Distraction from the war - Coogee Beach
Scenes of surf, sun and swimming at Coogee Beach, Sydney, played upon the sea as a place of recreation in stark contrast to the suffering at Gallipoli and on the Western Front. This film clip from 1915 shows the local surf lifesaving club practising with a surf reel. The foreshore is teeming with swimmers and sunbathers, as well as a good number of beach visitors dressed to the nines and content to promenade.
Coogee is a beachside suburb of the city of Randwick, eight kilometres southeast of central Sydney. Coogee Beach has increased in popularity from a destination for daytrippers in the early 1800s to one of Sydney's most frequented surf beaches. The local surf lifesaving club was established in 1907.
Australians in general have an abiding connection to the ocean and a respect for surf lifesavers. Enlistment posters sometimes used these Australian values to attract recruits by shaming young men into joining the armed forces. Posters such as, "It is nice in the surf, but what about the men in the trenches? Go and help" (Artist: David Henry Souter, 1917) played upon the sea as a place of recreation in stark contrast to the suffering of the troops overseas.