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    13 Jan 2018

    17 Dizzying Photos Of The Crowd On Bondi Beach Over More Than 100 Years

    Parking in Bondi was never not a problem.

    Circa 1895-1908

    Courtesy of the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

    “Bondi” or “boondi” is an Aboriginal word used to describe a wave crashing on a beach.


    Historia / REX / Shutterstock

    The land around Bondi Beach was purchased in 1851, together with its small building known as "Bondi Lodge", for £300 by Edward Smith Hall, in trust for his daughter, Georgiana, who had married Francis O'Brien. It became the O'Brien Estate.


    Courtesy of the State Library of New South Wales

    In 1855 the beach was opened to the public. Although still in private hands, members of the public were allowed to access the foreshore area.


    Courtesy of the State Library of New South Wales

    It wasn't until 1882, through government intervention, that Bondi Beach became public land and kept its traditional name.


    Courtesy of the State Library of New South Wales

    The traditional custodians of the land around Bondi Beach are the Gadigal. They lived on the south side of Port Jackson – from South Head to Long Cove (Darling Harbour). You can still spot some Aboriginal art today if you head to the cliffs on the Ben Buckler side.


    Ivan Ives / Courtesy of Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales and Courtesy ACP Magazines Ltd
    Ivan Ives / Courtesy of Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales and Courtesy ACP Magazines Ltd

    The Local Government Act, Ordinance No. 52 (1935) set the rules for swimming costumes, and was in force until 1961. Men’s and women's costumes had to have legs at least 3 inches long; they had to completely cover the front of the body from armpit to waist level; and they had to have shoulder straps or other means of keeping the costume in place. Those who broke the rules faced arrest for offensive behaviour.


    John Dominis / Getty Images

    Plenty of wealth is centred around Bondi today, but it wasn't always so. Early attempts at subdivision (see O'Brien's Estate above) did not attract buyers because the site was "at a distance of some miles from Sydney Town".


    John Carnemolla / Getty Images

    In fact, Bondi was a suburb for the working class for much of the 20th century.



    There was once an amusement park just south of Bondi in Tamarama Gully. It was called Wonderland City (hence, the street named Wonderland Avenue today!) and was meant to be Sydney's version of New York's Coney Island. It closed down in 1911 but in its day it was the largest outdoor amusement park in the Southern Hemisphere.


    Brendan Beirne / REX / Shutterstock

    Before 1902 it was illegal to swim in the surf daylight hours. In that year the law was flouted and the floodgates opened.


    Alexis Duclos / Getty Images

    In 1906 the first surf lifesaving club in the world was formed at Bondi to cater to the increased number of people in the water.


    Adam Pretty / Getty Images

    Trams used to service the route now taken by the 380 and 333 buses from Circular Quay, through Oxford Street and Bondi Road, zipping down the hill on the south side of the beach and terminating at the north end of Campbell Parade.


    Mick Tsikas / AAPIMAGE

    Parking in Bondi has been an issue since the 1920s when the beach experienced a boom in visitors and motor vehicle-owning residents. In 1926 Waverley Council introduced parking meters and fees.


    Lisa Maree Williams / Getty Images

    The beach attracts quite a crowd. In 2016, 2.7 million people visited Bondi.


    Dean Lewins / AAPIMAGE

    Almost 21,000 people live in the suburbs of Bondi Beach and North Bondi.


    Glenn Campbell / AAPIMAGE

    Bondi's famous Icebergs Swimming Club owes its name to local lifesavers trying to maintain their fitness even through the winter months.

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