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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2007  
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Contents >> Surf Lifesaving - An Australian icon in transition

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Image: Surf Lifesaving - An Australian icon in transition
SURF LIFESAVING - AN AUSTRALIAN ICON IN TRANSITION


    Caroline Ford, Chris Giles, Danya Hodgetts and Sean O’Connell

    Caroline Ford
    Is a history research assistant for Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA).
    Chris Giles
    Is the National Development Manager for SLSA.
    Danya Hodgetts
    Is a lecturer in Sport Management at Central Queensland University.
    Sean O'Connell
    Is National Communications Manager for SLSA where he is responsible for all internal and external communications.


    This surf lifesaver adorned carnival programmes throughout the 1950s and 1960s.This surf lifesaver adorned carnival programmes throughout the 1950s and 1960s.


    AN ICON COMES OF AGE

    Sunday, 6 February 1938, a day on which five people drowned and hundreds more were rescued at Sydney's Bondi Beach, has been recognised as one of the most deadly and dramatic days in the history of Australia’s modern beach culture. It was also a day on which the importance of the Australian surf lifesaving movement became starkly evident, for without the presence of lifesavers on the beach, the death toll would likely have been much higher.

    There had been rough seas throughout that day, with on-going warnings to bathers. Several minor rescues had occurred at Bondi, with many more at nearby Maroubra, and a drowning on Newcastle Beach. (End note 1) At mid-afternoon, with close to 30,000 people at Bondi, a series of three or four large heavy waves swept towards the beach in quick succession, washing around 200 bathers off a destabilised sandbank and into the strong channel - what we today call a ‘rip’.

    Fortunately, there were many surf lifesavers on the beach at the time, who quickly began the considerable task of rescuing those in trouble. Using seven belt and reels (the most common form of rescue equipment from 1907 to the 1970s), alongside surf skis, rubber floats, or their own prowess in the surf, they responded immediately. (End note 1) Witnesses recounted the way panic-stricken bathers hampered the rescue effort in the water, grabbing onto and overloading the beltmen. Panicked crowds who were trying desperately to find their missing loved ones, or to help, added to the confusion, making the scene on the beach just as chaotic. A human chain had to be formed to hold back the crowds from those who were being resuscitated on the sand.

    By all reports, the water was clear of bathers within about 15 minutes, but the resuscitation work on the beach continued for some time. While ambulances had been summoned, doctors who had been part of the crowd or who lived nearby were also called to assist. At the end of the day, dozens had been successfully resuscitated, two were recovering in hospital, and four were known to be dead. A fifth body was later found in the surf.

    A visiting American, Dr Marshall W. Dyer, who assisted on the beach, said:

    'I have never seen, and I never expect to see again, such magnificent work as was done by those lifesavers. It is the most incredible work of love in the world. Just imagine those men all going into the water without a moment’s hesitation, risking their lives and all for love. In America, all our lifesavers are paid….yesterday’s rescue was the most amazing I have ever seen.' (End note 2)



    Collage from the Daily Telegraph, 7 February 1938.Collage from the Daily Telegraph, 7 February 1938.


    Following the incident, the term ‘Black Sunday’ was coined by the Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club (SBLSC) captain, Carl Jeppeson, in his initial statements following the incident, as published in The Sydney Morning Herald:

    'It was our ‘Black Sunday’. The club has been in existence for 30 years and these are the first deaths since we have had patrols on the beach.' (End note 2)

    On Black Sunday, one of the largest mass rescues in Australian beach history took place. But while it was unique in that a number of lives were lost, the actions of these surf lifesavers risking their lives to save others is not exceptional. In recognition of their courageous efforts, members of the Bondi SBLSC received a group Meritorious Award from the (then) Surf Life Saving Association of Australia (now known as Surf Life Saving Australia, or SLSA), yet this award is just one of over 350 which have been issued by SLSA since 1922. (End note 3) In the 80 years since records have been kept, Australian surf lifesavers have rescued more than 500,000 people and for every rescue surf lifesavers perform there are many more 'preventative actions' warning people of potential dangers which also help to avert possible drownings.

