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Jantzen Diving Girl logo reproduced courtesy of Skye Group

Surf Life Saving Club men's competition swimsuit

Date: 1950s
Overall: 770 x 440 mm
Medium: Nylon
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Surf Life Saving Association of Australia
Object Copyright: © Jantzen Diving Girl logo Skye Group
Object Name: Swimsuit
Object No: 00000800

User Terms

    This competition swimsuit was made by Jantzen used at surf carnivals in the 1950s. Made from nylon, the navy one piece design includes a half skirt and is decorated with the Jantzen logo.

    Although men's swimwear became increasingly brief during the 1930s, and topless by the end of the decade, the Australian surf lifesaving team competition swimsuit retained the covered chest and half skirt of the classic Racerback swimsuit until the late 1960s.
    SignificanceThis swimsuit is representative of designs produced by Jantzen for Surf Life Saving competitions in Australia in the 1950s.
    HistorySurf 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.

    The 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. 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 surf life saving movement used the vintage Racerback design as their competition march-past swimsuit well into the second half of the 20th century. This perpetuated the classic 1930s image of the lifesaver as the bronzed hero of the Australian beach and recalled the pageantry and tradition of the early surf life saving movement.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Men's Jantzen surf life saving club competition swimsuit

    Primary title: Surf Life Saving Club men's competition swimsuit

    Related People
    Maker: Jantzen

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