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Here is a second photograph from the Tom Lennon Archive collection showing The Bondi Surf Club Annual Ball, held at Mark Foy’s Empress Ballroom on April 24, 1939. Another, less formal, photograph from the same event was published last week on Photo of the Day.
The elaborate table decorations include a surf reel decorated with flowers, rows of tiny dolls dressed as lifesavers and settings marked with flags. The table may have been photographed because of the particular significance of the surf reel in the history of the club.
The Bondi Surf Bathers’ Life Saving Club (Bondi Surf Club) pioneered the surf reel and line. Shortly after the club was first formed in 1907, Major John Bond was elected as Chief Instructor. With Lyster Ormsby and Percy Flynn, he is credited with the design and implementation of the surf reel. An early model of the reel was made using a cotton reel and bobby pins.
Today The Bondi Surf Bathers’ Life Saving Club is officially recognised as the oldest surf lifesaving club in the world.
For more on the history of the surf reel, see the Powerhouse Museum Australia Innovates website.
Post by Kathy Hackett, Photo Librarian
Photography by Tom Lennon
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