Young women’s visit to the holiday resort of Austinmer: A 1920s slide show

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THESE fantastic images were taken  from an album containing 68 photographs by an unknown photographer, of groups of young women, evidently on holidays at Austinmer in the 1920s.

I have selected over 30 photos that portray leisure activities undertaken by young women, presumably from the Sydney area, holidaying at Austinmer. The album also contains photos of the women holidaying at Terrigal (which are not featured here).

Recreational activities illustrated include walking on the beach, swimming, walking along coastal tracks above beaches, and staying in holiday cottages or guesthouses. These photographs provide evidence of women’s fashion in the 1920s, including bathing suits, swimming caps, dresses, hats and sun umbrellas. The shorter bobbed hairstyles popular in this period are also evident.

Little information is recorded in the album; dates have been estimated from the clothing and hairstyles. A single photo of the beach stuck separately on the last page with no other photos is captioned ‘Austinmer 1930’.

The only information given is the name Kathleen (or Kath) Begbie, which is written on the back of most photos, with her position in the group of women; example: ‘Kath Begbie, second from left’.

The album has a cover of crocodile skin and contains four blank pages. On the first leaf there is a manuscript poem titled ‘Austinmer’.

austinmer poem

Kathleen Begbie was the niece of Canon Begbie. She later married Dan Allen and moved to Queensland.

To album was presented anonymously to Mona Vale Library. Pictures: Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

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