Life Guards at Bondi Beach: Rescue Demonstration (c.1929)

Life Guards at Bondi Beach: Rescue Demonstration (c.1929)
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A team of lifeguards on Bondi Beach enact a rescue demonstration to save someone caught in the surf. A lifeguard, with a safety line strapped to his body, runs into the surf while those ashore cable the line out to him. Once he’s approached the swimmer in distress, he signals ashore and the team pull the line in. The lifeguards carry the person ashore and place him stomach down on the sand and turn his head to the side. A lifeguard then presses down on the person’s back to revive him.

Summary by Poppy De Souza

This clip uses editing to cover the enacted rescue operation from different perspectives and angles. It also demonstrates the crucial work of surf lifesavers – one especially valuable given Australia’s obsession with beach culture.

Title Synopsis

A fragment of actuality footage that shows lifesavers marching on Bondi Beach, a demonstration rescue of a person from the surf and lifesaving boats being rowed out into the surf in front of onlooking crowds.

Title Curator's Notes

Thought to be from around 1929, this footage shows a Surf Life Saving carnival at Bondi Beach. The film uses dissolves, edits and fades to create simple sequences and convey a sense of narrative to the event. The swimming costumes, rescue equipment, resuscitation techniques and crowds all sit firmly in their time.

The film’s provenance is unknown and what is held at the National Film and Sound Archive appears to be only a fragment of what was probably a longer production. It was deposited with the Archive by a private source.