St Clair Baths

St Clair Baths Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

Further along the Esplanade from the Shark Bell is the St Clair Salt Water Pool. First dug out by the Caversham Council in 1883, the baths proved so popular with school children and families, the pool was enlarged and officially opened by the mayor the following year. As the pool continued to grow in popularity, a few years later a petition was presented to have the baths enlarged and to provide better facilities for females. Following this petition a discussion group was formed, and after looking into the requirements for men and women (who had to bathe separately) two options were suggested. One, restricting women’s bathing hours, or two, ladies bathing in a different place. The ladies of course weren’t forced to move to a different location, however decency laws meant that men and women had to use the baths at separate times. Over the next 100 years, the pool was lengthened, deepened, concrete was added, it was repaired, facilities added, facilities were upgraded, heating was added and men, women and children were all allowed to use the pool at the same time. Today the pool is an iconic feature of Dunedin and the Esplanade which is opened yearly from October to March. 

To think, it all started from a hole in the ground.

One thought on “St Clair Baths”

  1. I had 1st visit there non swimming looking after pram and belongings and then getting coffee etc this year and was very impressed Might make it my goal to swim there some warm morning in the summer without any other commitments?!

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