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Aub Laidlaw [Jan. 3rd, 2009|09:42 am]
Bob Bain
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From The Independent (UK)

By Kathy Marks in Sydney
Wednesday, 31 December 2008


On any given day, acres of tanned flesh are on view at Bondi Beach: men wearing the briefest of briefs, women sunbathing topless. But it wasn't always so. In the 1940s, a legendary beach inspector, Aub Laidlaw, patrolled the golden sands, ruler in hand, ensuring that men's and women's bathing costumes conformed to bylaws governing public decency.

Costumes had to cover at least three inches of thigh, as well as the entire front of the body, and wobbly bits had to be kept in place by robust straps. Mr Laidlaw frogmarched 50 or more people a week off the beach, including, in 1945, the first woman to brave Bondi in a bikini, and in 1961, a group of men wearing Speedo swimming trunks.

The fanatical Mr Laidlaw retired in 1969, eight years after the bikini was legalised, but now his ghost is once again stalking Sydney's beaches. A Christian fundamentalist politician, the Rev Fred Nile, is calling for topless sunbathing to be outlawed, and he has received backing from several mainstream MPs.

Aub Laidlaw (from timeoutsydney.com.au)

In 1907, the Mayor of Waverley, R.G. Watkins, made an inspection of Bondi beach. “What we saw was disgusting,” he said. “Some of these bathers are nothing but exhibitionists, putting on small trunks. They are in worse manner than if they were nude. But they won’t continue doing it at Bondi Beach, not so long as I am mayor.” The antidote? Beach inspectors. The weapon? Aub Laidlaw.


These were strange days. In October 1945 a bikini-clad sheila sparked “a near-riot” at Bondi. Then Laidlaw stepped into the melée. “The beach telegraph had got round before I caught up to her and the mob was on,” he recalled. “We had to escort her out the back door of the Bondi Pavilion to a tram.”

Many similar “arrests” followed. In 1951, Laidlaw even made headlines in Hollywood by sending Tinseltown film starlet Jean Parker packing for wearing a swimsuit “at least five inches below the navel”. Ten years on, he was still at it, frogmarching upwards of 50 girls a week for “refusing to resume ordinary dress”.

Men weren’t exempt from Laidlaw’s law-enforcement either. “Many of them,” said Waverley mayor Ray O’Keefe (father of singer Johnny) “have been sent off the beach for wearing exaggerated jockey shorts.” Waging a one-man war against a growing tide of liberated women, Laidlaw increasingly became front page news. But when The Daily Telegraph ran a Page 3 bikini girl with the caption “Whad’ya think of this, Aub?” the end was nigh. By 1961, bikinis on beaches were legal.

Link - Bikini Arrests Bondi Beach Waverley Council

Aub Laidlaw was right (Herald Sun December 31st. 2008

Now the Lake Munmorah grandmother of five has gone the other way, joining some politicians and family groups in supporting a call for women to cover up at the beach. "I'm a church person and a devout Christian but I think this is not a moral issue - it's a matter of health," she said yesterday. "I still do believe people should have the right to do what they want to do, but we do know the risks. "The girls now should be looking at taking some precautions (against skin cancer and sunburn)."

Bob notes that Page 3 'pin ups' were removed from the Sydney Daily Telegraph several years ago - following complaints by feminists.

For pictures of Paris Hilton on Bondi Beach for the New Year celebrations refer this link from Britain's Daily Mail

The socialite took a high profile stroll along Bondi Beach with her new best friend Brittany Flickinger, winner of her reality show