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An image of Surf carnival, Cronulla by Hal Missingham

Hal Missingham

(Australia 08 Dec 1906 – 07 Apr 1994)

Surf carnival, Cronulla
printed 1978
Media category
Materials used
gelatin silver photograph

38.1 x 26.3 cm image; 50.7 x 40.5 cm sheet

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Purchased 1978
Accession number
© Hal Missingham Estate
Not on display
Further information

Hal Missingham often holidayed at his beach house at Garie in the Royal National Park south of Sydney, not far from Cronulla. In 1970 he published ‘Close focus’ a book of photographic details of rocks, pools, sand and driftwood. As a beachcomber and observer of beach culture Missingham delighted in his immediate environment. ‘Surf carnival, Cronulla’ is a quintessential Australian scene, one that frames an important aspect of national identity and culture. As passive observers, the 1960s was a time when many girls were still ‘minding the towels’ for the boys who surfed or competed in carnivals. Barricaded from the beach and its male activity the young women in bikinis are oblivious to the photographer who has foregrounded their relaxed tanned bodies behind the wire as they in turn observe and discuss the surf lifesavers in formation at the water’s edge. Although a beach is accessible for the majority of Australians and is now an accepted egalitarian space where women bodysurf, ride surfboards and compete along with beachgoers from diverse ethnic backgrounds, 'Surf carnival, Cronulla’ suggests a specific demography.

© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007

Bibliography (2)

Rose Peel, Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection, 'Australian postwar photo-documentary', pg.189-207, Sydney, 2007, 188 (illus.), 205 (illus.).

Linda Slutzkin, On the beach, Sydney, 1982, 22 (illus.). catalogue no: 19

Exhibition history (5)

On the Beach, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 08 Dec 1982–28 Dec 1982

Four Photographers, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 02 Jun 1990–19 Aug 1990

Fine and mostly sunny: photographs from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 28 Sep 1991–01 Dec 1991

The artist in a director: the art of directors of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 13 Feb 2008–07 Mar 2008

Australian vernacular photography, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 08 Feb 2014–18 May 2014