|The name 'Coogee' (pronounced as "could gee") seems to have been derived
from an Aboriginal word which means "bad smell". This would be of course
due to the decaying seaweed which is washed up onto the beach - even in
these modern times.
The original track which brought people to the Coogee Beach area back in 1832 would have followed the basic route nowadays taken by Anzac Parade and Alison Road.
In July 1838, the village of Coogee was gazetted with many of the streets in the district named after sea creatures. Today "Dolphin St., Neptune St., and Bream St.," still remain whilst it is understood that Coogee Bay Road and Arcadia Streets were later renamed from their original "Whale St" and "Fish St".
As surf bathing became more popular, so did the area gain fame and in 1907 the Coogee Surf Lifesaving Club was formed.
In 1928 an amusement pier - similar to those found at many English beaches - was constructed. It commenced at the promenade and reached over 180 metres into the sea, however heavy seas took their toll and the structure was demolished in 1934. Click here for a view of the beach with the pier still standing. See below for a link to more period photos.
Coogee was also famous for its large domed building at the northern end of the beach known as the "Coogee Beach Aquarium". This building with its pleasure gardens, sea water baths and restaurants attracted great crowds until it too was demolished for safety reasons. However in its place a new building with a similar appearance to the original now stands - offering arcades of shops, restaurants and entertainment venues.
In the late 1980's, the Randwick City Council embarked on a bold redevelopment of the Coogee seashore area. The resulting work along with the building of the 'Holiday Inn' nowadays the Crowne Plaza Coogee, and the refurbishment of the 'Coogee Bay Hotel', together with the newly built "Coogee Bay Boutique Hotel" extension , has given rebirth to the area as a major international holiday destination.
This tourist activity has also resulted in the appearance of a large number of 'Backpacker' style establishments, as well as a wide variety of cafes and restaurants - many with open air (pavement) seating.
The future will see further improvements to the foreshore area, with
the completion of coastal walkways and the proposed changes to the seaside
parklands and local shopping area streetscape are eagerly awaited by all.
|The Randwick City Council website has a large collection of historical photos including many from Coogee Beach and district. To access these, please click here and type in COOGEE AREA in the search box.|