Images of the beach pervade Australian popular culture. But the deeper significance of the experience of the beach, and its influence on Australian culture generally, has not yet been seriously explored. How, why and when did the beach become part of the Australian way of life? This work describes the forces and pressures that encouraged or impeded Australian's enjoyment of sand and surf. The ways in which artists, writers, film-makers and the advertising industry have depicted the beach are examined for the light they throw on the beach's significance. The arguments should stimulate debate on the concept of ""national identity"" appropriate for a new Australian century, and promote a deeper understanding of an aspect of life in Australia that is cherished by many of those who live there.
Lcone Huntsman is not a bodysurfer, a boardrider or a lifesaver. She is one of those millions of Australians who feel an emotional and spiritual attachment to the beaches with which this nation is so fortunately endowed. Until her retirement she was Senior Lecturer in Child Development at the Institute of Early Childhood at Macquarie University.