Sydney Beaches: A History


It’s spring! Time to dust off our togs, thongs, hats and all the things that make us comfortable at the beach.

This year, beach-going historians will have the perfect reading material. PHA (NSW) member Caroline Ford’s new book has just come out – Sydney Beaches: A History. Caroline offers her reader a fascinating analysis of the way Sydney’s beaches came to be as they are: how they came to be public land treasured by bathers and surfers, but not places to set up a shack; how they came to be clean enough to swim in again after decades of pollution by sewage and refuse (and how the keenest continued to bathe amongst the floating garbage); and how beach erosion has shaped the Sydney coastline.

The book embodies the findings of Caroline‘s many years of highly skilled, persistent and perspicacious research in NSW State Records holdings and local collections. Its story of the beaches is utterly intertwined with the stories of Sydneysiders. It makes a highly entertaining read and is replete with stunning images of beach athletes, activists and the general public getting in and out of their swimwear.

Minister for Environment and Heritage, Rob Stokes will be launching the book on Thursday 23 October at 6 for 6:30pm at Ariel Books – come along (42 Oxford St, Paddington) and have your copy signed!  RSVP to

Post by Emma Dortins

Image: South Steyne Surf Life Saving Club members surfing in 1928

4 thoughts on “Sydney Beaches: A History”

  1. Hi Kevin, thanks for your comment and nice pick up – no there wasn’t a South Steyne SLSC in the 1920s. These fellas were members of the Manly SLSC surfing at South Steyne. Oops!

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