home catalogue history references appendix 
newspapers : 1952 

Newspapers : 1952.


Selected articles include an overview of surfing in Sydney in 1952 by Craig McGregor.
McGregor would later co-write Midget Farrelly's This Surfing Life (1965) and Nat Young's The History 0f Surfing (1983).

The Argus
Melbourne, 4 January 1952, page 3.


If after reading this article you still don't see the mysterious fascination that brings them back week after week
 look at this picture for the answer- it's the frothy water, of course. 

PICTURE a broad ocean beach where surf addicts "ride them through the break"
EVERY weekend of the year, which national champions say is the best surfing beach in Australia - as well as the safest - and where one worries about sharks.

Where do you think it is, this wonder beach where the board and surf-ski men "crack them" for 700 yards on a good day - Sydney,
Palm Beach or farther north to Queensland's coastline?
It's in Victoria, at Torquay, just 60 miles from Melbourne, the home beach of the Torquay Surf Life Saving Club, the biggest and most active group of surf riders in Victoria.
Surfing in Victoria before the war was the culof the few who spent their time travelling miles to little known beaches looking for "mountains" to roll in from Bass Strait.
The lightweight 16ft. surf-boards of today, and the newer surf skis didn't exist, and body surfing was practically an unknown art in Victoria.
But as Melbourne grew more and more swimmers found the thrill of scudding down the face of a saltwater mountain.
Better roads and faster cars helped swell this pilgrimage too.
Not very; most
surfers travel from Melbourne each weekend, doubling up in cars and sharing tents and caravans.
The sport has grown with the Surf Life Saving Association of Victoria, founded in January, 1947.
Today there are eight clubs on Victorian surf beaches, at Point Lonsdale, Portsea, Torquay, Lorne, Warrnambool, Portland, Port Fairy, and a R.A.A.F. club which operates at Ocean Grove.

These clubs are not mere gatherings of beach strutters.
Since the association was founded its members have rescued 176 swimmers.
"No popular beach must be left unprotected," says Mr. Jack Williams, club secretary.
The clubs are for men only and each member must do the full Bronze Medallion training and pass a stiff test within 12 months of joining his club.
And then he must remain active as a patrolman, and take part in competitive events within his own club and between other Victorian clubs.
He pays £1 a year for the privilege of doing all this, but in return is admitted to a fraternity of experts, jealous of their skill.
The lure of the surf is similar to the drive which sends men and women plodding up high snow slopes only to scud to the bottom again.
It's a simple self-asserting urge.
Nothing else would send 30 odd members of the Torquay club down to their beach every weekend right through the winter to spend hour after hour paddling out on their boards and skis, clad In woollen underwear, to catch wave after wave and come ashore blue, but satlsfyingly pleased with their skill.
These experts, with great callouses on their knees from kneeling on their boards, will also tell you the winter is better because there are no "peasants"- as they dub tyros - on the beach to get in their way.
How is it done?
Listen to A. W. "Sprint"Walker, Victorian president, explain this combination of swimming and balance, which put him four times into the champion Australian surf team for Manly, and who beat Australia's swimming star "Boy"'Charlton in a Bondi surf race..
Now 51, he is still called"Sprint," a nickname earned as a schoolboy when he could sprint in the water.
He has swum and surfed on almost every beach in Australia.
He likes body surfing because it is harder than on a board or ski.
He scorns even the modern day flippers, and says Torquay beach has the longest body surfing waves he has ever seen.
And to support this view he quotes Ken Jones, captain of the Manly Life Saving Club, who visited Torquay last season with a team which enjoyed "the best surf we've seen."
Jock McPhee, 18, of Sydney's Freshwater Club; current New South Wales and Australian body-surfing champion, came down last month to investigate these reports and endorsed them.

Here's how to catch a wave according to the experts.

