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Men's Palm Beach Surf Life Saving Club swimsuit

Date: 1940s
Overall: 660 x 380 mm
Medium: Cotton
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Arthur Foreman
Object Name: Swimsuit
Object No: 00015907
Place Manufactured:Australia

User Terms

    This navy blue cotton stockinette swimsuit was worn by members of the Palm Beach Surf Life Saving Club when competing in surf live saving carnivals and whilst on beach patrol. Made in Australia by Speedo, the swimsuit has an adjustable Racerback with a metal buckle and a half skirt for modesty decorated with the Speedo logo. An embroidered black and white cloth badge of a palm leaf inscribed with Palm Beach S.L.S.C has been hand sewn onto the chest of the swimsuit.

    SignificanceThis men's swimsuit was purchased from a Sydney department store in the early 1940s by Arthur Foreman, and was worn, by him as a member of Palm Beach Surf Lifesaving Club, for weekend patrols of Palm Beach. The club's cloth badge logo was purchased from the surf club for 25 pence and hand sewn onto the chest of the swimsuit.
    HistoryBy using this vintage march-past design well into the second half of the 20th century, the surf life saving movement perpetuated the classic 1930s image of the lifesaver as the bronzed hero of the Australian beach. The march-past swimsuit also came to represent the pageantry and tradition of the life saving movement.

    The earliest surf carnivals, originally called gymkhanas, were held at Manly, Bondi and North Steyne in New South Wales in 1908 as fund raisers for the Royal Life Saving Society. Surf Life Saving clubs formed around Australia from 1907 onwards, with carnivals held in the summer months as a way to test the skills of members and maintain their fitness for patrol and rescue work.

    Carnivals usually opened with the ceremonial march-past parade of competing teams wearing swimsuits in club colours marching with military precision while carrying club pennants and surf reels. Carnival events included surf races, alarm reel (belt race), surf relay (surf teams), rescue and resuscitation, as well as novelty events such as tug-of-war, pillow fights, catching the greasy pig, chariot and sack races.

    The Palm Beach Surf Life Saving Club, located on Sydney's northern beaches, was founded in 1921.

    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Men's Palm Beach Surf Life Saving Club swimsuit

    Web title: Men's Palm Beach Surf Life Saving Club swimsuit

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