Thursday, April 5, 2012

Back In My Day

We were wandering down to the beach last night, for some beach night soccer, and these photographs caught my eye. They are part of the rejuvenated boardwalk along the Surfer's Paradise foreshore. This was Surfer's Paradise beach in 1967, the year I was born. That's the Surfer's Paradise Surf Life Saving Club. Look at all the umbrellas on the beach!

Even before the early 80's 'Slip, Slop, Slap' sun protection campaign had started, at least there was shade on the beach. I had only said to the boys, that morning on the beach, that when I was little, all you could see on the beach were umbrellas. These days, there's not one.... and to my horror, those younger than myself lie in the midday sun, face up to the sun, and sunbake!!! You don't see many, over my age, baking these days... that's because we are now starting to suffer. I have already had 8 things, that could have eventually killed me, cut out.... and I know that's just the start. I remember my Mum saying, "it's alright now, but wait until your forties". She was right. 

Umbrellas everywhere.

It's interesting. That 'Slip, Slop, Slap' campaign (featuring 'Sid the Seagull' singing to us about slipping on a shirt, slopping on sunscreen and slapping on a hat) resulted in reducing the incidence of the two most common forms of skin cancer... BCC, basel cell carcinoma and SCC, squamous cell carcinoma. Melanoma, the deadly one, is on the increase. The scary thing?...epidemiological studies have shown that increases in the prevalence of skin cancer are not necessarily prevented with the use of sunscreens. The shirt, and hat, sunglasses and sitting in the shade are still the best way to minimise risk. 

Cavill Avenue. I like it much better then. 

So where are the umbrellas today? There was not one on the busiest beach in Queensland yesterday. 
Not one. Should they resurrect 'Slip, Slop, Slap' for this generation? I think so. I stood there, right on the beach, amongst baking teenagers, lecturing my boys yesterday, pointing out the next BCC on my arm that needs to be cut out. I hope they get the message.

The safest time on the beach!

We washed the tiger off last night. It was coated in sand.
Stay tuned. The face painting is free. I think it might be spiderman today.
We've created a monster.

Happy Thursday!



  1. Ooh, I might be in one of those photos, A-M. My uncle and aunt lived at Labrador around that time and we went on a family holiday to visit them when I was 6 - which would have been in 1967. :D

    I remember my sisters and I had the cutest outfits, very trendy - capri pants (mine was in pastel aqua - my sisters each had a different colour) with a little frill around the hem and a matching crop top (again with the frill). Very 60s. I felt so glamorous....

    Wonder if I have a photo? Hmm.

    As for the sunbaking, I 've never understood it. Lying in the hot sun sweating and getting burnt to a crisp? Ugh.

  2. oh dear. I'm been reading too much face book. I started looking for the like button after reading your post and especially after reading Kerryn
    s comment.
    I had one of those popup tents for my boys for the times I took them to the beach when they were little. My folks had an umbrella. But I have vivid memories of my Aunt slathering herself with a mix of baby oil and vinegar ( vinegar stopped the burn!!! Oh sure) to get a suntan. I think my cousin who was about 15 months younger than me did the same some times. I do remember trying it once and thinking what madness it was.

  3. I have very fond memories of Surfers in the 70's as a child. So much fun. I was never one for cooking myself and mum always had sunscreen on us all the time but a few years ago I still got a bcc. All gone now and I am paranoid about the sun! Also, if only these kids knew how much older they'll look later on having cooked their beautiful skin!

  4. I was a young child in the 70s down the coast. My dad had a takeaway shop on Cavill Ave right near the beach (next to where Mcdonalds is today). Have great memories of it. When we moved to Brisbane in 1980 there were only 3 highrise in Surfers! Though I do remember the old guy spraying tourists with tanning oil - shudder


  5. I saw a lady yesterday at ikea. She would have been in her late 50's, in good shape, heels, mini dress but had obviously sunbaked herself silly. She was tanned and her skin looked like an elephant it was so damaged.
    It was even sagging over her knees.
    I guess she thought she looked good.

  6. I am obsessed with staying out of the sun, which in Qld is really hard to do. Growing up in the 80's in a small country town the only thing to do was head down to the local pool, where I would spend hours out in the sun with no sunscreen! Now in my mid 30's I am definintely suffering. My youngest always has sunscreen with her and is the only one at school on sports day with a longer sleeved shirt and hat on as sunscreen only does so much. On the umbrellas we were recently in Noosa and at one of the family beaches we went to there were literally a hundred or so umbrellas in all different shades, it made me stop in my tracks as it looked like a beautiful postcard but yes at many other beaches I have been too not a single one.

  7. Like most girls my age I too spent many hours at the Coast. Most of that time was spent on the beach waiting for boys. Remember the film Puberty Blues? Well, I relate to that. Being fair I knew then that I couldn't bake myself the same golden brown as my friends so I covered up. Nothing sexy in peeling beetroot red skin is there?
    Love the photos A-M, many memories there. Surfers was so much better back then when and the place to be seen was the Surfers Paradise Beer Garden. Another case of progress is not always better. Thanks for the great post today.

