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Listed under:  Health  >  Physical activity  >  Sports  >  Water sports  >  Life saving
Listed under:  Society  >  Social services  >  Emergency services  >  Life saving

Australian surfboat used by North Curl Curl lifesavers, 1972

This is a single-ender surfboat, the Nola Hubbard, constructed in 1972 in New South Wales and used by the North Curl Curl Surf Life Saving Club. It is made of cedar, silver ash and plywood, and has a brass keel band. The unused oars shown here are stored on top of four wooden bench seats. The name has been painted in yellow ...

Moving Image

Surfies, clubbies and a changing way of life

What effect did the rise of surfboard riding and its accompanying surf culture have on surf lifesaving? In the early 1960s, surf lifesaving was regarded as a model of the values that underpin the Australian way of life. This clip from 1964 explores the collision between the new surf culture and the traditions of the surf ...


Thrill of the Surf, 1949: Surfing, a national sport

This black-and-white clip shows surfing on Sydney's Bondi Beach in 1949 and includes scenes of surfboard building, surfers riding the waves towards the shore on the long surfboards popular at the time, surf ski riders and a rescue by surf-lifeguards. Final footage includes close-up action shots filmed alongside riders in ...


Australians at the beach, pre-1930

This is a collection of 24 digital curriculum resources focusing on Australians at the beach before 1930. It includes paintings, photographs and swimsuits along with numerous examples of archival film footage showing people enjoying the beach in the early 20th century. The collection is organised into periods - early 1800s, ...


Lifesavers at Bondi Beach

This is an excerpt from a silent documentary film made in 1929 by the Australian Migration and Development Commission entitled 'Sons of the surf'. It shows people on a beach, with lifesavers keeping watch after the introductory intertitle, 'Where the sport is keenest, danger often lurks, and a voluntary corps of trained ...


A beach rescue in 'Sunshine Sally'

This is a frame blow-up from the 1922 silent era film 'Sunshine Sally'. It shows a beach scene with surf lifesavers rescuing Sally from the surf at Coogee Beach in Sydney, New South Wales, using the reel and line method.


Beach at Surfers Paradise, 1959

This is a black-and-white photograph of a beach at Surfers Paradise, Queensland. Taken in 1959, it shows people relaxing on a beach with some watching a surf lifesaving boat being launched. About two dozen swimmers can be seen swimming in a group in the background.


Palm Beach in 1924

This is an excerpt from a 1924 silent documentary about the Hawkesbury River, north of Sydney, New South Wales. It opens with the intertitle 'The entrance of the Hawkesbury, showing Barrenjoey lighthouse and Lion Island'. This is followed by an elevated north-facing view of Palm Beach, Barrenjoey Head and lighthouse and ...


Women surf lifesaving competitors, 1956

This is a black-and-white photograph of women from the Narrabeen Surf Life Saving Club in a march-past on Manly Beach in 1956.


Geelong, 1950s - asset 3

This is a clip from a colour documentary made in 1957 by the Shell Film Unit. It shows the growth of Geelong from a small settlement to a major seaport, to become Victoria's second city. It shows surfboats coming in on a wave, people playing in the sea watched by members of the Torquay Surf Lifesaving Club, and yachts on ...


Australia Today - Man-Eater, 1939: 'Silent terror of the deep'

This clip shows lifesaving practices on a busy Sydney beach in the 1930s, and includes an intertitle describing sharks as the 'silent terror of the deep'. Footage of lifesaving equipment on the beach is shown as the narrator describes the beach, lifesaving practices and the dangers of the surf. Towards the end of the clip ...


Life Savers, Cryst-O-Mint Flavour, 1925: Lifesaving

This clip shows a silent black-and-white cinema advertisement for Life Saver sweets. It opens with a shot of a poster advertising Life Savers. The remainder of the poorly conserved footage comprises the narrative of a rescue from the water of a woman who has feigned drowning in order to attract the attention of a male lifesaver. ...


Bondi Rescue, 2006: A major medical emergency

This clip shows reality television footage of lifeguards conducting an emergency resuscitation on Bondi Beach in Sydney. In the first scene lifeguards are posing for a promotional shoot when a Japanese student, Takahiro Ono, is noticed floating unconscious in the surf. The lifeguards spring into action. Placing Ono on the ...


Bondi Rescue, 2007: The aftermath

This clip shows lifeguards at Sydney's famous Bondi Beach discussing their reactions after a man drowns at the beach. Scenes of the lifeguards coming off duty after the drowning are interspersed with interviews with three lifeguards. Blake McKeown, a young trainee, speaks of the personal impact of the tragedy; Andrew Reid ...

Interactive Resource

Sites2See: Surf safety

A webpage about surfing safety, dangerous waves and rips, and the history and science of surfing. A 'For Kids' section provides games and quizzes for young swimmers and surfers.

Moving Image

Popular culture post-war

In post-war Australia, cultural changes - like the popularisation of surfing and rock 'n' roll, and a sexual revolution - took hold. Meet the 'teenager'.