The pools have been publicly owned since 1883 when the Government Lands Department took over the development of the Thermal Pools area. The Government Lands Department excavated the main bathing springs to create swimming pools; one was fenced for privacy and protection from the wind. An area of two hectares was enclosed around the springs. Segregated nude bathing was the order of the day in the early years and hoisting the appropriate clothing (skirt or trousers) up a pole to indicate the gender of the moment controlled this. Later, of course, separate pools were introduced and, finally, mixed bathing – clothed of course! The first bathhouse built consisted of four private baths each measuring 2.4 x 0.6 metres. The pools have grown from a simple bathing area to a multi-million dollar attraction that is still in public ownership, under the Hurunui District Council.
Hanmer Springs The Bath Houses
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