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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: 9-10
Strand: Health and Physical Education
Theme: Health Work

Key Concepts

Evaluation of community health initiatives; Fitness; Safety, Funding of heath initiatives

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 5.1, 5+.1, PA5.3
Qld:Health and Physical Education: Developing Concepts and skills for physical activity 6.1, 6.2 Promoting the health of Individuals and Communities 6.1
SA:Health and Physical Education: 5.1, 5.2
Tas:Personal futures: maintaining wellbeing
Vic:Health and Physical Education: Health of individuals and populations 6.1, 6.2, Movement and physical activity 6.1, 6.2
WA:Health and Physical Education: Knowledge and Understandings; Skills for physical activity; Self management skills – Early - Late 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. More recently they have been replaced by the use of rubber rescue craft and surf skis.

By the 1950 and 1960's 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. In the 50s, 60s and 70s surf lifesavers were generally men. In the early 1980's the clubs were opened up to women.

Programs to train young children in surf lifesaving began in various clubs in the 1950s and 60s. This program, now called Nippers, is run over summer at most surf lifesaving clubs.

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

Discussion Pointers

Discuss the role of surf lifesaving clubs in the local community.

Discuss the level of ‘surf awareness’ in the class. Are all members of the class able to swim? Where and when did they learn to swim? Who surfs? Do they know what to do when caught in a rip? What about the Australian community as a whole. Do they have good surf awareness?

Suggested Classroom Activities

Before watching the video clip discuss the meanings of the following terms: resuscitation, survival, CPR, rip, ‘Bronzed Aussie’ and ‘Australian icon’

Work on a program to refine swimming stokes for speed, endurance and survival.

Research techniques for safe water rescues in deep and shallow water. Practice these techniques.

Find out about the Surf Rescue Certificate and the Bronze Medallion. What are the requirements to achieve each certificate? What age do you have to be to qualify for each award? Where can you study CPR in your local community?

Discuss how surflife saving clubs contribute to:

  1. The physical fitness of the population, especially children
  2. The safety of the population
  3. The sense of community, especially in costal towns
  4. The sense of well being and the development of personal values, attitude and beliefs of those participating

Discuss the funding of surf lifesaving:

  1. Are all surf lifesavers volunteers?
  2. How are surf lifesaving clubs funded and what is the government’s role in providing this service?

Modules That Use This Clip

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