To celebrate our love of sandy seafronts Onia is beginning a Beach of the Month series featuring our favorite coastal haunts from around the globe. First up: Bondi beach in Sydney, Australia.
One of the most well-known and popular urban beaches in the world, Bondi is a byword for the surf and sun lifestyle so associated with Australia. Located four miles west of downtown Sydney, Bondi receives over one million visitors a year and up to ten thousand people a day at the height of the summer season. Not only a tourist destination, Bondi plays a significant role in the local community; it is the home of a popular community center of the arts and hosts numerous events such as concerts and sporting competitions.
The beach and surrounding area has a long history of public activity dating back to the mid-19th century and has been a government owned and publicly accessible entity since 1882. However, swimming wasn’t allowed at the beach until 1906. The advent of water use was immediately followed by the creation of the Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club, the first of its kind in the world. The surrounding neighborhood, also known as Bondi, was once a rural suburb, then a working class neighborhood home to a large proportion of immigrants, and over the last twenty years has gentrified into an upper-middle class neighborhood popular with young and hip professionals.
The term ‘Bondi Blue’ was coined to describe the shade of the back of Apple’s 1998 generation of IMAC computers. The design took inspiration from the water off Bondi beach which was at once a deeply shaded blue and also a bright reflection of the sun and sky—producing a color that wasn’t a sky blue and wasn’t a deep ocean blue but a happy medium of the two.
In 1907 Bondi beach was the site of a landmark moment in swimwear history when it held a large demonstration protesting proposed bathing costume regulations. These regulations would have required men to wear a skirt-like tunic that fully covered them from the neck to the knees. Needless to say common sense and freedom of expression won out (at least for the men, women still had to observe rules that prevented the flaunting of such provocative body parts as the stomach and shoulders) and now all manner of wild and revealing dress can be found at Bondi, including topless bathing at the southern end of the beach. In fact, the Guinness World Record for largest swimsuit shoot in history was made here when over one thousand bikini clad women filled the beach to be photographed.