The Queen in Australia: Surf Carnival at Bondi Beach (1954)

Title:
The Queen in Australia: Surf Carnival at Bondi Beach (1954)
NFSA ID:
10373
Year:
1954
Courtesy:
Australian National Film Board
Category:
Access fees

At Bondi Beach, the Queen observes an Australian surf carnival, a gathering of teams from surf clubs around the country and New Zealand, all wearing the traditional neck-to-knee surfing costume that was required just after the turn of the century, when Australian surf clubs began. After the traditional march past, the lifesavers take to the water to give a demonstration of rescue techniques, using both hollow surfboards and surfboats, but the heavy seas play havoc with their plans.

This is by far the most exciting sequence in the film, which is probably why Stanley Hawes chose to place it near the end, as a kind of climax. The surf conditions are significantly rough, making it difficult for the surfboats to get beyond the waves. The cameramen do some of their best work in this milieu. Placing a camera inside the surfboat is very unusual, and it appears that both the camera and the cameramen may have gone into the water at one stage. This sequence adds a daring sort of masculinity to the film, and the kind of sunny location that audiences in Britain had come to expect.

The Queen in Australia had its first public screening at Leicester Square in London, rather than in Australia. It was made for international consumption, as well as for Australians. Indeed, its production was a fulfilment of a promise from the Australian Government to provide a record that the Queen could show her children on her return to England (see main notes).