"Sprint" says he looks for a
wave that is steep and unbroken, and sets himself to catch it just before it breaks.
To catch it, he swims furiously as the wave overtakes him so that as it reaches him he is travelling at almost the same speed.
As it picks him up, while he is swimming, he gives what he calls a "flick" which is a last spurt forward as he draws his hands down alongside his body and hunches his shoulders and head forward and down.
"It is as if you are lying forward on your hips across a bar, and you must tip your head down and get your feet up.
"The front of your body must be stiffened into as flat a plane as possible so that you can glide down the slope of the wave as easily as possible.
"Arms are stiffened down the side of the body and the palms turned down, flat on the water, so that when you gather speed they take some of the weight of the body."
How do you pick a dumper?
"Sprint" says: "Every big wave that rises in shallow water must dump, and the best of surfers will be dumped.
"As a dumper is about to crash it will get steeper and by swinging your arms forward to catch the water and give yourself a quick lift forward, you can run ahead of most of the crashing water.
"But even the best of surfers will go 'down the mine' sometimes, and when that happens the best thing to do is to relax under the water and come up when all the thumping is over."
"Sprint" says it would take an average swimmer about a season to learn the tricks and craft of body surfing, but a good pool swimmer should learn it in half that time.
Surfing isn't just riding waves gracefully ashore either.
have to be able to get out through the incoming waves to catch them.
Nobody can swim through a great surfing wave, so the swimmer must go down to the bottom to dig his hands into the sand and drive forward with his feet to avoid the surge of the wave.
As soon as most of the wave is gone a swimmer must come up again and kick forward before the next wave comes to send him back again.

Probably the best man to ask about board riding is Rex Gilbert, 25 ("China" to his mates), who runs a Melbourne foundry when he is not on a surfboard, and who is current Victorian champion.
He says it is easier to ride aboard standing than lying or kneeling on it.
Instead of the steep wave the body surfer needs, "China"waits farther out for a green round wave, long before it starts to break.
"To catch the wave." he says."you have to paddle hard with your hands to get some way up and tip the nose of the board down so that it will begin to glide of its own momentum.
"But if the wave is too steep you have to bring your weight back, or you will run ahead of the wave.
"We call it 'running out of wave.'
"Normally you have to tip the nose of the board down the wave to keep the speed up, but you must keep the nose of the board just out of the water."
"If you let it catch the water you'll go down the mine.
nose will dig in and the board will throw you over and you've had it.
"You've got to go under water until the board stops bouncing.
"Some of the boys come in balancing on their heads or balancing backwards on their heads," said "China."
The standard surf board these days is hollow, is 16ft. long, and weighs 501b.
Built in Sydney, they cost £25.

Brian Beck, 22, who runs a Winchelsea general store, prefers a surf ski, and on it won the Victorian title last season.
His ski, thicker and broader than a surfboard, with a curved hull and flared bow, cost £55.
From first to last, riding a surf ski requires superb balance on a precarious perch, but Brian carries a double-ended paddle to give him power when he drives to catch a wave.
Surf skis have brought ashore two or three people at a time, and the surf  boat can carry more in a mass rescue.
But if there are no boards in the water, and the surf boat is not launched, it is the swimmer with the line who can always get there first.
And when the waves are too big for a board or ski man or surf boat to batter through, it is the trained surf swimmer, wise in the ways of big waves, and strong, who will always get through.


1952 'WE CAN BEAT SYDNEY'S SURF HOLLOW', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 4 January, p. 3. (The Argus Magazine), viewed 30 Nov 2016,
The Australian Women's Weekly
Wednesday 9 January 1952, page 16.

Now for the long, hot days of SUMMER....

From the crest of a sand- hill a suntanned young girl welcomes the long, leisurely days of summer. 
Most Australians make the most of the daylight hours before and after work.

Nearly everyone enjoys week-ends in the sun.

The energetic can enjoy the thrill of a surfboard ride. 
The lazy can loll on the beach with a book in one hand, an ice-cream in the other, and a hat pulled over the eyes.

1952 'Now for the long, hot days of SUMMER....', The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), 9 January, p. 16, viewed 7 April, 2013, 

The Sydney Morning Herald
14 January 1952, page 1

150,000 At Beaches

Lifesavers rescued 60 people at Sydney's surf beaches yesterday.
Sunshine attracted more than 150,000 people to the beaches.
A gusty north-east wind broke up the surf.

Club captains said it was "just a normal Sunday" but:one bekman rescued three people in quick succession at Manly.
Two lifesavers plunged into the surf at Bronte after a shark alarm had bcen given to go to the aid ot three girls.
At Bondi 26 people were brought in by life savers.
Largest crowds were at Bondi and North Bondi (40,000 together), Manly (30,000), where a new surf boat, the Rodney H. Creswell, was named and launched, and Maroubra (25,000).
Beltman Ron Rule had a busy afternoon at Manly.
He first brought ashore an unconscious woman, Mrs. Ellen Wallis, 39, of 29 Cliffe Road, Northwood, who was struck by a surf- board.
She was admitted to Manly District Hospital with a fractured spine.
Her condition is serious.
A few minutes later he rescued a 15-year-old boy, who was in difficulties about 300 yards out.
Immediately the boy had been carried on to the beach Rule swam out to an eight year-old girl, who had been hit by a surfboard.