  8. I'm quite amazed by people being rather careful here in Australia. But every now and then you came across some one of "the old school". Went to Phillip Island some time ago (in the summer) and there on the beach next to me and my family were an oldish couple that had definitely had toooo much sun already, looking like gingerbread people smearing them self with OIL!! Who uses oil today! Anyway me and my family use sun screen and are pretty well covered up when on the beach and my girls only have long sleeved rashies on and long shorts. And don't even get me started on how difficult it is to find long board shorts for girls, almost impossible. I have to add though that our Kinder must have done a fantastic job because they refuse to leave the house without sun screen and hats so if we parents forget they wont let us.
    Have a nice Easter.
    Anette :-)

  9. Your photos brings back wonderful memories of Surfers back then, I agree it was a better place then.
    The building behind the Surf Club is "Sea Breeze" where I spent my honeymoon in 1968...across the road in Cavill Ave was the best Gelati bar e.v.e.r....I also remember the chilled pineapple drinks you could buy, they were divine. The Beer Garden was a great place to relax and enjoy live music, such a great atmosphere.

    My husband and I returned to Surfers most years for holidays (we were farming in Victoria), in 1983 we came here to live in the beautiful Gold Coast Hinterland.

  10. Simpler times back then wasn't it? Almost makes me wish we could chuck our commercialized, materialistic tendencies and go back to just living and loving life. Love those pictures A-M ~ makes me miss Surfer's so much. Happy Easter!


  11. I am a frequent visitor to my skin cancer specialist. I'm now paying the price.
    The message is loud and clear in Qld primary schools regarding sun protection, no hat no play etc. The message gets a little lost during high school but there is no excuse for our generation of Aussie parents not educating their children in protecting themselves. My kids have grown up watching me heal after excisions so they have learnt the consequences of baking oneself in the sun. All my damage was done as a child/teenager.
    Having said all that..there is still the need for a teensy dose occasionally (wearing sunscreen of course!) of vit D to remain healthy.
    These old photos are a blast from the past. Sounds like you are enjoying yourselves on the Goldy.

  12. Hi A-M

    Just wondering if you could help me, my blog has gone crazy any idea what may have happened or how i can fix it

    thank you
    Judy xxx

  13. I actually think that a lot more people wear hats in the sun these days then when I was a teenager/young adult in the 80's BUT I think people have also become complacent with the availability of really good sunscreens and they put their faith in those & wearing rashies. We don't have a beach umbrella but we have a fantastic beach shade which I can't imagine not being without. Mind you, we usually hit the beach for an hour tops & don't always take it ... a swim then a quick dry off, reapply of sunscreen then a play in the sand on the waters' edge & then we're off.

  14. I found when we were on holiday in Sydney a couple of years ago that the trendier the beach we visited the less rashies and hats and more girls in skimpy bikinis or guys in speedos even amongst the families.
    I imagine it might be similar on the Gold Coast!

  15. I didn't believe my father when he told my teenage self that I was headed for skin cancer just like him if I kept sunbaking. I couldn't imagine being "old" like him, so I couldn't possibly get skin cancer. Of course I paid the price and have had many skin cancers burnt, incised and "creamed". Fortunately my children are more sensible and have rarely been sunburnt in their 20 plus years.

  16. I'm super cautious with myself or the girls when we're out in the sun - Grace ALWAYS has a hat on. The number of times I've seen young children out in the sun without a hat baffles me. I worry about my husband though, the number of times he gets burnt after being out mowing the lawn... he's starting to learn and puts on a hat and sunscreen now but it's those 'not scorching hot days' that I worry about the ones where you don't think the sun will do any damage.

  17. The surfer's Paradise Surf Life savig Club Is familiar.All the ambrela of the beach look like hat!

  18. Oh A-M, this is a goodie. As a pale-skinned child with red hair genes in the family (not inherited by me), freckles and heat rash caused by the slightest sun exposure, I spent so many summers inside with the curtains drawn, watching the cricket. I went through my 20s, mortified at my white skin and too embarrassed to wear shorts as I was unfashionably pale.

    Imagine my horror, when aged 28, my dermatologist found 2 BCCs in the most obscure places and removed them.

    We tracked it back to a day about 20 years before when the sunscreen I kept slathering on during the day as I relaxed poolside didn't work. The result? I was as red as a lobster. I had so much calamine lotion applied to my skin that I stuck to my sheets. For a week, I shed skin like a snake.

    Then 20 years later, I paid the price. Two BCCs were found. Thank goodness for modern medicine. The experimental cream I applied brought out the most peculiar black substance from deep within my skin for weeks. All the result of that one day.

    Now I have my skin checked regularly as having BCCs so early means I have to be extra cautious. So I shudder at the damage those 'sunbakers' you saw are doing to their bodies. J x

  19. LOVE the umbrellas, with fringing & stripes, so fabulous, totally makes for a classic beach image. Love Posie

  20. Hi A-M

    I've been to two beaches in the past month - Currumbin and Cylinder on Stradbroke Island - and on both there were masses of umbrellas (including ours, of course!). I think it's a family beach thing. Not sure if Surfers constitutes a family beach.


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment. I love hearing from you. A-M xx