We attended an information session yesterday organised by Andrew Ling from the LPMA, and the designers Steve and Barney Collins who took us through their rationale and draft plans to address the safety concerns for Newcastle’s historic Bogey Hole. They want to retain the wildness of the place, and fix up the slippery stairs problem by floating a walkway over the top of the original stairs, then curve around to a platform. It looked pretty good. More information and draft plans can be accessed here on the LPMA’s website – Restoration of safe access to Newcastle’s Bogey Hole . You have until December 10 to comment to firstname.lastname@example.org If you are interested in attending future info sessions email: email@example.com
Origins of the name ‘Bogey Hole‘
by Gionni Di Gravio
The Bogey Hole Baths, under Shepherd’s Hill, belonging to the Corporation, have been enlarged, deepened, and have an iron railing placed around them for safety. Major Morrissett, the second last Governor of the Penal Settlement, made the walk now so popular round the Upper Reserve or Horse-Shoe Bend. He was very fond of sea bathing, and had a hole excavated in the rocks, which he used as a bath. The place was for years referred to as a “Commandant’s Bath”. It was afterwards considerably enlarged and called the “Bogey Hole,” by which it has ever since been known.
– John Windross & J.P. Ralston. Historical Records of Newcastle 1797-1897. Newcastle, 1897. p.40
We haven’t found anything referring to the excavation of baths in Morrissett’s testimony to Commissioner Bigge, and neither would we expect it. It was probably a ‘foreign order’ for the Commandant’s pleasure to pull a number of convicts from another task to his private bath. I have asked NSW State Records to look into whether there exists any records of its original construction.
The earliest reference to it we have found (located in January 2012) is a Conrad Marten drawing dated the 13th May 1841 and held in the State Library of New South Wales. It was labelled “Morrisets Bath”.
Item 76 Morrisets Bath, Newcastle, 13th May 1841
from Sketches in Australia, 1835-1865 by Conrad Martens (1801-1878)
View Album: http://acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/item/itemDetailPaged.aspx?itemID=457268#
This drawing then enabled us to locate a mention of “Morriset’s Bath” in the Sydney Morning Herald for the 16th April 1851 p3:
Possessing a good climate and means of sea-bathing, Newcastle is much frequented by invalids and visitors during the summer season, and would be much more so were house-room less difficult to be procured, and the facilities of sea-bathing encreased ; some improvements to this end have lately been made. Formerly “the ladies’ corner” of the beach, and Colonel Morriset’s bath, were alone available for bath-ing purposes, but now a ladies’ bathing-house, which is much in request, has been constructed near to the breakwater on the harbour side. The city contains many good and respectable looking houses, although none of them can lay any claim to architectural beauty.
– See: Port of Newcastle http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/12926360
The earliest mention we have found thus far that in the newspapers as the ‘Bogey Hole’ is from as early as 1861. (Source: Trove)
A search through the meanings of ‘bogey’ prove quite interesting, as all are derivations refer to the supernatural.
bogey – In English folklore a horrible evil spirit or hobgoblin, usually big and black, who scares children. The “Bogey-Man” or “Boogie-Man” arrives at night and appears in bedrooms and at the sides of beds. In appearance the bogey often looks like the dark silhouette of a man. The bogey is called the bwg (ghost) in Welsh, bogle in Scotland, and Boggelmann in German. Among other names are bug-a-boo, boo, bugbear, bock, and boggart. The Irish puca is similar. Bogey also is another name for the DEVIL.
– Rosemary Ellen Guiley. The Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology. p.33
Bogy, bogey. is related to ‘bogle’ and ‘bug’. Earliest 19th century use as nickname for Satan. Hence the proverb bogey, the “colonel” at golf. Perhaps ultimately cognate with Puck.
Bug = Spectre from Welsh ‘bwg’, ghost.
Bogle [Archaic] spectre (c.1500) Probably from the Celtic cf. Welsh bwgwl, meaning terror.
– Weekley, Etymological Dictionary.
Bogey – probaby derived from the Slavonic bog meaning god.
Other forms of sprite, spectre or goblin are:
bog-a-boo, boo (Yorkshire)
boggart, bogle (Scotland)
boggle, begest, bar-gest, boll, boman and bogey allied to boll (Northern) – meaning apparition.
– Lewis Spence. Dictionary of Occultism
Colonel Bogey was the imaginary player in golf that the other players were supposed to compete with, instead of with one another.
The scholar who did the hard yards tracking down the etymological origins of the word ‘bogey’ appears to be John Fiske who published his work around 1872. His analysis appears on pages 141-143 of the edition below:
Myths and Mythmakers: Old Tales and Superstitions interpreted by Comparative Mythology by John Fiske.
Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1902.
He believes the “Bogie” to be identical with “Puck” and the Slavonic “Bog”, “Baga” of the Cuniform inscriptions, “Bhaga” of Old Aryan in the Sanskrit of the Vedas and “Bagaios” the Phrygian Zeus. It originally denoted an unclouded sun or noon day illumined by the solar rays.
In speaking of the origins of Buckle Street as an older trackway or road used in the sense of Bogle or Bogie, Harold Bayley says:
It was always the custom of a later race to attribute any great work of unknown origin to Bogle or the Devil, e.g., the Devil’s Dyke, and innumerable other instances.
-Harold Bayley, Archaic England pp. 518-519
The elemental Bog is the Slavonic term for God, and when the early translators of the Bible rendered ” terror by night ” as ” bugs by night ” they probably had spooks or bogies in their mind. In Etruria as in Egypt the bug or maybug was revered as the symbol of the Creator Bog, because the Egyptian beetle has a curious habit of creating small pellets or balls of mud. In Welsh bogel means the navel, also centre o/ a wheel, and hence Margaret or Peggy may be equated with the nave or peg of the white-rayed Marguerite or Day’s Eye?
The Bogey Hole is a special and sacred place that needs to be approached with respect like we would a holy grotto. It is a mysterious place that obviously had connections for our forebears as a place of ancient spirits and ghosts.
It has just dawned on me that perhaps the ‘Bogey’ or ‘Bogey Man’ is none other than Major Morrissett (King Lash) himself.