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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: Health/PE
Year: 7-8
Theme: Health Work

Key Concepts

Competition; Water sports, Volunteering work

Curriculum Applicability Notes

ACT:Health and Physical Education: Health of individuals and Populations, Safety
NSW:Health and Physical Education: Safe living, Active lifestyle, Movement skill
NT:Health and Physical Education: HP 4.1, 5.1
Qld:Health and Physical Education: Developing Concepts and skills for physical activity 4.4, 5,4
SA:Health and Physical Education: 4.2, 4.6
Tas:Personal futures: Maintaining wellbeing
Vic:Health and Physical Education: Health of individuals and populations 5.2, Movement and physical activity 5.1, 5.2
WA:Health and Physical Education: Knowledge and Understandings; Skills for physical activity; Self management skills – Early adolescence

Context / Background Information

Surf lifesaving had its origin on the surf beaches of Sydney in the early part of the twentieth century. The Surf Bathing Association of New South Wales was the first club, founded in 1907. The lifesaving reel, line and belt is an Australian invention and was once the first piece of equipment any new surf lifesaving club would buy. By the 1950 and 1960s surf lifesavers were something of an Australian icon. At that time, surf lifesavers were seen as bronzed Aussies who volunteered to risk life and limb by saving hundreds of swimmers each summer.

Surf lifesaving is unusual in that it is community service work, an emergency service and a sport.

Discussion Pointers

Discuss the geography and population distribution in Australia as compared with a similar country such as the USA. What percentage of Australians live on the coast in comparison?

Discuss the different beach fashions and how these may have affected the rate of skin cancer in Australia.

What is meant by the terms ‘Bronzed Aussie’ and ‘Australian icon’

Discuss the role of volunteering in surf lifesaving.

Suggested Classroom Activities

Before watching the video clip:

Discuss the meanings of the following words: resuscitation, survival, sculling. Make a list of safe practices when swimming in surf.

In a pool, demonstrate correct survival techniques including sculling, treading water, floating and survival strokes.

Research the clothing that surf lifesavers are required to wear.

  1. Why do they wear a tie-on cap?
  2. In what way does the clothing they wear today differ from that on the video clip in 1965?
  3. Why do you think the fashion has changed?

Find out about the nearest Nippers program to your school:

  1. When does it operate and for how long?
  2. How much does it cost?
  3. What do you learn about?

Surf lifesavers have competitions with many different events. Research the range of events and explain one in detail.

Discuss the role of volunteering work in the community.

  1. Are all surf lifesavers volunteers?
  2. What are the benefits of volunteering to be a surf lifesaver to the individual?
  3. What are the benefits to the community?
  4. Think of other examples of volunteers who help to save lives.

Modules That Use This Clip

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