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Bondi Beach

Representations of an Iconic Australian

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  • © 2021


  • Provides multiple, open-ended historical representations and perspectives of Bondi Beach
  • Challenges and reconfigures dominant discourses of ‘reality’ by opening them up to a multiplicity of contexts
  • Written in a rigorous yet accessible style, appealing to a broad, interdisciplinary scholarly audience and beyond

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About this book

Bondi Beach is a history of an iconic place. It is a big history of geological origins, management by Aboriginal people, environmental despoliation by white Australians, and the formation of beach cultures. It is also a local history of the name Bondi, the origins of the Big Rock at Ben Buckler, the motives of early land holders, the tragedy known as Black Sunday, the hostilities between lifesavers and surfers, and the hullabaloos around the Pavilion. Pointing to a myriad of representations, author Douglas Booth shows that there is little agreement about the meaning of Bondi. Booth resolves these representations with a fresh narrative that presents the beach’s perspective of a place under siege. Booth’s creative narrative conveys important lessons about our engagement with the physical world.

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Table of contents (11 chapters)

  1. Part I

  2. Part II


“A fascinating and charming book. I especially loved the autobiography of a beach…” (Elizabeth Farrelly, Author of Killing Sydney) 

“More than a history of Bondi, Booth’s Bondi Beach: Representations of an Iconic Australian is an autobiography of Australia’s most famous beach. Drawing together meticulous research, this thought-provoking account takes readers on a fascinating journey which culminates in an entrancing account of Bondi Beach from a fresh new perspective.” (Dr. Caroline Ford, Principal Policy Officer, Aboriginal Cultural Heritage at Heritage NSW, Australia) 

“Bondi is sacred to many Australians. It is a mecca for international tourists, but how well do we know its history? Professor Doug Booth has comprehensively provided an account of how this beach and its suburb has evolved. It is a remarkable story of struggles to regain beach access for all and to ensure it stays an iconic public asset forever.” (Emeritus Professor BruceThom, University of Sydney, Australia) 

“In this erudite book the famous Australian beach – Bondi – is revealed in all the nuance, complexity, and dynamism that has beguiled across multiple generations, identities, and cultures both nationally and internationally. With great methodological and theoretical sensitivity, Douglas Booth nurtures an appreciation for contested and surprising historical, material, representational, and practical sensibilities that constitute Bondi Beach. This book is a profound and urgent demonstration of how to be more responsive to the entanglements that will help a more reflexive ethical relationship with place emerge, not only in Bondi but also elsewhere.” (Dr Clifton Evers, Co-Director of EDI for School of Arts & Cultures, Newcastle University, UK) 

“Booth’s Bondi Beach: Representations of an Iconic Australian is a creative book that extensively engages with critical scholarship to produce a progressive and innovative history. Using the tenets of the philosophy of history, as articulated by a band of critical historical scholars, the author links geology, geography, cultural studies, sport history, heritage studies, Indigenous history and Bondi Beach. Booth consciously and conspicuously places himself, as the author/historian, at the centre of the scholarship.” (Professor Murray Phillips, The University of Queensland, Australia)

“Doug Booth is one of the world’s leading sports historians. Renowned for his uncompromising approach to his craft he always challenges his reader to think about his subject in new and compelling ways.  This is no less the case with Booth’s new history of Australia’s iconic Bondi Beach.  His transdisciplinary approach which draws together a range of disciplines, notably history and the earth sciences, provides new insights and he completes the work with a bold new approach to biography.  A must read from a historian at the top of his game.” (Sean Brawley, Professor of History and Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adventure, Culinary Arts and Tourism, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, Canada

    Douglas Booth

About the author

Professor Douglas Booth is Dean of Adventure, Culinary Arts and Tourism at Thompson Rivers University (Canada), an Emeritus Professor at the University of Otago (New Zealand) and an Honorary Professor at the University of Queensland (Australia). His previous works include The Field (2005), Australian Beach Cultures (2001) and The Race Game (1997).      

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Bondi Beach

  • Book Subtitle: Representations of an Iconic Australian

  • Authors: Douglas Booth

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Singapore

  • eBook Packages: Earth and Environmental Science, Earth and Environmental Science (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2021

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-981-16-3898-5Published: 30 September 2021

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-981-16-3901-2Published: 01 October 2022

  • eBook ISBN: 978-981-16-3899-2Published: 29 September 2021

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XVII, 349

  • Number of Illustrations: 57 b/w illustrations

  • Topics: Human Geography, History, general, Cultural Studies

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