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The Museum reopens on 29 Oct 21. See Plan your visit

Between the Flags: 100 Years of Surf Lifesaving celebrated the centenary of surf lifesaving. Developed in conjunction with Surf Life Saving Australia, this major exhibition looked at the history of surf lifesaving, the lifesaver as an Australian icon, beach culture and stories of the rescued and rescuers.

Between the Flags was previously on show at the National Museum of Australia from 6 December 2006 to 11 February 2007, before setting out on a national tour.

Explore more on Between the Flags

Discovering the beach Explore how the beach has come to symbolise the Australian way of life – pleasure, freedom and enjoyment.
The birth of surf lifesaving Discover how surf lifesaving began on the beaches of Sydney then spread around the country.
Competition in the surf Learn how competition enables surf lifesavers to practise their skills and improve their fitness.
Tools and techniques Discover the knowledge, equipment, medicines and technology that surf lifesavers use to save lives.
An Australian icon Read about how the surf lifesaver replaced the bushman and the digger as the typical Australian.

Surf lifesavers

In 2007 Surf Life Saving Australia celebrated 100 years of ‘vigilance and service’. Surf lifesavers have saved thousands of lives. They volunteer their time, marking the safest places to swim with red and yellow flags and giving us the confidence to enjoy the surf.

Surf lifesavers are not all bronzed and beautiful. They are men and women, young and old. They are passionate about their beach and their community. They are competitive and committed. They are part of a great tradition that echoes across the past 100 years, from Darwin to Devonport and Bondi to Bunbury.

Surf lifesavers are ordinary people doing an extraordinary job, voluntarily.

Your Stories

Explore stories received from people who have spent time on Australia’s beaches and visited the Between the Flags exhibition.

Your Stories


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