    Since 1990, when more accurate record-keeping began, the number of rescues by surf lifesavers has fluctuated between 8,000 to 10,000 each season. There are a number of reasons for these fluctuations, mainly relating to seasonal conditions. For example, if a period of unusually hot weather corresponds with rough seas, there will be more rescues. Lower temperatures and benign seas will generally lead to fewer rescues. Preventative actions have generally increased over that time, possibly due to better training of surf lifesavers and increased reporting (table S1).

    S1 PREVENTATIVE ACTIONS AND RESCUES BY SURF LIFESAVERS

    Year
    Preventative actions

    Total rescues
    no.
    no.
    Rate(a)

    1990-91
    8,737
    55,212
    6.32
    1991-92
    10,283
    47,952
    4.66
    1992-93
    8,366
    67,382
    8.05
    1993-94
    9,918
    105,418
    10.63
    1994-95
    11,454
    90,073
    7.86
    1995-96
    12,295
    140,578
    11.43
    1996-97
    11,158
    143,983
    12.90
    1997-98
    11,136
    151,408
    13.60
    1998-99
    12,948
    191,261
    14.77
    1999-00
    10,226
    253,385
    24.78
    2000-01
    11,813
    289,139
    24.48
    2001-02
    11,837
    200,327
    16.92
    2002-03
    9,448
    164,612
    17.42
    2003-04
    9,044
    171,428
    18.95
    2004-05
    12,232
    251,120
    20.53
    2005-06
    10,775
    295,055
    27.38

    (a) Number of preventative actions per rescue.
    Source: Surf Life Saving Australia.

    AN ESSENTIAL COMMUNITY SERVICE

    There is a sad irony in the fact that the tragedy of Black Sunday took place on Bondi Beach, for it was that very same location where, almost 31 years to the day, a group of men formed Bondi SBLSC, the first of many clubs which now make up the unique Australian humanitarian organisation known as SLSA. The story of how those clubs joined together with common purpose and evolved into an organisation with more than 110,000 members across over 300 clubs who rescue more than 10,000 swimmers each year is a story of how Australians came to embrace the fact the country is indeed ‘girt by sea’. But just as crucial as the role Australian surf lifesavers have played in making the beach a safe environment, is their contribution to the volunteer movement in Australia. Indeed, the history of SLSA exemplifies the way Australians have embraced the concept of volunteerism. Today, SLSA is a growing non-government organisation (NGO) with a small team of professional staff, and volunteers playing the key role in the governance of the organisation, in addition to patrolling the nation’s beaches.

    In 2005, an independent economic study conducted for SLSA found that if not for the presence of surf lifesavers on Australian beaches, 485 people would drown each year and 313 would be permanently incapacitated as a result of accidents in the surf. Such a figure would represent an unprecedented disaster, and lead to calls for immediate intervention, particularly as the actual coastal drowning rate is around 60 each year. The fact that this carnage is averted is one explanation for the iconic status of Australia’s surf lifesavers - the volunteers in red and yellow who have kept beaches safe for 100 summers.

    In recognition of the centenary of surf lifesaving in Australia, 2007 has been officially declared the Year of the Surf Lifesaver. This occasion will provide a platform to engage the broader community by telling the story of how this uniquely Australian movement has evolved from its modest origins on Sydney’s beaches in the late-1890s and early-1900s to become the country’s major water safety and rescue organisation, and an exporter of innovative lifesaving techniques around the world.

    ORIGINS - FROM A HANDFUL OF SYDNEY BEACHES

    Australia’s first surf lifesaving clubs appeared on Sydney’s ocean beaches in 1907. By-laws which had banned bathing in daylight hours since the 1830s were repealed between 1902 and 1905, in response to the increasing popularity of surf-bathing, and a growing conviction that bathing in appropriate clothing was not an immoral act. The impact these changes had on local beach culture was swift - beachgoers entered the surf in rapidly escalating numbers. The surf was new to most surf-bathers, and many could not swim, so with its increasing popularity, came more drownings and consequent attempts at rescue.

