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Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club rescue belt

Date: 1930s
Overall: 160 x 40 x 910 mm, 1.1 kg
Medium: Canvas, brass, cork and rope
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Rescue belt
Object No: 00000926

User Terms

    This Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club rescue belt, part of a traditional alarm reel from the 1930s, is made from canvas and rope with cork floats. The canvas has been covered in ground chalk, known as whiting, and painted with the traditional Cronulla club colours of blue and black. It also features brass fittings, rings and buckles.

    The alarm reel, or surf reel, was first introduced on Sydney's eastern beaches in 1907. The design was supposedly inspired by a cotton reel, and included a large wood or metal reel, line and belt. By 1908 cork was used in the belt for buoyancy. The alarm reel was a standard item of rescue equipment for almost 70 years.

    SignificanceThis is a rare example of a resue belt used by members of the Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club in the 1930s.
    HistorySurf Life Saving clubs such as Cronulla formed around Australia from 1907 onwards. Surf carnivals were held in the summer months as a way to test the skills of surf club members and maintain their fitness for patrol and rescue work.

    Events included alarm reel (belt race), surf races, 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.

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