In the mid-20th century, young nuns in the local Mercy Convent swam freely in a natural rock pool off Shelley Beach in Cronulla, south of Sydney. It became known by the locals as the nun’s pool.
Now, in the 21st century, “The Nun’s Pool” is also the name of a wonderful contemporary restaurant across the park from this once hallowed swimming spot.
The link and point of interest for me is in more than just the name!
My soon to be 86 years-old Aunt Monica is one of those nuns, who played like girls in the water of the rock pool in the early 1950’s. Although, on visiting her today in the Stella Maris Convent where she now lives in retirement, she tells me “I never stayed in the rock pool. It was boring. I swam out to sea!”
Young Anthony, the owner of “The Nun’s Pool” is a friend of mine, from his earlier days at the Grand National in Paddington. He always greets me with a welcoming smile and sends me away with cappuccino and homemade cake for Aunty Mon, and also Aunt Bobbie, who lives in the same home.
Father Frank from Berlin came with me for the drive today and we enjoyed a delicious corned beef sandwich with pickled onions, and a wonderful insalata caprese with my favourite oxheart tomatoes. I won’t mention the fig, walnut and cinnamon tart because I am still on my diet.
I enjoyed the blog and the opening picture with Mon as a young girl and then her early years as a nun was perfect . I may be wrong but i thought Stella Maris was not a convent but a hostel/nursing home. It was a convent originally. ?? Love Julie
So good to see you again, always a treat.
Thankyou so much for the review. Very enjoyable.
Is this a hobby for you or are you doing it as a little business?
Aunty Mon once said “Michael knows everyone from the Pope to the devil” and I’m inclined to agree. I can’t believe that way out in the depths of the Sutherland Shire you have discovered someone you know (beside relatives) … at The Nun’s Pool. What an appropriate place to take Father Frank and if I didn’t know better I would have thought that your friend had the wine glasses with their crosses etched into them specially chosen for their religious diners.
In answer to Julie’s question, yes, Stella Maris was once a girls’ high school (OLMC- Our Lady of Mercy College- Cronulla) and many thought it was more like a ladies finishing school. I can still remember it’s tennis court and old wooden buildings, not that I went there. As it outgrew it’s accommodation the school was moved to Burraneer (where I attended) on the site of a former country club. Not only did it have a tennis court but also two bowling greens and a swimming pool. In spite of all this ‘luxury’ for a high school it is still known locally as ‘the pig farm’ (it’s original use).
When I was in Primary School at Holy Cross, Woollahra, we were taken to a pool at Cronulla for our annual picnic. Could this have been the same pool?
I haven’t seen Aunty Mon since Julie’s wedding. I must go and visit her next time I am in Sydney, which will be at the end of March.
Your photos are great.
Lots of love,