Charles Hamilton Macknight’s Turkish bath:
Dunmore, Victoria, Australia

Charles Hamilton Macknight’s Turkish bath
Photo (1983) by courtesy of Professor Campbell Macknight, great-grandson of Charles Hamilton Macknight

In 1866, Charles Hamilton Macknight built a Turkish bath house—which still survives—on his property, Dunmore, in the Western District of Victoria. In his diary, on 20 July that year, he recorded that he had taken his first Turkish bath in his new stone bath house.

Macknight’s great interest at that time was the breeding of merino sheep, despite the locality making them prone to attacks of fluke. But in the entry for 7 October 1867, he wrote that he had successfully run sheep through the bath, and ‘effectively killed the ticks at 180°.’

The squared, coursed bluestone two chamber structure was heated with a steam boiler, lined internally with timber, and enhanced with a Gothic portal and highlight window.

In 1978, the Turkish Bath House was registered as a historic building (no.3785) on the Australian Register of the National Estate. In a statement of significance, the bath house is considered to be 'perhaps unique in nineteenth century homestead development in Victoria and a manifestation of C H Macknight's preoccupation with personal health and fitness. This unusual steep roofed Gothic style structure survives as an idiosyncratic relic and a monument to the principles of prominent pastoralist, local politician and temperance advocate, Charles Macknight, who died in a bush fire in March 1873'.

Thank you icon

 

Campbell Macknight for his photo, and the quotations from his great-grandfather's journal

Susan Aykut for telling me about this bath and her helpful words to its owner

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Early Turkish baths for animals

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Victorian Turkish Baths: their origin, development, and gradual decline

 
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The right of Malcolm Shifrin to be identified as the author of this work
has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988