    By the summer of 1906-07, Sydney was obsessed with the question of the safety of the surf. Local councils provided lifelines on most beaches, but these were often in poor condition, or placed inappropriately on the beach. The councils, New South Wales State Government and media considered a range of suggestions to improve the safety of the beaches, including placing a wire across the beach for bathers to grab if they got into difficulty, or introducing floating buoys. (End note 4)



    Diving board and bathers, Manly beach, c1908 -- courtesy Manly Library.Diving board and bathers, Manly beach, c1908 - courtesy Manly Library.


    It was in this environment that surf lifesaving clubs first emerged, their regular patrols a welcome relief to the concerns of the local authorities and nervous bathers alike. On 18 October 1907, representatives from these clubs, now numbering seven, together with members of other interested groups including the Amateur Swimming Association and the Royal Life Saving Society, met to form the Surf Bathing Association of New South Wales (SBANSW), the governing body for surf lifesaving clubs. (End note 5) In 1923, SBANSW became a national body, changing its name to the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia, but it was not until 1947 that the association had affiliated clubs from all Australian states. (End note 6)

    The sheer effectiveness of surf lifesaving clubs in reducing the high number of drownings on Sydney beaches meant that surf lifesavers enjoyed a hero’s status from their first days in Australia. It was in the inter-war period of the 1920s and ‘30s that the surf lifesaver emerged as an Australian icon. The beach, a ‘symbol of Australia at pleasure', (End note 7) was not just protected by surf lifesavers; the ‘sun-bronzed’ figure came to personify the beach, his sacrifice and ‘masculine bodily perfection’ making him ideal to replace the digger and bushman as an urban representation of the ‘national type'.(End note 8) He was depicted in advertisements for everything from beer and cigarettes to soap, and even used to sell the nation, adorning Australian travel posters of the 1930s.

    Central to the popular image of surf lifesaving was the carnival - colourful and dramatic events such as the ‘rescue and resuscitation’, march pasts, surf races and boat races entertained the crowds of onlookers and were hotly contested by competitors. The 1954 Royal Carnival at Bondi stands as one of the single most celebrated events in Australian surf lifesaving history. Here, surf lifesavers paraded before the young Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, who were reputedly so impressed they stayed well beyond the scheduled time. (End note 9) This carnival was the highlight of the post-war period, a fitting climax of the surf lifesaver as national icon, before the gradual decline of surf lifesaving within the Australian national consciousness.

    Douglas Booth argues that SLSA ‘sank to its lowest point’ in the 1960s and ‘70s, in a cultural climate in which the beach became a site for individualised pleasure, epitomised not by the surf lifesaver but by the hedonistic surfboard rider. (End note 10) Interestingly, this is not reflected in membership statistics, as active membership generally increased throughout these decades (see graph S2). Rather, Booth contends, morale and enthusiasm declined within clubs.(End note 10) There was a sense too, within the administration that without significant change, surf lifesaving would be left behind as Australia progressed.
    S2 SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTRALIA MEMBERSHIP




    Port Kembla and Corrimal teams fighting out the boat race finish at Wollongong Beach, c1940.Port Kembla and Corrimal teams fighting out the boat race finish at Wollongong Beach, c1940.


    AN 'OLD BOYS CLUB' MOVES WITH THE TIMES

    The 1970s saw a complete overhaul of the SLSA administration, as men who had been governing the association since the 1930s retired, to be replaced by a much younger generation keen on implementing change. (End note 11) Considerable funding boosts by the Whitlam Government aided the organisation in developing and implementing new equipment which would transform surf lifesaving on the beach - by the end of the 1970s, the belt and reel had been supplanted by the far more efficient helicopters, jet rescue boats, and rescue boards and tubes.

    Between 1935-36 and 1977-78, board, ski and tube rescues were recorded as 'other' in SLSA's annual returns. Of particular note is the decline in traditional rescue implements such as the surf reel, surf boat and surf ski. The Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB, or ‘rubber duckie’) is now the most prevalent rescue method. Rescue Water Craft (RWCs or ‘waverunners’) are an increasingly popular rescue device for surf lifesavers or lifeguards on solo patrols (see table S3).

