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Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club men's march-past swimsuit

Date: 1930s
Overall: 700 x 390 mm, 0.08 kg
Medium: Wool
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club
Object Name: Swimsuit
Object No: 00000925
Related Place:Cronulla,

User Terms

    This 1930s swimsuit in traditional club colours features a scooped back with a button fastening on the left shoulder, black trunks, and a Meritas logo on the left hip. Although men's swimwear became increasingly brief during the 1930s, and topless by the end of the decade, the march-past swimsuit retained the covered chest and full skirt of the classic 1920s Racerback swimsuit.

    SignificanceThis is a rare example of a march-past design worn by members of the Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club at surf carnivals in the 1930s.
    HistoryBy using the 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, such as Cronulla, 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.
    Additional Titles


    Web title: Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club men's march-past swimsuit

    Related People
    Maker: Meritas

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