There were shark alarms at North Narrabeen, Bondi, Deewhy, and Bronte.
When a shark was sighted a few hundred yards from the shore at Bronte three girls fell off their rubber floats in their haste to get out of the surf.
Two lifesavers, V. Boulton and K. Slade, dashed into the water to help them to the beach.
But the club surfboat picked up the girls and the lifesavers turned back.
The shark was chased away by the surfboat crew.

1952 '60 SURFERS RESCUED', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 14 January, p. 1. , viewed 29 Dec 2016,

The Australian Women's Weekly
23rd January 1952, page 36.
Vincent's Powders and Tablets.

The Sunday Herald
Sunday 27 January 1952, page 7S.


Thirty-eight lifesavers were disqualified in the surf- board race at Manly carnival yesterday.
The water referee, Mr. Lionel McDonald, disqualified the riders for not completing the course he had outlined at the start of the race.
Only five competitors rounded the correct buoy, and their leader, D. Cahill (Coogee) was declared the winner.
Other riders protested against their disqualification.
Their leading spokesman, Graham Ferris (Tamarama), has been cited to appear before the S.L.S.A. on Tuesday night for alleged remarks to the referee.
Former Australian surf ski champion Les Lazarus (Newcastle) made his first Sydney appearance of the season.
Lazarus won the single ski race and then took part in the double ski event.
He and his partner finished three feet behind the winners.
Surf Board Race- E Cahill (Coogee), 1. G Bevan (Coogee), 2. T McMahon (Bronte) 3.

Doubles Surf Ski Race- Mulcay brothers (North Cronulla), 1. Lazarus and Conolly (Newcastle), 2. Brown and Rowswell (Maroubra) 3.

Single Surf Ski Race: L Lazarus (Newcastle), 1. B Gallard (Avoca), 2. T Booth (Coogee) 3.

1952 'SURF RIDERS IN BITTER PROTEST.', The Sunday Herald (Sydney, NSW : 1949 - 1953), 27 January, p. 7 Section: Sports Section, viewed 7 April, 2013,

The Sun
Sydney, 2 February, 1952 page 5.

Despite the utmost care, seldom a summer weekend goes by that some surfer isn't hit by a surf board.
Mentioning that at Bondi last weekend a girl had her jaw dislocated by a surfboard and will probably be off from work for six months, a correspondent suggests that there should be some form of compulsory third party insurance for surfboard owners. It's an . interesting point.

1952 'NEIL MURRAY'S', The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), 2 February, p. 5. (LAST RACE LATE CRICKET), viewed 29 Dec 2016,

Barrier Miner
Broken Hill, 16 April 1952, page 4.


Barry Lumsdaine (18), of Freshwater Surf Club, caught a 30 lb jewfish in the surf at Freshwater
when his surfboard collided
with it.
"I was coming in on a big wave when I felt the board hit something," he said.
"The impact stopped the board and I saw a fish lying stunned in the water.
"I picked it up, put it on the board and brought it about 200 yards into the beach."
Lumsdaine weighed the fish at a local shop.

1952 'SURF BOARD STUNS FISH', Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954), 16 April, p. 4. , viewed 29 Dec 2016,

The Sun
Sydney, 14 September 1952, page 9.

Surfboard wrecked

A BEACH inspector was slightly hurt yesterday when his surfboard was smashed by a 20ft wave at Bronte.
The inspector, Bill Wallace, 25, clung to part of the wreckage until he was washed 300 yards to the shore.
He was cut on the head by a splinter of the smashed board.
Wallace was using the surfboard, which hwas 16ft, for the first time since it was damaged in March, when he competed in the surf championships.

1952 'Surfboard wrecked', The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), 14 September, p. 9. , viewed 29 Dec 2016,

The Sydney Morning Herald
Saturday 27 September 1952, page 9.

Best Surf In The World
By Craig McGregor

With the surfing season officially opening next Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of Australians will soon be visiting beaches to enjoy Australia's national pastime surfing.

It may seem an immodest claim, but there is little doubt that Australia has the best beaches and the best surf in the world.
Only Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ceylon, the southern States of U.S. and some Pacific islands have a surf at all.
At this time of the year especially, we should pay tribute to a Sydneysider, Mr. W. H. Gocher, who, 50 years ago, won for Australians the right to all-day surfing.
Australians had, of course, been surfing long before Mr. Gocher breasted the waves, although no one seems to know when or with whom it began.