    S3 RESCUES(a)
    Year
    No
    gear
    Reel
    Surf
    boat
    Board
    Ski
    Tube
    IRB(b)
    JRB/
    ORB(c)
    Heli-
    copter
    PWC/
    RWC(d)
    Other
    Total

    1924-25
    194
    309
    8
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    511
    1929-30
    756
    875
    46
    24
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    1,701
    1934-35
    1,013
    1,089
    34
    100
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    2,236
    1939-40
    1,126
    1,540
    57
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    108
    2,831
    1944-45
    1,021
    1,603
    59
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    139
    2,822
    1949-50
    1,310
    1,421
    157
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    253
    3,141
    1954-55
    2,160
    2,393
    107
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    230
    4,890
    1959-60
    1,930
    1,760
    116
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    322
    4,128
    1964-65
    2,254
    2,657
    109
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    292
    5,312
    1969-70
    3,114
    2,639
    188
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    701
    6,642
    1974-75
    2,262
    1,189
    85
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    1,616
    5,152
    1979-80
    2,750
    674
    38
    1,575
    243
    787
    1,059
    288
    50
    -
    -
    7,464
    1984-85
    2,621
    176
    48
    2,173
    58
    1,160
    2,657
    582
    1,264
    -
    -
    10,739
    1989-90
    2,087
    26
    19
    2,411
    106
    1,216
    3,706
    351
    1,975
    -
    -
    11,897
    1994-95
    2,277
    1
    28
    3,214
    36
    1,549
    4,304
    45
    -
    -
    -
    11,454
    1999-00
    1,841
    -
    8
    2,881
    9
    1,860
    2,662
    329
    15
    -
    621
    10,226
    2004-05
    1,435
    -
    11
    2,927
    12
    2,286
    4,271
    281
    14
    627
    368
    12,232
    2005-06
    1,467
    -
    18
    3,042
    25
    2,368
    2,554
    206
    16
    736
    309
    (e)10,775

    (a) Changing rescue methods used by surf lifesavers since 1924, when more detailed record-keeping first began.
    (b) Inflatable Rescue Boat.
    (c) Jet Rescue Boat/Offshore Rescue Boat.
    (d) Personal Water Craft/Rescue Water Craft.
    (e) Includes 19 rescues using Boogie Boards.
    Source: Surf Life Saving Australia.

    The most crucial development of the 1970s, however, for both SLSA and its public image, was the debate over the role of females within surf lifesaving. Females had always been involved in surf lifesaving clubs around Australia, and from the 1970s girls were permitted to join ‘nipperettes’ groups, but women were a notable absence from the beach patrol, the public face of surf lifesaving. (End note 12) In the late-1970s, under pressure in a social climate conscious of the women’s movement and issues of gender discrimination, SLSA truly considered allowing women to become full, active members of surf lifesaving clubs for the first time. In 1980, the first women gained their surf lifesaving Bronze Medallions. (End note 13) The influx of women into the ranks of surf lifesaving in Australia was a major shift in the culture of the movement, but despite teething problems within some clubs, female active membership rapidly increased. Today, women make up more than 40% of all active surf lifesavers.

    The professionalisation of parts of the surf sports circuit in the 1980s and 90s thanks to lucrative sponsorship deals with companies such as Kellogg's Australia and Uncle Toby’s meant 'Ironmen' including Grant Kenny, Guy Leech and Trevor Hendy became the public face of surf lifesaving. With a gradual reduction of corporate marketing and sponsorship budgets and the growth in other endurance and ‘extreme’ sports, the profile of surf sports has declined. In 2005 SLSA re-introduced the Coolangatta Gold, harking back to the famous 1984 film which sparked a resurgent fascination with the strength and endurance of Australian surf lifesavers.

