The illustrated cover shows a photo of the Moree Bore Baths and is addressed to The Town Clerk, Council Chambers, Tamworth. The red 1½d KGV head stamp is postmarked MOREE/ 1. 15 P 15 JL 26/ N.S.W. [Type 2 C (T) of Hopson & Tobin (Figure 1).
The reverse gives the details of the Moree Municipal Artesian Bore Baths For Rheumatism and Nervous Disorders, as follows:
Bore 2792 feet deep. Flow 590,000 gallons daily. Temperature 114 degrees Fahrenheit.
Analysis of Water in grains per gallon:
Total solid matter dried at 229 degrees Fahrenheit: 44.408 Sodium Carbonate 35.198
Potassium Carbonate Traces Calcium Carbonate 0.399 Magnesium Carbonate Traces
Sodium Chloride 6.733 Sodium Sulphate Absent Silica 1.624
Ferric Oxide and Alumina Traces
Expert Massage can be obtained.
Three-eighths Reduction of Railway Fare on both journeys if provided with Medical Certificate.
Modern Swimming Basins. Hot and Cold Showers.
Full particulars on application. All official communications to be addressed to the Town Clerk.(Figure 2).
Moree N.S.W. (population 10 000) is located in northern NSW, 628 km north-west of Sydney and 208 m above sea-level. It is the major town in an affluent shire noted for its rich black soil plains. Moree promotes itself as the ‘Artesian Spa Capital’. The town’s hot artesian spa bath complex, which has evolved from the Moree bore which was originally sunk to a depth of 850 m in 1895 to obtain irrigation water. Baths were soon set up (different days originally being allocated to the different sexes) and the local council began promoting the waters as a curative and a source of relaxation and replenishment – a tradition still carried on today. The bore ceased to flow in 1957 and is now worked by a pump.
Before white settlement the area was occupied by the Kamilaroi people whose descendants are still very much a presence in the town. The first European known to have visited the area was surveyor Thomas Mitchell in 1832.
Moree is perhaps the most famous of the many bores in the Great Artesian Basin system.
The Moree bore was sunk in 1895 by Canadians, Crawford and McCray and involved 40 foot Oregon poles being screwed together to turned the drilling head. When the Moree bore starting flowing on the 19th November 1895, 2,700,000 litres of hot water gushed from a depth of 951m flooding the nearby stores, including the newly constructed Victoria Hotel, which still stands across from the pool today.
Following the sinking of the bore, a pool was constructed on the site almost immediately using railway sleepers so residents could start “taking the waters”. The Moree Hot Artesian Pools opened to the public as a commercial concern in 1890 and for a princely sum of three pence (the equivalent of two cents) the locals could enjoy the reputedly healing waters. In 1913 two hot pools were developed with one for the exclusive use of the ladies, the other pool for the gentlemen. The addition of the cold water Olympic Pool and a grandstand to the Baths site in 1930 saw the admission price increase to six-pence.
In 1965 the Moree Artesian Pools became the centre of political and racial controversy when Charles Perkins the freedom riders visited Moree after hearing that Aboriginal people were not allowed into the baths complex. Following a public meeting, the community wholeheartedly supported the lifting of the colour ban.
A new bore, drilled to a depth of 868 metres was commissioned in 1999, with the original bore head still on display today at the entrance to the complex.