At all events, by 1880 many young Australians were bathing regularly at Sydney's near-deserted beaches.
But surfing in those days was a clandestine affair- something to be indulged in early in the morning before too many people were about.
For the law expressly forbade (and still forbids) public bathing between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.

In 1902, Gocher, a journalist, announced that at noon on the following Sunday he would defy the law and publicly bathe at Manly beach.
True to his word, and before a large crowd of onlookers, Gocher carried out his promise.
He was not arrested, and since then Australians have surfed during the forbidden hours without interference.

Perhaps the most famous feature of Australian surfing are our Iifesavers.
The Australian voluntary system of surf lifesaving is unique, and the tanned lifesaver with his bright club, cap, who pays an average of 15/- a year for the privilege of saving your life, is as much a product of Australia as the kangaroo and kookaburra.
Since they began formal operations, surf Iifesavers have saved the lives of more than 80,000 people. To-day, there are more than 165 surf lifesaving clubs in Australia with a total membership of about 12,500.

Surf-lifesaving has come a long way sjnce the days of 1907, when á few youngsters formed lifesaving clubs at some Sydney beaches "just for the fun of it."
Two years later, representatives of these clubs met to form the Surf Bathing Association of New
South Wales.
The movement spread rapidly, and clubs were formed in Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland and New Zealand.
In 1920, the association changed its name to the Surf Life Saving Association of N.S.W., and three years later it adopted its present name of Surf Life Saving Association of Australia.

- Slightly in advance of the official opening of our surf season, Sydney's 18-footer sailing skiffs are out, lending colour and personality to the harbour's blue waters.
Above, a crew prepares its skiff at Double Bay for an afternoon's racing.

To-day, there are Surf Life Saving clubs in every State except the Northern Territory.
Australians have developed many unique contrivances to meet the demands of the surf.
Our first surfboat was designed by Fred Notting, a Manly club member, who gave it distinctive high ends and a curved keel.
Manly was the first club to use a surfboat; it proved such a success that all the other clubs adopted the idea as soon as they could raise the money.
The lifesaving reel and belt, the surf ski, and the rubber surfoplane all originated in Australia.
The Eve resuscitation rocker used on beaches here is an Australian adaptation of an English invention.
The flippers used by surfers to-day were developed from the type of flippers used by frogmen in World War II.
The original surfboard was not Australian; it was introduced here by Duke Kahanamoku, a visiting Hawaiian swimmer, in 1914.
Australian surfboard riders, however, soon modified the short, broad boards of the Hawaiians, which were constructed of solid wood.
By 1925, we had developed the hollow surfboard, which is much faster than solid boards.
The Australian surfboard today is a long, narrow board with pointed ends and continuously curved sides, and is completely hollow.
The art of "body shooting," or catching a wave so that it carries the surfer with it for hundreds of yards, is almost exclusively Australian.
Since its development early in the century, Australian surfers have introduced many improvements on the original body-shooting style.
The art of shooting waves with arms by the sides, reducing the force of the break by bringing the arms over, and dipping the shoulders and lifting the legs to keep the surfer on the wave are features of the present style.
Other refinements developed by Australian surfers include "cork- screwing" while racing down the front of the wave at 30 miles an hour and shooting the waves on one's back.
With surfing so popular here, it is not surprising that Australians have developed their own surfing language.
A surfer "catches," "shoots" or "cracks" a wave.
A waye which carries the surfer, right to the beach is called a "beacher," and an unusually big or fast wave is a "screamer."
The most feared of all waves is the "dumper," which instead of breaking gradually builds up into a tremendous wall of water and then suddenly "dumps" tons of water from heights of up to 30 feet. Any surfer who is unfortunate enough to be caught by a dumper is said to go "down the
mine" and other surfers have to "scrape him up."
A "mocking bird" (a variation on "galah") is anyone who gets in the way of a surfer "coming in" on a wave and into whom the surfer crashes.
The surfer then tells his mate that "my head stopped and my shoulders kept on going."
Our Iifesavers have also developed their own terminology.
The" "sweep" is the-lifesaver who mans the steering oar of a surf- boat.
The "beltman" is a man who swims out with the belt to anyone in distress, the "linesmen" those who pay out the line, and the "reelman" the man who works the reel.
One of the greatest contributions of Australian swimmers to the world has been the swimming stroke known as the "Australian crawl."
The common swimming stroke in use all over the world before the development of the Australian crawl was the trudgen (named after J. Trudgen).
This stroke utilised a frog-like kicking action which considerably reduced the speed of the swimmer.
According to the records, towards the end of the 19th century, a 12-year-old boy named Alick Wickham swam in a championship race at Bronte baths using a stroke which later became known as the Australian crawl.
Alick swam with his face submerged, taking breaths at long intervals, with his legs threshing straight up and down and with his arms moving rapidly.
Australia's swimmers soon adopted and modified the revolutionary new stroke, astonishing swimmers in other countries with its speed.
In 1910, the Australian swimmer, Frank F. Beaurepaire, using the crawl stroke, won every English title from 100 yards to a mile.
Competing in Scotland, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, South Africa, New Zealand, Canada and Hawaii, he was undefeated in 41 events and established five world records.
To-day the Australian crawl, or modifications of it, is used all over the world.
Swimmers recognise it as "the fastest of all swimming strokes".

