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Home > Heritage Themes > Peopling Australia - Aboriginal culture and interactions with other cultures

Peopling Australia
- Aboriginal culture and interactions with other cultures

Australia's indigenous people have seen several waves of migration reach Australia since 1788, when the First Fleet arrived to found a convict colony.

Because the NSW coast had been so long inhabited, even the apparently undisturbed 'natural' sites have been used and managed by humans for extended periods. Some 'natural' pools in national parks and less-developed parts of the coast still function as both fishing and swimming places.

Some of the NSW ocean baths occupy the sites of earlier Aboriginal fishtraps. Most of the ocean baths now popular as fishing spots are probably at sites that have been popular as fishing spots ever since there have been people along the NSW coast.

The popular term 'bogey hole' used to refer to a bathing place is said to derive from an Aboriginal language from the Sydney area. But the term 'bogey hole' also resonated with certain British traditions, which use the term  'bogey' to refer to a water sprite.

There have also been suggestions that the nineteenth-century colonial population followed established Aboriginal practices of segregated bathing at Sydney's Coogee when they designated:

  • the northern headland for men's bathing and eventually for formalised men's baths, and
  • the southern headland  for women's bathing and eventually for formalised women's baths. 

In the 1950s and 1960s, an Aboriginal Welfare Board program paralleled a number of other social tourism programs that brought inland children into contact with ocean baths and ocean pools. Several summer camps organised by the Aboriginal Welfare Board brought Aboriginal children from inland NSW to Sydney's Northern Beaches, where they visited the ocean baths. Children at the 1952 Aboriginal Welfare Board Christmas Camp held at the Salvation Army Camp at Collaroy swam in the Collaroy Rock Pool. Children at the 1966 Camp held at the Methodist Youth Centre at Elanora Heights were photographed at the North Narrabeen Pool.

Further Information
Relevant Regions
Sydney - Northern Beaches
Sydney - Eastern Suburbs
Relevant Pools
Newcastle - Bogey Hole
The Entrance Ocean Baths
Related Topics
Aboriginal people
Bogey hole
Fishing & fishtraps
Health & therapy


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