Bondi Beach

This article is about Bondi Beach. For other uses, see Bondi.
For the racehorse, see Bondi Beach (horse).
Bondi Beach
Sydney, New South Wales

Bondi Beach
Coordinates 33°53′28″S 151°16′40″E / 33.89102°S 151.277726°E / -33.89102; 151.277726Coordinates: 33°53′28″S 151°16′40″E / 33.89102°S 151.277726°E / -33.89102; 151.277726
Population 10,748 (2011 census)[1]
Established 1851
Postcode(s) 2026
Location 7 km (4 mi) E of Sydney CBD
LGA(s) Waverley Council
State electorate(s) Vaucluse
Federal Division(s) Wentworth
Suburbs around Bondi Beach:
Bellevue Hill Rose Bay North Bondi
Bondi Junction Bondi Beach Tasman Sea
Bondi Bondi Tamarama

Bondi Beach (/ˈbɒnd/ BON-dye) is a popular beach and the name of the surrounding suburb in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Bondi Beach is located 7 km (4 mi) east of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of Waverley Council, in the Eastern Suburbs. Bondi, North Bondi and Bondi Junction are neighbouring suburbs. Bondi Beach is one of the most visited tourist sites in Australia.


"Bondi" or "Boondi" is an Aboriginal word meaning water breaking over rocks or noise of water breaking over rocks.[2][3] The Australian Museum records that Bondi means place where a flight of nullas took place.

In 1809 the road builder William Roberts received a grant of land in the area.[4] In 1851 Edward Smith Hall and Francis O'Brien purchased 200 acres (0.81 km2) of the Bondi area that included most of the beach frontage, which was named the "The Bondi Estate." Hall was O'Brien's father-in-law. Between 1855 and 1877 O'Brien purchased his father-in-law's share of the land, renamed the land the "O'Brien Estate," and made the beach and the surrounding land available to the public as a picnic ground and amusement resort. As the beach became increasingly popular, O'Brien threatened to stop public beach access. However, the Municipal Council believed that the Government needed to intervene to make the beach a public reserve. On 9 June 1882, the Bondi Beach became a public beach.

'Bondi Bay' - a photo from circa 1900 from The Powerhouse Museum

On 6 February 1938 five people drowned and over 250 people were rescued or resuscitated after a series of large waves struck the beach and pulled people back into the sea, a day that became known as "Black Sunday".[5]

Bondi Beach was a working class suburb throughout most of the twentieth century with migrant people from New Zealand comprising the majority of the local population. Following World War II, Bondi Beach and the Eastern Suburbs became home for Jewish migrants from Poland, Russia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Germany. A stream of Jewish immigration continued into the 21st century and the area has a number of synagogues and a kosher butcher. The area today is very multicultural with a lot of new wealthy Asian families and Samoans. The multicultural migration funded and drove the growth of the suburb throughout the 90's into the turn of the century,[6] moving it steadily from its working class roots towards upper/middle class enclave[7] similar to its neighbors of Rose Bay and Bellevue Hill which was listed as the most expensive postcode in the country in 2003, 2004, 2005.[8][9]

Bondi Beach was long a centre for efforts to fight indecency in beach attire. The beach was a focal point of the 1907 Sydney bathing costume protests, organized to oppose proposed dress standards for beachgoers. The Local Government Act, Ordinance No. 52 (1935)[10] governed the decency of swimming costumes and was in force between 1935 and 1961, and resulted in public controversy as the two-piece "bikini" became popular after World War II. Waverley Council's beach inspectors, including the legendary Aub Laidlaw, were responsible for enforcing the law and were required to measure the dimensions of swimwear and order offenders against public decency off the beach. While vacationing in Australia during 1951, American movie actress Jean Parker made international headlines when she was escorted off the beach after Laidlaw determined her bikini was too skimpy.[11] The rule became increasingly anachronistic during the 1950s and was replaced in 1961 with one requiring bathers be "clad in a proper and adequate bathing costume", allowing for more subjective judgement of decency. By the 1980s topless bathing had become common at Bondi Beach, especially at the southern end.[12]

Sydney's Water Board maintained an untreated sewage outlet not far from the north end of the beach which was closed in the mid-1990s when a deep water ocean outfall was completed.


Southwest end of Bondi Beach, looking north-east

Bondi Beach is about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) long and receives many visitors throughout the year. Surf Life Saving Australia has given different hazard ratings to Bondi Beach in 2004. While the northern end has been rated a gentle 4 (with 10 as the most hazardous), the southern side is rated as a 7 due to a famous rip current known as the "Backpackers' Rip" because of its proximity to the bus stop, the fact that many backpackers and tourists do not realise that the flat, smooth water is a rip, and quite dangerous, and the unwillingness of tourists to walk the length of the beach to safer swimming. The south end of the beach is generally reserved for surfboard riding. Yellow and red flags define safe swimming areas, and visitors are advised to swim between them.[13]

There is an underwater shark net however it does not stretch the entire beach, it is made up of overlapping sections. Many other beaches along the same stretch of the coast have similar shark nets. Pods of whales and dolphins have been sighted in the bay during the months of migration (March–May, September–November). Fairy penguins, while uncommon, are sometimes also seen swimming close to shore or amongst surfers in southern line-up.

