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Men's neoprene wetsuit jacket

Date: c 1960
Dimensions:
Overall: 1115 x 1330 x 85 mm, 1.5 kg
Medium: Neoprene, metal
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from A Olsen
Object Name: Wetsuit
Object No: 00027279

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    Description
    This jacket is part of a made to measure diving suit that consists of a jacket and pants, together with a pair of booties. The black neoprene jacket has metal zips that run from the collar down to the waist, and along each wrist. It also has two studs which attach the band that extends from the back of the jacket to the front, keeping the pants in place. The full length pants have two metal zips at each ankle, while the booties have a single metal zip and textured soles.
    SignificanceThe suit was worn by A.M. Olsen, a Harvesting Manager who worked for 18 years conducting research for the C.S.I.R.O. Division of Fisheries & Oceanography in Tasmania and South Australia. It was ordered from the American manufacturer, Dive n Surf, and arrived in Hobart in early 1961. The suit is representative of the designs and technologies utilised by manufacturers in the 1950s and 1960s.
    HistoryWetsuits are used by surfers and divers for thermal insulation, as well as for protection against sun exposure, jelly fish, coral and other marine hazards. Different forms of open and closed neoprene are used in warm-water and cold-water suits, and they come in a variety of styles to accommodate the differing needs of the wearer.

    After the invention of the rubber diving suit, the next major development in textile technology was the neoprene suit. It allowed greater movement and flexibility, as well as insulating properties. In Australia, local manufacturer did not take off until well into the 1970s. Up until then suits were imported.

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