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Profile

Bondi Beach (pronounced "BOND-eye" with a long i, or /'b?nda?/) is a popular beach and the name of the surrounding suburb in Sydney, Australia. Bondi Beach is located 7 kilometres 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 separate neighbouring suburbs.

The Beach

Bondi Beach is about one kilometre long and has many tourists visit 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" (also known as the "Bondi Tram" or the "Bronte Express" because you would supposedly end up at Bronte - two beaches south - if caught in it). In actual fact, there are up to five rip currents operating along the beach, the Backpackers' Express being the one closest to the designated swimming area. There is an underwater shark net shared, during the summer months, with other beaches along the southern part of the coast.

Sport and Recreation

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 in June, and Sculpture By The Sea in November. In addition to many activities, the Bondi Beach Markets is open every Sunday. Many Irish and British tourists spend Christmas Day at the beach.

Bondi Beach hosted the beach volleyball competition at the 2000 Summer Olympics. 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. The local now actively discourages beach volleyball and has forced groups of regular weekend players to move to other beaches.

Lifesaving Clubs

Bondi Bathers Surf Lifesaving Club is the world's first surf lifesaving club and North Bondi Surf Lifesaving 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 Lifesaveing Championship gold medals in R&R (rescue & resuscitation) and North Bondi hold the most gold medals in March Past.

Bondi Icebergs

The Swimming Club's 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.

The Icebergs became licensed in 1960 and the members moved from a tin shed into comfortable premises with Bar and Poker Machines. A further update took place in the 1970s enabling the Club to operate on two floors. In 1994 female members were admitted and in 2002 the Club opened their new premises. The Icebergs are the only licensed Winter Swimming Club in the world.

Commercial Area

Bondi Beach has a commercial area along Campbell Parade and adjacent side streets. Bondi Beach features many popular cafes, restaurants and hotels, with spectacular views of the beach. Hotel Bondi is a famous landmark opposite the beach featuring a number of popular bars and restaurants. The nearby Swiss Grande Hotel Bondi Beach is also a landmark development opposite the beach.

Bondi Pavilion is a community cultural centre, located right on Bondi Beach, which features a theatre, gallery, rehearsal, meeting and function rooms, art workshop, pottery and studios. Bondi Pavilion is the centre for major festivals performances throughout the year.

History

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

In 1851, Edward Smith Hall and Francis O'Brien purchased 200 acres of the Bondi area that embraced almost the whole frontage of Bondi Beach, and it 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. It was not until June 9, 1882, that the Government acted and Bondi Beach finally became a public beach.

Bondi Beach was a working class suburb throughout most of the twentieth century. Bondi Beach and the Eastern Suburbs also became home for many mainly Jewish migrants as people fled war and the Holocaust from Poland, Russia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Germany, while a steady stream of Jewish immigration continues into the 21st century mainly from South Africa, Russia and Israel. This characteristic can be noted by the synagogues, kosher butchers and the Hakoah Club. During the 1970s and 80s, it was renowned for its immigrant New Zealander population. The Bondi Astra hotel, now an apartment complex, was notorious as a place to buy illegal late-night liquor and heroin.

A major factor in Bondi's seedy image was the fact that Sydney's Water Board maintained an untreated sewage outlet not far from the north end of the beach, resulting in the term 'Bondi Cigar' - a somewhat exaggerated reference to human faeces floating in on the tide. The sewage outlet was closed in the mid 1990s when a deep water ocean outfall was built. In recent decades, Bondi has become gentrified and is home to many famous Australians such as media baron James Packer and TV personality Larry Emdur. Numerous festivals and events such as the annual Miss Bondi beauty pageant have made Bondi Beach a popular destination among travelers.

Pop Culture

Bondi Beach has been used as a location for a few Australian and International movies and television series.

* Bondi Rescue is a reality television series filmed on Bondi Beach.
* Breakers was a television drama series filmed around Bondi Beach.
* The Block is an Australian Television series, the first season was filmed at Bondi Beach.

Population

Demographics

According to the 2006 Census there were 29,920 persons usually resident in the postcode area of 2026, which includes Bondi Beach, Bondi, North Bondi and Tamarama. Country of Birth of these residents was Australia 70.9%, followed by England 6.0%, New Zealand 3.4%, South Africa 3.2%, Ireland 1.4% and United States of America 1.0%. English was stated as the only language spoken at home by 64.0% of persons. The most common languages other than English spoken at home were: Russian 2.6%, Hebrew 1.4%, Spanish 1.1%, French 1.1% and German 1.0%. The most common responses for religious affiliation for persons usually resident were Catholic 19.8%, No Religion 19.2%, Judaism 15.1%, Anglican 10.3% and Eastern Orthodox 2.3%.

Notable Residents

* James Packer, businessman
* Larry Emdur, TV presenter
* In March 2007, Waverley Council started proceedings to evict a hermit from a site overlooking the beach. Jhyimy "Two Hats" Mhiyles came to the beach during the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Since then he has become something of a local celebrity for his lifestyle and poetry recitals to visitors. Residents and tourists put together a petition entitled "save the caveman" of which allowed Jhyimy to continue residing but under certain rules. (Credit: Wikipedia).

Other

Richard Branson often visits Bondi Beach when in Australia

Peter Carrette, one of the world's most respected and talented photographers (or "paps") is based at Bondi Beach

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