1862 City Baths


A photograph of the original Melbourne City Baths in 1862. This building was replaced by the current City Baths building in 1904. The baths are still at 420 Swanston Street and you can use the baths' facilities.

By the 1850s the Yarra had become quite polluted and was the cause of an epidemic of typhoid fever, resulting in many deaths. The residents of Melbourne wanted a community bathing facility that was safe and open to everyone.

The Melbourne City Council opened the first Melbourne City Baths for public use at this location on 23rd December 1859, but after nearly 40 years of use they were closed in 1899 due to lack of maintenance of the building. 

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Photograph attributed to Charles Nettleton.

Notes from the State Library tell us that this photograph is "Looking across unpaved road on the corner of Swanston and Victoria Streets towards Melbourne Public Baths. Building constructed of brick with shallow flight of steps leading to corner entrance. Group of men standing on steps as a girl walks alongside fence. Sign above door reads: '1859 Public Baths'."

This is a digitally retouched reproduction of the original held by the State Library of Victoria. All prints are reproduced without the HOTPRESS watermarks.

Our team of conservators have worked on a high resolution digital image in order to remove blemishes and artifacts such as stains, mould, scratches and damage caused by the handling of the original. We strive to provide authentic representations of the original work that are suitable for enlargements that retain the tones and character of the original.

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