    ACROSS THE SEAS - LIFESAVING INTERNATIONALLY

    More than 400,000 people drown each year, making it the second leading cause of unintentional injury death globally after road traffic injuries. (End note 14) The reduction of this drowning rate is, therefore, an imperative for governments and NGOs the world over. At the opening of the 21st century, SLSA plays a key role in the development of surf lifesaving in the Asia-Pacific region, continuing a legacy it began in the 1920s when several overseas organisations first expressed interest in the methods and equipment of Australian surf lifesavers. SLSA has had close links with surf lifesaving bodies in South Africa, New Zealand, and the United States of America (including Hawaii) since its first overseas tours in the 1930s, but it was not until the formation of the International Life Saving Federation (ILS) in 1994 that SLSA became involved with an organisation which represents water safety bodies from around the globe. Australian delegates have played an important part in the administration and governance of this body, and Australian surf lifesavers have dominated international lifesaving sports since its inception in the 1980s. (End note 15)


    Wollongong Ladies Surf Club march past team, summer of 1952--53 -- Jean Duff (far left) team captain, called directions such as 'reel down'.Wollongong Ladies Surf Club march past team, summer of 1952-53 - Jean Duff (far left) team captain, called directions such as 'reel down'.


    SURF LIFESAVING AND VOLUNTEERISM

    While volunteerism is and always has been central to surf lifesaving in Australia, the body was not founded for purely altruistic reasons. Rather, the initial meeting of the association was called to discuss opposition to proposed ordinances which would force men to wear an additional pleated ‘skirt’ over their costumes. The founding members of the SBANSW hoped to use the association to increase and legitimise their lobbying powers relating to any aspects of beach governance, particularly important in a climate when surf-bathing was still threatened by moralists. (End note 16) Hence the new body’s main purpose was to ‘regulate and promote matters relative to surf-bathing.' (End note 17)

    While the SBANSW governed surf lifesaving, and oversighted the activities of existing clubs and formation and affiliation of new ones, they were also involved in matters relating more generally to the governance of the beaches. They had representatives on both the Surf Bathing Committee of 1910-11, and Shark Menace Advisory Committee of 1935, both of which reported directly to the New South Wales Government. In addition, they lobbied the Government and local councils on other issues, and were instrumental in raising action in 1914 against the Sydney City Council’s dumping of garbage at sea, resulting in rubbish washing up on the beaches. (End note 18)

    After 100 years of SLSA, the volunteer remains at the heart of the organisation, which now has a steadily increasing membership of more than 112,000 members, spread across 305 surf lifesaving clubs in every state and the Northern Territory. This is despite a strategic recognition of the need for SLSA to re-position itself with government and the community as the pre-eminent authority on aquatic safety in Australia. Such a re-positioning inevitably requires an increased level of professional management in order to be effective. SLSA’s own full-time staff has almost doubled in the past ten years to almost 30 personnel, with others in the state centres, branches (in New South Wales and Queensland) and some of the larger clubs.

    Demographic shifts dictate that in order for SLSA to retain and reinforce its relevance, it needs to be providing lifesaving and other services around the clock. This has led to SLSA focussing on the provision of ‘lifeguard’ and ‘support’ services around the country. Although the terms ‘lifesaver’ and ‘lifeguard’ are sometimes used interchangeably, in Australia a surf ‘lifesaver’ is a trained volunteer who operates on weekends and public holidays during the ‘beach season’ (which varies across the country). A ‘lifeguard’ is either employed by, or contracted to, local government or other land managers and generally provide beach safety services at other times, depending on local requirements. SLSA currently provides around 70% of lifeguard services around the country. ‘Support services’ are rapid-response units who use motorised equipment such as rescue water craft (or ‘waverunners’), jet rescue boats, offshore rescue boats and helicopter rescue services. Despite these significant strategic shifts towards professionalism, the volunteer surf lifesaver wearing his or her red and yellow quartered cap will continue to provide the heart and soul of the organisation.


    Queensland surf lifesavers undertaking CPR -- courtesy Harvie Allison.Queensland surf lifesavers undertaking CPR - courtesy Harvie Allison.
    Waverunner used by surf lifesavers and lifeguards -- courtesy Harvie Allison.Waverunner used by surf lifesavers and lifeguards - courtesy Harvie Allison.


