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Life’s a beach and don’t we love it!

Members of the Alexandra Headland Surf Life Saving Club performing rescue and resuscitation training on Alexandra Headland Beach 1956


Life’s a beach and don’t we love it!

Caloundra Regional Gallery’s latest exhibition explores how deeply surf culture is embedded in the psyche of our nation.

It’s universal: the beach is where we forget our worries and live in the moment.

In a celebration of Australia’s love of the ocean, Caloundra Regional Gallery’s latest exhibition Coastal Connections: beach culture past to present explores how beach culture is embedded in our nation’s identity, shaping our lifestyle, fashion and art.

The exhibition is on show until June 20 and includes artworks drawn from many private and public collections, including the Sunshine Coast Council’s Art and Heritage collection.

Community portfolio councillor Rick Baberowski says this exhibition of art, heritage objects and film was a fabulously encouraging way to celebrate and absorb yourself into aspects of our Sunshine Coast’s outstanding beachside culture.

“Our ocean is such a dynamic space both in terms of what’s in and around it, so it’s doubly important to tell and preserve significant stories, so that future generations get some insight into what we thought and understood at the time,” Cr Baberowski says.

“The telling of those stories also makes us think about our own experiences and memories and reminds us to be the best guardians we possibly can of our exceptional environment and lifestyle.”

Caloundra Regional Gallery manager and curator Jo Duke says the exhibition contemplated our love for the surf, sea and shore.

“The artworks on show celebrate our enduring connection with the coast, including works by Kabi Kabi/Gubbi Gubbi/Wakka Wakka Elder Aunty Hope O’Chin, capturing cultural heritage stories handed down over thousands of years,” Ms Duke says

“Another highlight is the thought-provoking photographic collection by prominent Australian photo-media artist Anne Zahalka, who uses iconic beach images to explore Australian identity and place.

“In addition to the public collection pieces, the exhibition provides visitors with unique access to incredible objects from private collections. From surfboard fins to LP covers and Mambo T-shirts, the vibrant display demonstrates the impact of coastal culture to our lifestyle, music, fashion and art.

“Towering grandly over the exhibition is a solid redwood surfboard, crafted during Duke Kahanamoku’s visit to Australia in 1915. Known as “the father of modern surfing”, Duke’s Sydney exhibition of wave riding with a surfboard modelled on traditional Hawaiian design was a defining moment for our nation’s emerging surfing culture.

“Excitingly, the exhibition also includes a new short film Allure of the Beach, funded by the Cultural Heritage Levy, which captures touching recollections from key Sunshine Coast identities to record, preserve and share their memories.”

Hayden Kenny, Australia’s first Ironman champion and Alexandra Headland SLSC life member is featured in the film and says his first time at the beach was a classic day.

“There was a light offshore breeze, the water was clear and I was invited to have a swim in the club’s surf race –you couldn’t get a better introduction to sell the place,” Mr Kenny says.

Serena Brooke, former Association of Surfing Professionals and World Surf League professional surfer is also featured in the film. Serena hails from the Sunshine Coast and says being one of six kids, it was a big thing to go to the beach back then.

“I specifically remember being on a hot shot boogie board and looking out at surfers and I didn’t even know what it was at that point. I was just like ‘oh my god, I want to go out there’,” Ms Brooke says.

“I’ll always remember that first time I saw surfing and I saw surfers and that feeling of just being at the beach—I loved it. It’s amazing.”

The film is also available to view at The Caloundra Regional Gallery can be found at 22 Omrah Avenue, Caloundra and is open Tuesday to Friday 10am–4pm and Saturday and Sunday 10am–2pm. Entry to the exhibition and kids’ art bags are free.


Exhibition events

Film screening
The Beach Saturday May 22 at 2.30pm
Saturday June 5 at 2.30pm

Up-late workshop
Surf Art with Amanda Davidson
Friday June 11 at 6pm

From the Artist livestream:
Anne Zahalka, Wednesday May 19 at 7pm.

Bookings can be made at 


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