Skip to content
  • Open today 9am–5pm
  • Free general admission

We are updating our new website in stages. This page will be changed to the new design but is not currently optimised for mobile devices.

You are in site section: Exhibitions

Timeline

1803Convicts warned not to swim in Sydney Harbour because of the dangers of sharks and stingrays, and for reasons of decorum.
1838Bathing in Sydney's harbour and beaches is banned between 6am and 8pm.
31 Jul 1894The Waverly Branch is formed in Sydney, the first Australian branch of the (later Royal) Life Saving Society.
7 Dec 1899The Manly Life Saving Brigade is formed.
1902Bans on daylight surf bathing are relaxed.
1903The Sly brothers begin patrolling Manly Beach, Sydney.
1905Edward 'Happy' Eyre is employed as a lifeguard by Manly Council.
21 Feb 1907Bondi Surf Bathers' Life Saving Club is formed.
23 Mar 1907First use of the surf-reel, at Bondi.
18 Oct 1907Surf Bathing Association of New South Wales is formed.
Sept 1909Cottesloe Life Saving and Athletic Club is formed — the first surf lifesaving club in Western Australia.
1909Tweed Heads and Coolangatta Surf Lifesaving Club is formed — Queensland's first
2 Jan 1910First surf lifesaving bronze medallions awarded, to club members from Coogee and Bondi.
1910Surf Bathing Association of New South Wales holds its first carnival.
1912Charles Paterson becomes president of the Surf Bathing Association.
1915Duke Kahanamoku demonstrates boardriding at Freshwater Beach, Sydney.
1915First Australian surf lifesaving championships held at Bondi.
1921Surf Bathing Association of New South Wales becomes the Surf Life Saving Association of New South Wales.
1921Tasmania's first surf lifesaving club is formed in Burnie.
1922Jack Chalmers and Frank Beaurepaire receive the first surf lifesaving meritorious awards.
1923Surf Life Saving Association of New South Wales becomes the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia (SLSAA).
1924SLSAA and the Royal Life Saving Society agree to separate responsibilities: SLSAA for surf lifesaving and RLSS for still water lifesaving.
1925Western Australian State Centre of SLSAA is formed.
1925South Australia's first surf lifesaving club is formed at Henley Beach.
1930Queensland State Centre of SLSAA is formed.
1934Adrian Curlewis is appointed president of SLSAA.
1935Red and yellow beach flags become standard.
Oct 1937Laying of shark nets off Sydney beaches begins
3 Jan 1939Red and yellow quartered caps become standard patrol gear.
1941Roy Doyle becomes interim president while Curlewis serves in the AIF.
1945Adrian Curlewis returns as president.
4 Jan 1946Victoria's first surf lifesaving club is formed at Torquay.
9 Jan 1947Victorian State Centre of SLSAA is formed.
1947First national championships outside New South Wales are held at Greenmount, Queensland.
1948Tasmanian State Centre of SLSAA is formed.
10 Oct 1952South Australian State Centre of the SLSAA formed.
6 Feb 1954The Royal Carnival is held at Bondi for Queen Elizabeth II.
25 Nov 1956International and Australian Surf Championship Carnival begins at Torquay, Victoria.
1956International Council of Lifesaving formed.
1966First ironman event held in Australia.
1975Alan Whelpton becomes president of SLSAA.
1 July 1980Women permitted to become full members of SLSAA.
1984The Coolangatta Gold premieres, starring Grant Kenny.
1987Cathy Harding of Mooloolaba SLSC becomes the first female captain of a surf club
1989Northern Territory Centre of SLSAA formed.
1991Surf Life Saving Association of Australia becomes Surf Life Saving Australia.
1994World Life Saving and Federation Internationale de Sauvetage merge to form the International Life Saving Federation.
2001Ron Rankin becomes only the fifth president of SLSA.
2007Australians celebrate the Year of the Surf Lifesaver.
Return to Top