Dalkeith Hot Pool
A cracked bore during construction of the Claremont Old Men’s Home in the 1920s resulted in the formation of the Dalkeith Hot Pool. Situated on the banks of the Swan River, the Pool was rife with larrikinism and public scandal - one reporter described it as a ‘boiling pot of sin.’
Nude bathing was cause for alarm, and carried a hefty fine for the day. In 1935 the first group of nude bathers was caught by police and fined. In 1947 a police sergeant stumbled upon three nude bathers at the Pool - a ‘domestic’, a ‘fireman’ and a ‘cleaner’. Each was charged five pounds, given there were so many people in the vicinity, and the group was also responsible for smashing beer bottles against the dressing room.
In 1937 a mother and daughter were taunted by a man perched on a rock, tattling about ‘what we do in Kalgoorlie to interfering old women who come along and spoil a good night’s fun’. The mother responded by casually pushing him off the rock into the water, where he landed on top of his nude friend. The newspaper report encouraged readers to keep an eye out on suburban clotheslines for a ‘dark serge suit hanging with unmistakable signs of having had a bath.
In the summer of 1938 three men returned to their car after a midnight swim at Dalkeith Hot Pool to find a watch, clothing and wallet stolen. The theft of swimmers’ clothing was not uncommon and caused significant distress, as one report in the Daily News describes:
That while bathing in one of the river baths recently someone purloined his pants. That having to wait while a pal procured him new apparel he had to break faith with his flapper.
In 1938 disgruntled residents of Dalkeith sent a letter to the Nedlands Council complaining of the ‘larrikinism’ that was taking place at the Hot Pool. The Pool was finally closed and drained in 1953 due to numerous complaints and the continued failure of the police to patrol the area. A majority of Perth swimmers were unhappy with the closure, as was Princess Margaret Hospital who had used the natural spring for medicinal purposes.