    CHALLENGES AHEAD - REMAINING RELEVANT TO THE AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITY

    The clash between locals and visitors which led to the ‘Cronulla riots’ of December 2005, was as much about ‘ownership’ of the beach as a clash of ethnicity.(End note 19) Contests over beach space have been a constant in Australian beach history - the 19th century witnessed debates which pitted private interests against public access to the foreshores, and in the early-20th century beachgoers protested the placing of merry-go-rounds and other man-made structures on the beach, protests which were echoed 100 years later by those who opposed the volleyball stadium on Bondi Beach during the 2000 Sydney Olympics. (End note 20)

    Nevertheless, the Cronulla riots caused SLSA to re-examine its approach to remaining relevant to the sections of the Australian community who had been exposed to the beach and beach culture only relatively recently. Although increasing the ethnicity of its membership had been a strategic objective for the organisation since 2000, SLSA had been hampered by lack of data on cultural background for the simple reason the information is not collected in any systematic way. Despite innovative programmes at a number of individual clubs, lack of financial resources had limited SLSA’s ability to develop and fund sustainable initiatives. Following the riots, the Australian Government, along with SLSA and a number of other organisations, agreed on a strategic approach to this issue. The resulting programme - On The Same Wave - will see specialist managers work with culturally and ethnically diverse communities to improve harmony on the country’s beaches in a variety of ways.

    In much the same way as the organisation eventually welcomed females as full members, and has prospered as a result, surf lifesaving must seize the opportunity to break down the preconceptions that prevail about the movement. The truth is that anyone can become a surf lifesaver, irrespective of age, gender, cultural background and, interestingly, swimming ability. The fact that this will seem counter-intuitive to many Australians is a demonstration of how far the movement has yet to travel.

    This issue, and the response, is symptomatic of SLSA’s dilemma as it continues to evolve in the 21st century. Significant financial resources will be required in order for SLSA to attain and retain its desired position as the pre-eminent authority on aquatic safety in Australia. The organisation’s current funding comes from a variety of sources including sponsorship, grants and fundraising. Over the past decade, much effort has been devoted to developing and diversifying SLSA’s income. The organisation must continue to develop funding sources which are less susceptible to external factors, as the work of saving lives in the water continues, regardless of the state of the economic cycle.

    The Year of the Surf Lifesaver in 2007 provides all Australians with the opportunity to reflect on their relationship with the country’s coastal areas, particularly the beaches and beach-side communities. For SLSA, it is an opportunity to celebrate 100 years of service to the community (see table S4), but most importantly, to consolidate its position to ensure it can go on saving lives in the water for the next 100 years.

    S4 A CENTURY OF SURF LIFESAVING IN AUSTRALIA - KEY EVENTS

    First appearance of surf belt and reel on Sydney beaches.
    24.3.1907
    Surf Bathing Association of New South Wales founded -
    with seven clubs plus affiliated associations. This body later
    became Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA).
    18.10.1907
    First surf Bronze Medallions issued.
    2.1.1910
    World War I - massive decline in membership numbers as surf
    lifesavers volunteered for service to their nation and Empire.
    1914-1918
    First Association Championships, Bondi Beach.
    1915
    First Meritorious Awards issued.
    1922
    Australian championships held on Bondi Beach to celebrate
    Sydney Harbour Bridge opening.
    1932
    Adrian Curlewis became President of Surf Life Saving Association
    of Australia (SLSAA). With the exception of four years when he
    was serving in World War II, Curlewis remained President of the
    Association until 1975, making him the longest serving President in
    SLSAA history.
    1934
    Red and yellow flags introduced, although the colours were divided
    diagonally, not horizontally.
    1935
    Black Sunday, Bondi Beach.
    6.2.1938
    Patrolling lifesavers ordered to wear red and yellow quartered caps.
    1939
    Australian Championships held in Southport, Queensland. This was the
    first time the ‘Aussies’ were ever held out of Sydney.
    1947
    Royal Carnival, Bondi held in honour of Queen Elizabeth II.
    6.2.1954
    International Carnival held at Torquay to coincide with Melbourne Olympics.
    International Council of Life Saving was formed.
    1956
    Expired air resuscitation, otherwise known as ‘mouth-to-mouth’, adopted.
    1960
    Iron man race held at Australian Championships for first time.
    1966
    World Life Saving (WLS) founded.
    1971
    National Junior Association of Surf Lifesaving formed.
    1973
    200,000th recorded surf rescue carried out.
    1973-74
    Introduction of helicopter rescue service in Sydney (with team of 28
    surf lifesavers).
    1973
    Females became eligible to become full active patrolling members of
    SLSAA for first time.
    1.7.1980
    First ‘Coolangatta Gold’ event, won by Guy Leech.
    1984
    Inaugural Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Iron Man Grand Prix.
    1986-87
    WLS and Federation Internationale de Sauvetage merged to form the
    International Life Saving Federation. SLSA played key role in merger
    and in governing the new body.
    1994
    Year of the Surf Lifesaver is celebrated across the country.
    2007

