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Video clip synopsis – 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


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).

ipod icon Broadband MP4 surf_bb.mp4 (5.4MB), suitable for iPods and computer downloads.

Additional help.

buy iconYou can buy this clip on a compilation DVD.

About the Video Clip


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


Students explore the civic rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democratic society.

Students have the opportunity to explore values that support social cohesion and consider the ways in which this can be undermined or strengthened by individual or collective action.

Students investigate ways in which non-government organisations can contribute to communities and influence government decisions.

Background Information


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


1. Students carry out a survey in class of who is a ‘volunteer’, or has someone in their family or friends who volunteers. Identify some local examples of voluntary activities. Discuss why people volunteer. Who benefits from volunteers? What qualities do people who vounteer need to have? Reflect what might happen in our community if we did not have volunteers. To what extent can social cohesion be strengthened by individual and/or collective community action?

2. Using the video clip, list all the jobs and training lifesavers do. Using an atlas, locate Bondi Beach. Give reasons why you think lifesavers volunteer to undertake this work. This year, 2007, is the year of lifesaving in Australia. Investigate why we are celebrating lifesaving and how this is being done. To what extent do governments support lifesaving organisations in Australia?

3.This video clip was made in 1965. Look for evidence to locate it in the mid 1960s. Locate and record images in the clip which indicate changes in beach culture between then and now. Has the change been for the better?

4. Looking at photographs, tourist brochures, paintings, t-shirt images, etc, investigate how ‘the beach, sand and sun’ has, for some people, become an ‘icon’ ( an object, image or figure that represents something special or sacred) representing the Australian way of life. Explore whether students believe that this iconic ‘life savers on Bondi Beach’ image realistically represents Australia in the twenty first century.

Further Resources


Surf Life Saving Australia
Australian Government Culture and Recreation Portal