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Neptunes Royal Life Saving Club woman's march-past costume

Date: c 1937
Overall: 710 x 340 mm, 0.3 kg
Display dimensions: 700 x 340 mm
Clothing size: 34
Medium: Wool, satin
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Neptunes Royal Life Saving Club
Object Name: Swimsuit
Object No: 00018487
Place Manufactured:Australia

User Terms

    This woman's march-past swimsuit in club colours features a full skirt, Racerback, and attached maroon briefs. The machine knitted maroon and cream woollen fabric has been cut on the bias to create a 'v' shaped design. A Neptunes Ladies Life Saving Club embroidered cloth badge has been sewn onto the chest.
    SignificanceThis is a rare example of a swimsuit made for, and worn by, a female lifesaver. The suit was used at interstate competitions for the march-past, together with a maroon swimming cap. As money was often short, club members would use the swimsuits for general swimming as well as for competitions.
    HistoryThe Neptunes Ladies Life Saving Club was formed at the Ithaca Baths in 1928, and was affiliated with the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS). It was Queensland's first women's lifesaving club and was formed as part of a strategy to attract more women into the RLSS.

    From 1923 women began to join the RLSS branches on the southern Queensland coast. The RLSS was the dominant lifesaving authority in Queensland from 1906 until 1930, when the surf livesaving movement extended its influence from NSW. In 1930 the RLSS and the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia (SLSAA) formally parted creating two lifesaving bodies with different training and qualifications.

    Part of the challenge at this time was a shift in attitude towards the participation of women in lifesaving. The RLSS in Queensland and other states had welcomed women's involvement in carnivals, march-pasts, learned and applied resuscitation, and where need be, rescues. As the surf lifesaving movement gained jurisdiction over surf beaches, women became marginalised. During World War II some clubs remained operational because women kept them going. In the post war years the gender bias returned.

    The Neptunes still patrol Tallebudgera Beach from the opening of the season in October until its end in Easter.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Neptunes Royal Life Saving Club woman's march-past costume

    Web title: Woman's march-past swimsuit

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