    Source: Surf Lifesaving Australia.
    Maroubra surf lifesavers undertaking resuscitation trainingl -- courtesy TVU.Maroubra surf lifesavers undertaking resuscitation trainingl - courtesy TVU.
    Maroubra surf lifesavers at a recent carnival -- courtesy TVU.Maroubra surf lifesavers at a recent carnival - courtesy TVU.


    END NOTES

    1. Newspapers - Sydney Morning Herald and Daily Telegraph, 7 February 1938. Back
    2. Newspaper - Sydney Morning Herald, 7 February 1938. Back
    3. For a full list of all meritorious awards issued by SLSA, see Chris Conrick, Meritorious Award Register, Ed Jaggard (ed.) Between the Flags: One hundred summers of Australian surf lifesaving, Sydney, UNSW Press, (2006), pp. 240-247. Back
    4. Manly Council minutes, 12 September 1902, 17 November 1903; Randwick Council minutes, 5 February 1907; Waverley Council minutes, 9 January, 1906; Letter John C Hume to Minister for Lands, 1 February 1907, SRNSW: Miscellaneous Branch: CGS 8258, 07/2048. Back
    5. The SBANSW foundation clubs were Bondi, Bronte, Coogee, Manly, Maroubra, North Bondi and Tamarama. The United Wanderers and Woollahra Swimming Clubs were also represented. Back
    6. The Association changes its name to Surf Life Saving Australia in 1991. Back
    7. Rickard, John, Australia: A Cultural History, London : New York : Longman, 1988, p. 192. Back
    8. Saunders, Kay, 'Specimens of Superb Manhood', Journal of Australian Studies, March 1998 no. 56, p. 97; White, Inventing Australia, Sydney : George Allen & Unwin, 1981, p. 155; Cushing, Nancy & Huntsman, Leone, ‘A National Icon: Surf Lifesaving And Australian Society And Culture’ in Jaggard (ed.), Between the Flags, p. 10. Back
    9. Ziegler, Oswald, (ed.), The Royal visit to New South Wales, official record: the visit of Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, February-March 1954 (popular edition) 1954. Back
    10. Booth, Doug, ‘Clubbies, managing pleasure and discipline’ in Jaggard (ed.) Between the Flags, p. 77. Back
    11. Jaggard, Ed, ‘From Beach to boardroom’ in Jaggard (ed.) Between the Flags, p. 65. Back
    12. Jaggard, Ed, Australian Surf Lifesaving and the ‘Forgotten members’, Australian Historical Studies, vol. 30, no. 112, April 1999. Back
    13. The Bronze Medallion is the basic qualification for all active surf lifesavers. To be eligible for a Bronze Medallion, a candidate must be over 15 years, have a reasonable standard of physical fitness and be proficient in basic first aid, resuscitation as well as surf rescue practices. Active surf lifesavers must pass an annual proficiency test in order to continue patrolling. Back
    14. World Health Organisation (WHO), Department of Injuries and Violence prevention, Facts About Injuries: Drowning. Back
    15. Caroline Ford & Ed Jaggard ‘Spreading the word: Surf lifesaving overseas’ in Jaggard (ed.) Between the Flags. Back
    16. Booth, Doug, Australian Beach Cultures: The history of sun, sand and surf (2001) Frank Cass, London. Back
    17. Foundation Meeting SBANSW minutes, 18 October 1907, SLSA Archives. Back
    18. Waverley Council minutes, 3 November 1914. Back
    19. Sydney Morning Herald, 12 December 2005. Back
    20. Caroline Ford, draft PhD dissertation, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW. Back

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