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Jantzen Diving Girl logo reproduced courtesy of Skye Group

Australian Surf Life Saving team march-past swimsuit

Date: 1960s
Overall: 720 x 400 mm, 0.15 kg
Clothing size: 40
Medium: Bri-nylon
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Surf Life Saving Association of Australia National Council
Object Copyright: © Jantzen Diving Girl logo Skye Group
Object Name: Swimsuit
Object No: 00000638

User Terms

    This green and gold Australian Surf Life Saving march-past swimsuit was used at international surf carnivals in the 1960s. Although men's swimwear became increasingly brief after the 1930s, the march-past costume used by surf lifesavers retained the covered chest and half skirt of the classic Racerback swimsuit of the late 1920s.

    By 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 recalled the pageantry and tradition of the early surf life saving movement.

    SignificanceThis swimsuit is representative of the march-past designs produced in Australia by Jantzen during the 1960s. There are 13 identical march-past swimsuits in the Museum's collection, with sizes ranging from 38 to 44.
    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.
    Related People
    Maker: Jantzen

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