1952 'Best Surf In The World', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 27 September, p. 9. , viewed 29 Dec 2016,

The Australian Women's Weekly
Wednesday 19 November 1952, pages 6 and 7.

Page 6

Surf team to show skill in Hawaii.

Seven surf lifesavers will fly to Honolulu on January 10 to show Hawaiians Australian methods of
surf rescue.
The men will be selected by the Surf Life Savin« Association to represent all States.
Pictures on these two pages show the fine types of young men who will be eligible for selection.
The names of the members of the team to represent the Commonwealth will be announced on December 13.

ABOVE: Coogee crew take their boat out over the breakers at North Wollongong,
where one of the oldest New South Wales clubs is established.

BELOW: Parade of teams in a March Past Championship: Tasmania (left); Queensland;
Henley, South Australia; New South Wales; and Western Au

On page 7

Merv Butterfield, chief instructor of South Australia
BJ;,, ttntre (in shorts), watches the Burleigh Heads, Queensland, team winning its heat.
Tasmanian team is on the right.
Standard-bearers on the dais.
Alex Prior, superintendent of W.A. Surf Life Saving Association, is in foreground.
líji^" ^^^T.
Wollongong (foreground) and Bulli in the march past at North Wollongong Surf Carnival.
Teams consist of 12 men with reel and flag.
Bondi's standard on the right.
Ampol Petroleum Ltd. will pay all the fares on the Hawaiian trip.
Bondi team takes part in a march past with Maroubra and Bulli.
The members of the team to go abroad will be picked for their ability to act as ambassadors for Australia, as well as for their lifesaving skill and surf prowess.
Members of the Burleigh Heads team give a rescue and resuscitation demonstration.
Judges are Myles Black, of Bondi (left), Andy Frizelle, Queensland (centre), and Alan Paterson, of Newcastle.
The Schaeffer method of resuscitation is used.
Supporters help leam members at a surf carnival.
The Australian voluntary system of beach patrols has received much praise abroad.

Two men will be chosen from N.S.W. for the Hawaiian trip, and one from each other State.

Illawarra Daily Mercury
Wollongong, 11 December 1952, page 13.

Surf Branch Titles At South Beach
(By William Heycott)

The Illawarra Branch
Championship Surf Carnival will be held on January 20 at South Beach.
This is the first time Wollongong has been honoured with the championships.
An event of this
nature takes some planning
Club members will certainly have their hands full organising it.
Wollongong added more points to its credit at the Stanwell Park surf carnival.
Ken Jones took first placing in the Junior Belt race to top off his win in the Junior Surf at the previous carnival at Corrimal.
The boat crew showed some of last season's form by taking first placing in the boat race.
Wollongong did well to win the March Past, an event which certainly calls for team work.
Arthur Morris proved he is still one of the best surfboard men on the Coast with first placing in the board race.
Wollongong also took first placing in the Chariot race.
Numerous entries are expected for the marathon surf-boat race at the Carnival to be held on Saturday.
Boats will commence from Brighton Beach and finish at South Beach, an estimated course of 11 miles round Flagstaff Point.
The club's own championships will be held on Sunday.
The Venetian Carnival will commence tomorrow and will run during the Christmas period.
Members enjoyed the trip to Garie Beach.
Competing against a large number of Sydney Clubs, they put ona creditable performance to take sixth placing in the R.iand R. with 9.43, and also with a dead-heat for third in the March Past.

1952 'Surf Branch Titles At South Beach', Illawarra Daily Mercury (Wollongong, NSW : 1950 - 1954), 11 December, p. 13. , viewed 29 Dec 2016,


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Geoff Cater (2011-2015) : Newspapers : 1952.