In 2007 the Guinness World Record for the largest swimsuit photo shoot was set at Bondi Beach, with 1,010 women wearing bikinis taking part.[14]

Bondi Beach was added to the Australian National Heritage List in 2008.[15]

In 2011 Waverley Council implemented Wi-Fi to Bondi Beach users. Service is free with limits on access periods and downloads per use. Cost of setup was estimated to be between $34 000 to $50 000 with annual costs of $25 000. Local business as well of The Bondi Chamber of Commerce supported the notion as locals and visitors are able to connect with local business, events and other community and council events.[16] In 2012 Mayer of Waverley Sally Betts said that the 2 million visitors annually, Wi-Fi offers access to local events and business information.[17] Safety information and a guide to enjoying the beach for bathers and surfers is available on[18]

Sport and recreation

Bondi Beach is represented in one of the most popular sporting competitions across Australia, the National Rugby League competition, by the local team the Sydney Roosters, officially the Eastern Suburbs District Rugby League Football Club (ESDRLFC).

Bondi Beach is the end point of the City to Surf Fun Run which is held each year in August. The race attracts over 63,000 entrants who complete the 14 km run from the central business district of Sydney to Bondi Beach. Other annual activities at Bondi Beach include Flickerfest, Australia's premier international short film festival in January, World Environment Day [19] in June, and Sculpture by the Sea in November. In addition to many activities, the Bondi Beach Markets is open every Sunday, and a food market every Saturday, at Bondi Beach Public School. Many Irish and British tourists spend Christmas Day at the beach.

An Oceanway connects Bondi to South Head to the north and other beaches to the south up to Coogee.

Bondi Beach hosted the beach volleyball competition at the 2000 Summer Olympics.[20] A temporary 10,000-seat stadium, a much smaller stadium, 2 warm-up courts, and 3 training courts were set up to host the tournament.

Lifesaving clubs

Bondi Surf Bathers' Life Saving Club claims to be the world's first surf lifesaving club,[21] and North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club is a federation club. Both clubs were founded in 1907. Bondi members invented the surf reel and many other icons of lifesaving. Surf lifesavers from both clubs were involved in the largest rescue ever on a single day, known as 'Black Sunday'. Bondi holds the most Australian Surf Lifesaving Championship gold medals in R&R (rescue & resuscitation) and North Bondi holds the most gold medals in March Past.

Bondi Icebergs

The Bondi Icebergs Swimming Club origin dates back to 1929 and owes its origins to the desire of a band of dedicated local lifesavers who wished to maintain their fitness during the winter months. They formed the Bondi Icebergs Winter Swimming Club and drew up a constitution and elected office bearers. Included in the constitution was a rule that to maintain membership it was mandatory that swimmers compete on three Sundays out of four for a period of five years.

Bondi Skate Park

The Bondi Skate Park opened to the public in 1991 with only two skate ramps. In 2004, the council sought consultation with the skating community for input on how best to upgrade the site.[22] The end result was the construction of a 12 foot deep with a 5-foot shallow bowl, rated 4 out of 5 stars by Skateboard Australia.[23] The bowl was designed by Chad Ford[23] and built by Zalem Pty. Ltd.[23] The park has been hosting BOWL-A-RAMA a skating competition since 2004;.[24] BOWL-A-RAMA attracts competitors and spectators nationally with Tony Hawk defending his title at its 2015[25] event along with other notable skaters Steve Caballero[26] and current world Champion Pedro Barros.[27]

Commercial area

Bondi Beach commercial and residential area, showing Campbell Parade in the centre

Bondi Beach has a commercial area along Campbell Parade and adjacent side streets, featuring many popular cafes, restaurants, and hotels, with views of the beach.[28][29]

The Hotel Bondi is a landmark on Campbell Parade. It was built from 1915-1920s and was designed by E.Lindsay Thompson. It combines Italianate, Federation and Free Classical elements and has been described as an "important landmark building in the Bondi Beach townscape." It has a state heritage listing.[30] The nearby Swiss Grand Hotel is also a landmark development on Campbell Parade, opposite the beach. It was built on the site of an old service station that had been derelict for many years.

