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About the Video Clip:

Video Clip Synopsis:
Early morning at an almost empty Bondi Beach. Rubbish is removed by local council workers and volunteer lifesavers check their gear, allocate safe surfing areas, and practise their lifesaving skills.

1min 33sec

Life Savers on Bondi Beach is an excerpt from the film Surf Beach (18 mins), produced in 1965.

Surf Beach: A summer day on the beach in Sydney. Beginning and ending at Bondi, this film captures the essence of Australian beach life – the bodysurfers, boardriders, sunbakers, families, tourists and, of course, those iconic Aussie lifesavers.

Surf Beach is a National Film Board Production. Produced by the Commonwealth Film Unit.

Study Module

Curriculum Focus: English
Year: 7-8
Theme: Civic Work

Key Concepts

Icon; Volunteering; Representation; Change over time

Curriculum Applicability Notes

ACT:Everyday texts – Language: Contextual understanding
NSW:(2003 Syllabus) Stage 4 Outcome 4, Outcome 10
NT:R/V 4.1 – 4.3
Qld:Cu 5.2
SA:Texts and contexts 4.3
Tas:Communicating – Being literate, Standard 4
Vic:Reading – Texts 5.7
WA:Understanding Language
Attitudes, values and beliefs

Context / Background Information

Bondi Beach in Sydney is one of Australia's most famous beaches. The beach, roughly a kilometre long, is enclosed at the north and south by headlands. Every day of the year lifesavers patrol the beach between the yellow and red flags.

In summer it is very crowded. The beach also attracts a lot of tourists. Sometimes tourists don't understand the meaning of the flags. Nor do they realise there are dangerous currents and rips where the flags are not placed. Other swimmers may be aware that the beach has dangerous currents but they do not know how to read the sea and manage a situation if they get swept out suddenly by a rip. Bondi Beach needs its surf lifesaver patrol.

It is also a beach area where music, arts and sporting activities occur, especially in the summer months.

People are always seen jogging along the beach throughout the year. Bondi Beach is also the home of the Bondi Icebergs, an elderly group who swim in the sea pool every day including winter.

Discussion Pointers

  1. Brainstorm your image of a day at the beach.
  2. What does the video clip show?
  3. What do the lifesavers do?
  4. They are volunteers. Why do you think they do it?
  5. Bondi Beach is sometimes considered to be a Sydney ‘icon’. What does that mean?

Suggested Classroom Activities

  1. Carry out a survey in your class of who is a ‘volunteer’, or has someone in their family who volunteers. Why do they do it? Who benefits from it?
  2. Choose a person, place or thing in your state or territory that is considered to be an ‘icon’. Write a letter to a friend overseas in which you describe what this icon is and what it means.
  3. Draw up a table with two columns, ‘beach then’ and ‘beach now’. Fill in the first column from evidence in the video clip and from interviewing your parents or grandparents. Fill in the ‘beach now’ from your own knowledge. Do you think people’s behaviour at and attitude towards the beach has changed much? Explain your views.

Modules That Use This Clip

Health/PE Year 7-8, Health/PE Year 9-10, English Year 7-8