A brief history of the one and only, Coogee

January 27, 2017
A brief history of the one and only, Coogee

As a long term resident of our beautiful seaside 'village' we have surely become a part of Coogee's rich history, well it's more recently history that is, but did you know some of the raw truths behind our colourful community that have been shielded from us all these years?

Firstly, we are sure that many of our other long term residents would be well aware of the non-communicated and somewhat humorous meaning behind our beloved name Coogee. Originating from the traditional owners of this land Coogee was adapted from the Aboriginal word meaning 'bad smell'. Living on these beautiful shore fronts since 1994 we can definitely vouch for this meaning and say that sometimes it surely does prove to be true. But not to worry we are only introduced to this lovely smell of decaying seaweed rarely nowadays. 

Dating back to 1835 Coogee was only accessible by a rough track following the now known route down Alison Road from ANZAC parade. This track became the main route down to our glorious beach and has evolved with each passing era. Used by nothing short of horse and cart to old city trams connecting Sydney's CBD and now still a popular route amongst our car ridden community. 

One insight that many tourists are blissfully unaware of is that Coogee once did not boast a clear and open bay of calm waters, but rather somewhat mirrored the looks of Santa Monica (USA) or Brighton (UK) with its now non-visible amusement pier smack bang right in the middle of our crystal blue beach. This now non-existent pier was completed in 1928 and stretched 180m into the sea and featured a theatre, ballroom, restaurants and shops. Demolished in 1934 due to damage from rough seas. Some remains of the structure can been seen following intense weather. 

Finally, a more shocking development that rippled through our Coogee community back in the day was the murder investigation into the missing man James Smith, after his arm was regurgitated by a tiger shark. Yep, a tiger shark was trapped in Coogee and got the ball rolling behind this still unsolved murder mystery. 

However, what definitely hasn't changed is it stunning charm, soft golden sand and glowing appeal to the local and tourist alike. 

- Beachbolt, 2016
- Coogee Chambers of Commerce, 2016
- Dictionary of Sydney, 2015
- Maximos' Blog, n.d.



62 Carr St

Coogee Beach NSW 2034

telephone (02) 9665 5546

Open 7:00 am – late daily

If you would like to make a booking, please call us or fill the form below.