift pool surrounded with railway sleepers was constructed so that residents could start ‘taking to the waters.’
The natural artesian mineral waters are believed to have curative powers. Just ask Ana Bulic, who moved to Moree with her husband and two sons 27 years ago to be near the spa baths. Born in the former Yugoslavia, Ana says spending time in the hot water takes all her tiredness away and makes her feel very light, alive and energetic.
“I’ve had two hip replacements and a knee replacement,” says Ana. “If I didn’t come here I’d be bent over and terrible. But now I am like a 15-year-old!”
Stayed tuned for more on the history of Moree’s artesian baths and meet the ‘bard of the baths’.