It only costs 20 cents to get into McIver’s Baths, a lovely sea pool nestled in a protected curve of the coast at Coogee. There’s no turnstiles or reception desk at this peaceful place so making a contribution relies on honesty and trust.
Reserved for women and children only, no men are allowed at this pool. This custom goes back to the early nineteenth century when the pool was thought to have been a traditional bathing place for Aboriginal women. From the late 1820s white women also bathed there, and since the 1860s it has remained a women-only bathing area. A few times in its history, organisations and individuals have applied to have the baths open to men but each time they were unsuccessful. A key objector to Randwick Council’s 1946 proposal was the Mother Superior of the Brigidine Convent at Randwick. She said the nuns at her convent, any country nuns vacationing there and the 100 boarders at the Brigidine school would not be able to visit the baths if they were opened for mixed bathing.