Wylie's Baths, one of 66 sea pools in Sea Pools by Chris Romer-Lee-Lee and published by Batsford Books.

Sea Pools

Sea Pools, published by Batsford Books in August 2023 and authored by Chris Romer-Lee, features 66 saltwater sanctuaries from around the world. It also includes four essays including one by me on what sea pools mean to me and other people. Some of the sea pools featured in my essay are Wylie’s Baths, McIver’s Ladies Baths, Woonona Ocean Pool, Newcastle Ocean Baths and Coledale Ocean Pool. You can read the story here 

Sea Pools at Wylie's Baths, one of 66 ocean pools featured in the book.
An excerpt from Saltwater Sanctuaries 

‘Sea pools affect us, and they have the capacity to give us what we need: inspiration, a break from the world, a dose of saltwater, beauty – even love. 

‘That’s what Colleen Kelly found when she wagged school aged 12 and wandered into McIver’s Ladies Baths, the same pool where Lai Nguyen’s life was transformed. Inside she met a woman she calls Mrs C, who made space for her on the bench, gave her cake, wrapped her in a towel and rubbed her back. 

‘It was the first time I’d experienced love,’ says Colleen, who grew up in children’s homes. After that day, she went back each week until one night she was moved to another home far away from Coogee. 

‘But she never forgot Mrs C and the pool. When she retired, she reconnected by becoming a volunteer and a regular swimmer there. She says Mrs C saved her life and that memory of her helped her many times during difficult periods in her life. And now when she swims in the pool, she says it always gives her a hug.

‘It holds me, and I feel that lovely, gentle rocking motion and it takes me back to my original meeting with Mrs C and our beloved women’s pool.’

McIver's Ladies Baths Coogee


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