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Life Savers on Bondi Beach

Video clip synopsis ā€“ 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.
Year of production - 1965
Duration - 1min 33sec
Tags - icons, volunteers, see all tags

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Life Savers on Bondi Beach

How to Download the Video Clip

To download a free copy of this Video Clip choose from the options below. These require the free Quicktime Player.

download clip icon Premium MP4 surf_pr.mp4 (11.4MB).

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Additional help.

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About the Video Clip

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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.

Curriculum Focus

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This digital resource can be used to achieve the following outcomes:
A student
5.1 responds to and composes increasingly sophisticated and sustained texts for understanding, interpretation, critical analysis and pleasure
5.3 selects, uses, describes and explains how different technologies affect and shape meaning
5.5 transfers understanding of language concepts into new and different contexts
5.7 thinks critically and interpretively using information, ideas and increasingly complex arguments to respond to and compose texts in a range of contexts
5.10 questions, challenges and evaluates cultural assumptions in texts and their effects on meaning

This material is an extract. Teachers and students should consult the Board of Studies website for more information.

Background Information

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Bondi Beach in Sydney is one of Australia’s most famous beaches. The beach, roughly a kilometre long, is enclosed at the north and south by headlands. Every day of the year lifesavers patrol the beach between the yellow and red flags. They are volunteer workers.
In summer it is very crowded. The beach also attracts a lot of tourists. Sometimes tourists don’t understand the meaning of the flags. Nor do they realise there are dangerous currents and rips where the flags are not placed. Other swimmers may be aware that the beach has dangerous currents but they do not know how to read the sea and manage the situation if they get swept out suddenly by a rip. Bondi Beach needs its surf lifesaver patrol.

It is also a beach area where music, arts and sporting activities occur, especially in the summer months.

People are always seen jogging along the beach throughout the year. Bondi Beach is also the home of the Bondi Icebergs, an elderly group who swim in the sea pool every day including winter.

Classroom Activities

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    1. List all the jobs and training lifesavers do.
    2. Lifesavers are volunteers. Give reasons why you think they undertake this work.
    3. An ‘icon’ is an object, image or figure that represents something special or sacred. Bondi Beach is sometimes considered to be a Sydney icon. Write a brief explanation of why it might be considered an icon.
    1. Carry out a survey in your class of who is a ‘volunteer’, or has someone in their family who volunteers.
    2. Discuss and five list points for each of the following questions; Why do people volunteer? Who benefits from volunteers? What qualities do people who vounteer need to have?
    1. Choose a person, place or thing in Victoria that is considered to be an icon. Write a 350-word letter or email to a friend overseas in which you describe what this icon is, why it is considered an icon and what it means to Victorians.
    2. Draw up a table with two columns headed, ‘Beach then’ and ‘Beach now’.
  • Brainstorm and fill in the first column withevidence fromthe video clip.
  • Fill in the ‘Beach now’ column using your own knowledge.
  • Underneath the columns, list five points describing how peopleā€™s behaviour and attitude towards the beach has changed.

Literacy Activity: Focus= Viewing / Responding

  1. What time of day do the lifesavers / beach inspectors begin their work? (1 mark)
  2. Where did surf lifesaving have its origins? (1 mark)
  3. Is Australia the only place in the world which has lifesavers? (1 mark)
  4. This clip was made in 1965. Locate and record images in the clip which indicate changes in beach culture between then and now? (2 marks)

Further Resources

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Surf Life Saving Australia
Australian Government Culture and Recreation Portal