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Cronulla Surf Museum

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by Lexa T (subscribe)
I love to unearth the layers of the story, finding the essence with my endless questions and what I sense. Enjoy the reads. Travel bondigirlmeets.wordpress.com travellingwithlexat@gmail.com
Published June 11th 2012
For anyone who is interested in surfing history and beach culture, this amazing surf gallery tucked away in Cronulla Central is a must to see.
You live for the first light patrols, you wait for the late glass off, you pray for the unexpected swell spike, you long for the corduroy days. quote on the photo

Both walls of the 30 metre long walkway to the library are dedicated to 100 years of Australian surfing history with an emphasis on Cronulla, showing its evolution.
Surf Gallery - part of one wall dedicated to surfing.

2 walls 30 metres long covers 100 years of Australian surfing history

One wall displays a series of 41 historical events set out in a timeline, from the early days of 1906 when Sutherland Council became responsible for the regulation of bathing and the beach, and was patrolled by police officer Henry Tugwell, on horseback. No budgie smugglers for him, the attire of the day was a woolen suit, leather boots and a bowler type hat.
Henry Tugwell, the first 'lifesaver' on Cronulla beach 1906

Underneath the photo quotes an article written in the local paper, stating they had lost a life (from drowning) because someone had taken so long going to the store to buy a clothes line - where was Bondi Rescue when you needed them!

Highlights along the timeline include:
1927: Phillis Stroud became the first 'Surf Queen'. The title was based on her looks, not for surfing skills.
The first Surf Queen 1927

1950: 'Tooth Picks' was the name for the 16 foot racing surf boards. Their sheer size allowed surfers to surf the waves quickly, however too heavy to cart around so owners kept them at the surf clubs.
You wouldn't want to strap one of these to the roof of your car!

1956: The year of the Melbourne Olympics and coincided with the Australian Surf Life Saving titles held in Torquay. The American team arrived with a new type of surfboard; made from balsa wood and covered with fiberglass and 2.5 metres long. It became known as the Malibu surfboard and led a revolution in the surfing culture of Australia over the next few years.
The year the Malibu was born, 1956

1979: Cult Surfie Saga book, Puberty Blues was born on the sands of Cronulla. Bruce Beresford directed a film based on this book in 1981 and many scenes were omitted or softened due to censorship of the day. A TV version is currently being filmed and hopefully the story will be told as was originally written.
Cult 1979 novel Puberty Blues was born on the beaches of Cronulla

1984: The first world surfing titles held at night in Cronulla on Elouera Beach.
1987: Cronulla waters were marathon swimmer Susie Maroney's 'office' and playground.
The first world night surfing titles held in Cronulla. A new meaning to fear and terror!

1999: Local Mark Occhilpuo sparked a comeback to surfing and won the 1999 the World surfing champion title at age 33.
Mark Occhilpuo's World champion title 1999

2002: Bali Memorial was erected in Cronulla, dedicated to the seven shire women who died in the Bali bombings. Their ashes were ceremoniously scattered over the Cronulla waters by resident surfers.

2011: Our present new generations of surfers include young females and families who partake in the recreation and sport.
Many social attitudes have changed and surfing is now a multi-million dollar business, a far cry from a pastime for dropouts. It has been quite a journey.

The opposite wall depicts amazing over life size photos of surfers in action and inspiring quotes of what surfing means to them.
Isn't this guy a cricketer? Surfing can never be mastered, the ocean is always in control! quote on the photo. Ah, yes mother nature always reminds us.

Surfing is a gut wrenching contact sport where you meet the unstopable force of the ocean. quote on the photo

A shame this mammoth project is not displayed in a more prominent outdoor space for all to see on a regular basis, maybe the weather would fade the images, or fear of vandals.
Cronulla surfing areas

A piece of Australian history, it's truly worth seeing and taking the time to read, with many tourists seeking it out to photograph the images.

Trivia.
Cronulla Beach was declared a National Surfing Reserve in 2008, the fifth site in Australia to be recognised for its significance to recreational surfing.

Try Surfing.
Let's see what all this fuss is about and learn to surf at one of the many surf schools located on the coast of NSW, but first you may need to learn a little of the surfing lingo so you don't sound like a kook and learn the surfer's code of conduct before you hit the water.

Then slip, slop slap on the sunscreen and you are ready to go.

Did you know?
The first known European to describe board surfing was Lieutenant James King, commander of the Discovery, 1779 in Hawaii, just months after Captain cook was killed in Tahiti.
Early drawings of board riding in Hawaii image Wikipedia

Surfing was commonly known as 'the sport of kings' reserved for Hawaiian royalty only until the end of the tabu system in 1819.
I would like to see a wave roll like this! image wilipedia


To sum up one of the quotes:
I have spent half my life surfing, the other half I have wasted.
A true surfer.
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Why? Polish up on your surfing knowledge!
When: Every day during working hours
Where: Cronulla Central Arcade, Cronulla Street, Cronulla
Cost: Free
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