Henry Alexander Wylie, a champion long distance, and underwater swimmer established Wylie's Baths in 1907. Wylie’s daughter Wilhelmina, along with Fanny Durack, were Australia’s first two female Olympic swimming representatives. The first gold and silver swimming medals for a women’s event in the history of the Olympics went to Durack and Wylie respectively.
To begin work on the Baths, Wylie obtained a special lease below the highwater mark. The construction of the Baths coincided with Sydney’s emerging interest in seaside pools at the turn of the century. The Baths were one of the first mixed gender bathing pools in Australia and one of the last surviving examples of a venue which was common throughout Sydney. The Baths are associated with the first public recreation facilities in the Coogee area.
On 5th November 1959, the lease for the Baths was transferred to Mr Desmond Selby, who renamed the Baths “Sunstrip Pool“. In the mid seventies storms and high seas damaged the baths, resulting in their temporary closure. In 1978 they were reopened under the control of Randwick Council and renamed Wylie's Baths. From that time the coordination of the Baths was undertaken by a Community Management Committee.
In 1994, a major renovation was undertaken by architect Keith Cottier in collaboration with Randwick City Council. Whilst aspects of the site have been upgraded and adapted to meet the needs of a modern community, every effort has been made to retain the historical integrity and the spirit of the original facility.
In October 1996 Wylie's Baths Trust was appointed to manage the Baths.
Wylie's Baths has been classified by the National Trust of Australia (NSW Division).
For the full written and pictorial cultural history of Wylie's Baths, you can purchase "A Century of Wylie's Baths Coogee" from the Kiosk, or just visit our Merchandise section!