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Queenland Surf Life Saving State Team men's march-past swimsuit

Date: 1930s
770 x 460 mm, 0.3 kg
Medium: Wool
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Queensland Surf Life Saving Inc
Object Name: Swimsuit
Object No: 00004397
Place Manufactured:Australia

User Terms

    This Queensland Surf Life Saving State Team men's march-past costume was used at surf carnivals in the 1930s. Made by Speedo, the woollen one piece swimsuit is striped in Queensland’s sporting colours of maroon and white and has the letter 'Q' sewn onto the chest.

    Although men's swimwear became increasingly brief during the 1930s, and topless by the end of the decade, the surf life saving march-past costume retained the covered chest and half skirt of the classic 1920s Speedo Racerback.
    SignificanceThis swimsuit is a rare example of the march-past design worn by members of the Queensland Surf Live Saving State Team at surf carnivals during the 1930s. There are four matching Speedo march-past swimsuits of this kind in the Museum's collection. They are all labeled 'OS' for one size.
    HistoryThe earliest surf carnivals, originally called gymkhanas, were held at Manly, Bondi and North Steyne in New South Wales in 1908 as fundraisers 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 Australian surf lifesaving movement used the vintage one piece march-past swimsuit design well into the second half of the twentieth century, perpetuating the classic 1930s image of the lifesaver as the bronzed hero of the Australian beach. The march-past swimsuit has come to represent the pageantry and tradition of the surf life saving movement.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: Queenland Surf Life Saving state team men's march-past swimsuit

    Assigned title: Queenland Surf Life Saving State Team men's march-past swimsuit

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