Australia’s first volunteer surf life saving clubs appeared on Sydney’s ocean beaches in 1907. Prior to this date by-laws banned bathing in daylight hours. The surf was new to most beach goers and many could not swim. As a consequence came more drowning and attempts at rescue.
By the summer of 1906-07, the population of Sydney was obsessed with the question of the safety of the surf. It was in this environment that surf life saving clubs first emerged; their regular patrols a welcome relief to local authorities and nervous bathers alike.