Swimming pool at the Cascades

The Cascades is located at the junction of Middle Harbour and Frenches creeks inside Garigal National Park. Here both creek beds open from narrow winding channels onto wide expanses of potholed and weathered sandstone. It’s a picturesque and popular location with 3 well maintained fire trails leading into the area from Belrose, Davidson and St Ives.

In another exchange with John I learned that the Cascades has an interesting history. As a depression era work project a dam wall was built at the base of one of the two large natural pools to create a large public swimming pool. John sent a photo of how it looked when it was in operation. It reminds me of the ocean pools that occupy the rocky headlands of the nearby northern beaches.

Cascades pool at St Ives. 1934. During it’s use it was known as Bungaroo pool, however Bungaroo is several Kms downstream. ( photo from Trove http://trove.nla.gov.au/picture/result?q=+bungaroo+pool&l-format=Photograph)

Today the wall has been washed away, but the remains are clearly visible, along with some other structures and artifacts from it’s time as a public swimming pool.

The upper pool at the Cascades
Remains of the pool wall that kept the water in.
I tried to take this photo at the same location as the 1934 one. There were some large trees blocking the view, this is the best I could get
The Ladies Room – See the inscription in the rock at the lower left. Could this have been the ladies change room, or toilet? There was a small bowl carved out of the rock slab inside the cave.

During it’s time there was a public road leading down to the pool, it must have been a very tough journey, especially for the cars of the day. It was notorious enough that it was used as a test for several new model cars being reviewed in the Sydney Morning Herald‘s Motoring section in the mid 1930’s.

The “One Twenty” Packard
The eight cylinder Hudson
The eight cylinder Hupmobile
6 cylinder, 1936 Auburn

“On the freak hill at Bungaroo swimming pool, near St. Ives, the car gave a good demonstration of its ability to climb, without wheel-spin, as nasty a slope as any motorist might encounter.” – Motoring, SMH Dec 24th, 1935


Do you know anything about “Bungaroo Pool” at the cascades? I’d love to hear from you.

6 thoughts on “Swimming pool at the Cascades

  1. I am helping my daughter with her Geography project on the Cascades and we have been looking for old photographs of the Cascade pool so it was great to come across yours. Do you know if there are any others or any more information on the history of this area?

  2. Hi Yvonne, The old photo is from the National Library of Australia’s Trove website and can be found here. I’ve updated the caption to reflect this. I don’t know of any other photos of the pool, I’d be keen to see them myself!

    According to this short history document there was an article in the Sydney Mail on the 7th March, 1934 titled “The Secret of Bungaroo” “This article described a new weir across Middle Harbour Creek at Bare Creek Junction and a new access road to the weir from Douglas Street, East St. Ives. This construction was financed by unemployment relief money given to Ku-ring-gai Council. The map accompanying the article shows “Bungaroo Swimming Pool” at the junction of Bare Creek and Middle Harbour Creek and describes the area as Bungaroo.” I’ve not found this article but it sounds like it would shed some more light.

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