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The Ramsgate Baths was an innovative in-ground swimming complex opened in 1924 on Botany Bay by Mr A.A. Pemberton. The Baths was a hub for swimming, diving and socialising for 45 years until its demolition in 1970, and it produced such Olympic swimmers as Bruce Bourke, Gary Chapman and Neville Hayes. The Baths also underwent constant development by the owner, and at times featured dance halls, novelties like ‘penny scrambles’ and giant slippery dips, and even a zoo.

After years of research and oral history interviews, hear from local historian Dan McAloon as he traces the fascinating history of the Ramsgate Baths and restores its place in Sydney’s social and sports history.

Dan McAloon is a writer and journalist from Bardwell Valley, Sydney. Dan studied Australian History at UNSW under Frank Crowley and Patrick O’Farrell. In recent years his interests in local history saw him undertake primary research into swimming in Sydney, and in particular the once famous, now forgotten, swimming venue Pemberton’s Ramsgate Baths. In 2009, Dan’s essay ‘The Ramsgate Baths – a Short History’ won the Ron Rathbone Prize for an Unpublished Local History sponsored by Rockdale Council. Dan’s essays have appeared in ‘Reflections’ (National Trust) and The St George Historical Society’s journal. He is currently writing a book on the social history of the Ramsgate Baths, 1924 -70.

When: Wednesday 19 September 2018, 10:30am
Hurstville Museum and Gallery, 14 MacMahon Street, Hurstville
Cost: Free – register online
Contact:, 02 9330 6444
Hosted by Hurstville Museum and Gallery.

Proudly presented as part of the History Council of NSW’s Speaker Connect program for 2018, supported by Create NSW.

Image credit: A popular day at the Ramsgate Baths (L-R)Valerie Riddett, Bob McKew, Betty McKew, Nola Fletcher, 1939-1940, photo by Christine Gordon, courtesy Ramsgate Baths Archive.