Bondi Pavilion is a community cultural centre, located right on Bondi Beach, which features a theatre, gallery, rehearsal, meeting and function rooms, art workshop, studios. Bondi Pavilion is the centre for major festivals performances throughout the year. It has a state heritage listing.[31]

Culture and events

Numerous festivals and events such as the annual Miss Bondi beauty pageant have made Bondi Beach a popular destination among travellers. The beach has long captured the attention of poets including Joanne Burns, Les Murray and Brook Emery. The Vans Bowl-A-Rama skateboarding competition is held at the skate bowl in February every year.[32]

2010 Amnesty International Australia organised a gathering to support refugees and asylum seekers and urging the Australian Government to resume processing Afgan and Sri Lankan asylum seekers. They claim the cessation of processing is inconsistent with the 1951 UN Refugee Convention. Supporters created a human ring on the beach.[33][34]

2011 Crave Sydney International Food Festival-[35] Giant breakfast on the beach including yoga classes, capoeira performances and celebrity chefs Hayden Quinn of MasterChef Australia Series 3 and Bill Granger

2010 Guide Dogs-World's Largest Labrador

In 2010, the Swedish furniture store IKEA celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of its BILLY bookcase by setting up thirty bookcases stocked with books on Bondi Beach. It was a one-day event where beachgoers could take, swap, or donate books.[36]

View from Ben Buckler

Bondi Beach has been used as a location for numerous films, television series, music videos, and a video game:



An article in the Sydney Morning Herald, 6 December 1997, noted the increasing gentrification of the area. Nonetheless it remains a diverse community. Bondi Beach is often considered to be one of Sydney's most densely populated suburbs, with a population density of 10188/km² in 2011.

According to the 2011 census of Population, there were 10,748 residents in Bondi Beach. In Bondi Beach, 47.3% of people were born in Australia. The most common other countries of birth were England 9.0%, New Zealand 4.3%, Ireland 2.5%, South Africa 2.2% and United States of America 1.5%. 68.7% of people only spoke English at home. Other languages spoken at home included Russian 2.2%, Spanish 2.0%, French 1.8%, German 1.5% and Italian 1.4%. The most common responses for religion in Bondi Beach were No Religion 31.1%, Catholic 22.0%, Anglican 11.0%, Judaism 8.0% and Eastern Orthodox 2.4%. [1]

Notable residents


See also


  1. 1 2 Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Bondi Beach (State Suburb)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  2. Book of Sydney Suburbs, Frances Pollon (Angus and Robertson) 1990
  3. "Aboriginal Bondi". Cyber Bondi. 2000. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  4. Book of Sydney Suburbs
  5. ""Bondi's Black Sunday"" (PDF). Archived 27 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine. (113 KB). , Waverley Library Local History. Retrieved 27 September 2010.
  6. Wentworth Courier 20 July 2004
  7. Sydney Morning Herald, 6 October 2004
  8. Sydney Morning Herald, 18 December 2006
  9. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Annual incomes, Average home price Zip 2021 NSW
  10. NSW Local Government Act, Ordinance No. 52 (1935)
  11. Marks, Kathy (31 December 2008). "Topless wars reignited on Australia's beaches". The Independent. London. Retrieved 14 September 2009.
  12. ""Bikini arrests on Bondi Beach"" (PDF). Archived 20 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine. (206 KB). , Waverley Library Local History. Retrieved 27 September 2010.
  13. Sowerby, Neil (18 July 2007). "Riptides and spice in Oz". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 27 September 2010.
  14. "Beach babes shore up bikini record". Melbourne: Herald Sun. 27 September 2007. Retrieved 28 September 2007.
  15. Sydney Morning Herald, 1 January 2009, p.18
  16. Bartlett, Vanessa (Oct 2012). "Bondi View".
  17. "Eastern Suburbs Spectator". Nov 2012.
  18. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. "World Environment Day". Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  20. 2000 Summer Olympics official report. Archived 9 November 2000 at the Wayback Machine. Volume 1. p. 138.
  21. Bondi Bathers Surf Lifesaving Club
  22. "Bondi skate park - Waverley Council". Retrieved 2015-11-05.
  23. 1 2 3 "Bondi Skate Park Bondi". Retrieved 2015-11-05.
  28. "Bondi". Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  29. "Bondi Beach, New South Wales". Tourism Australia. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  30. State Heritage Register
  31. State Heritage Register
  32. "BOWL-A-RAMA". Vans. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  33. "Wentworth Courier". April 2010.
  34. "Save the Refugees Rally - Bondi Beach 8.5.10". you said it... Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  35. "Sydney International Food Festival 2011". Retrieved 2015-11-25.
  36. "Caveman allowed to stay". The Sydney Morning Herald. 21 May 2007.
  37. " 'Save the Caveman' Petition".
  38. "Bondi cliff dweller 'Two Hats' charged with rape". The Sydney Morning Herald. 5 November 2009.
  39. Robinson, Georgina (18 November 2009). "Bondi caveman's cliff-top home demolished". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  40. Kennedy, Les (19 June 2011). "No home, no rape, but still locked up". The Sun-Herald. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  41. "Bondi Beach". Carowinds. Retrieved 11 December 2012.


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