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Sepia Saturday – Bronzed Aussies

Do you call this a beach?

Faces On The Beach (c1910)

This week’s prompt Faces On The Beach has me exclaiming, in my broadest possible Australian accent “Where’s the beach? All I can see are pebbles and rocks!”

The young people do seem jolly enough but they obviously haven’t seen the golden sands and sparkling surf of real beaches.


My family took to the beaches..

From the family files – a group on Byron Bay beach c. 1920. Note the sand.

Byron Bay is the touchstone of my paternal family; a place where generations lived, worked and played. The beach, and in particular the surf club, was the great equalizer in Byron Bay,

It was on the beach, at the Surf Club, and at places such as the extremely popular Seabreeze Dance Floor, that young people of all backgrounds met and played.

Another from my files – walking along the beach at Byron Bay.

and became lifesavers.

Early Byron Bay surf lifesaving squad. My great uncle Frederick Norman Poolman is in the centre, just to the right of the reel.

My family has had a long involvement with the Byron Bay Surf Life Saving Club. Pictured below is my great aunt Iris Edna Harris (far right) standing beside her future? husband Frederick Norman Poolman at Byron Bay (second from right). Fred Poolman’s sister Coralie was also heavily involved in fundraising for the club.

My great aunt Iris Edna Harris (far right) standing beside her future? husband Frederick Norman Poolman at Byron Bay (second from right)
Iris Poolman nee Harris (foreground) ‘lifesaving’ at Main Beach, Byron Bay, NSW.
c.1928. The old clubhouse is in the background.
Northern Star, 10 January 1945, page 3

My grandfather .William Henry Allan Harris was a longtime member of the club, initially as a junior member. He was appointed as captain of the club during World War 2 and only relinquished the position in early 1945 on being transferred to Cowra.

He was the captain in those years as many of the younger men, were away at war while he was classified as an essential worker.

In later years my grandfather transferred his love of the beach to a passion for beach fishing.

I still have his Bronze Medallion (Lifesaving)from this time.





We swam in rivers and creeks.

My great aunt Iris Edna Harris posing in front of Fawcett Bridge over Wilsons River,
Lismore NSW.
,Alma Pritchard , a first cousin of Iris Harris standing beside Terania Creek NSW,
25 January 1926

while others sat on the beach.

My grandparents – William Henry Allan Harris and Mary Thelma Woolley (couple on the right) on the beach at Byron Bay.
Another photo of my great aunt Iris – taken in later, less modest years.

And then it was my turn.

My love of the beach, any beach, developed at a very young age, and, as shown by my photos, so did my love of wearing white tee-shirts to the beach.

Yours truly standing outside the Evans Head Surf Lifesaving clubhouse, Evans Head
New South Wales
On the path to the beach at Broulee, New South Wales – one of my local beaches
Retirement time on my local beach – Moruya Heads, New South Wales.

Click to see what other bloggers did with Sepia Saturday 510.


4 thoughts on “Sepia Saturday – Bronzed Aussies Leave a comment

  1. All terrific photos, but your great uncle’s lifesaving squad is a museum quality work of art. The blend of sky into sand distorts the perspective so the little men in the background make the lifeguards look like giant monoliths. The sepia tone also adds to the mysterious dream quality. And your own grainy tee-shirt snap is another graphic winner.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Neat post with many good photos. Your great Aunt Iris’s real beauty shines in the 1950s (I’m guessing) photo of her on the beach in a strapless ‘Jansen’ swimsuit.


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