Watching the Waves

A selection of photographs of surf lifesaving from the Australian News and Information Bureau collection at the National Archives of Australia.

A lifesaver on duty (1955) by NAANational Archives of Australia

Introduction

The Australian News and Information Bureau collection, now held in the National Archives of Australia, is the legacy of nearly half a century’s work by government photographers who captured hundreds of thousands of images of Australians at work and play. Almost 500 images record the coastal lifestyles and competitive pursuits of our surfers and lifesavers from the 1950s to the 1970s. Here are some of our favourites.

A lifesaver on duty at Bondi Beach (1960) by NAANational Archives of Australia

A group of surfers gathered on Manly Beach (1958) by John TannerNational Archives of Australia

A group gathered around a surf-reel at Surfers Paradise (1958) by John TannerNational Archives of Australia

Bernard 'Midget' Farrelly competing in the World Surfboard Championships (1964) by NAANational Archives of Australia

Bernard 'Midget' Farrelly, winner of the World Surfboard Championships (1964) by NAANational Archives of Australia

A lifesaver watching over swimmers from a lookout tower (1966) by NAANational Archives of Australia

A group lifting a surfboard onto a Volkswagen Kombi (1967) by John CrowtherNational Archives of Australia

A surfboat crew on the beach during Portsea's Surf Carnival (1967) by NAANational Archives of Australia

A lifesaver watches the surf at Waratah Beach (1968) by NAANational Archives of Australia

A member of the Neptune Ladies Lifesaving Club on duty at the Gold Coast (1971) by NAANational Archives of Australia

Champion surfer Mark Warren at Surfers Paradise (1977) by NAANational Archives of Australia

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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