New acquisition: Surf in Australia
Australian armed forces have had a long and proud association with surf lifesaving in Australia as reflected in this copy of ‘Surf in Australia’ magazine. It contains news and extracts of ‘letters from the services’ overseas, honour rolls of members killed in action, a report on the first R.A.A.F. surf lifesaving club at Evans Head run by the No.1 bombing and Gunnery School in New South Wales along with reports of fund-raising activities and news updates from Surf Life-Saving Association of Australia clubs all around Tasmania and across News South Wales.
By the time this issue of the magazine was published in 1941, over 50% of lifesaving members had enlisted for service in Australia or overseas. Club membership and funding was struggling due to the large number of members enlisting and from the considerable efforts of the clubs to provide comforts for those of their members who were in the fighting forces.
On the home front and overseas, surf carnivals including races, rescues, resuscitations and march-pasts were a regular occurrence. Although many sports were popular off-duty activities for soldiers, surf lifesaving was particularly valued with its emphasis on discipline and drill. Events noted in this issue include an assessment of the pool and beach at Bournemouth, England by Jack Beatty (RAAF) previously of South Narrabeen NSW club who concludes there is ‘no beach anywhere to compare with the Australian’ and a surf carnival in Tel Aviv by Sapper W. Aytoun which was attended by no less than ten members of the Freshwater NSW surf lifesaving club.
As reported by Wal Bradford in Syria, previously of the Newport NSW club, copies of ‘Surf in Australia’ magazine was sent to troops overseas and no doubt played an essential role in boosting morale, sharing the events and news of club members, and keeping the bonds of the enduring surf lifesaving community prospering.
This magazine was kindly donated by William. R. Fleming, previously of Freshwater NSW surf lifesaving club, who's letter home is featured in 'Letters from the Services' on Page 3.