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Things to do in Cronulla - The Surf Museum

surf museum art galleryCronulla is an iconic Australian beachside community located in the Sutherland Shire of Sydney, New South Wales. Cronulla has strong ties to surfing culture and history, celebrated at Cronulla Surf Museum.

Located on Cronulla Beach, Cronulla Surf Museum was founded by Mark ‘Jacko’ Jackson. He made Cronulla’s famous shark seen famous in 1974 when he threw sausages on a fishing hook attached to a float to attract sharks into the shallows where beachgoers could then see them. The resulting media frenzy that followed headlines like “Pippa Gets A Good Sharking” helped Cronulla become the unofficial capital of sharks in Australia. In 2014, Cronulla celebrated its 50th anniversary of hosting.

The hidden surf gallery in Cronulla is a must-see for anyone interested in the history and culture of beaches.

You can find a walkway that’s 30 metres long and dedicated to Australian surfing history at your local library. The walls tell the story of Cronulla, showing its evolution from its early days until today, emphasizing this area because it has such rich history in terms of both culture and sport.

The timeline displays a series of 41 historical events set out in the early days when Sutherland Council became responsible for regulating bathing and beaches, emphasizing horseback patrols. The most notable fact about this display is how police officer Henry Tugwell rode without any sort do budgie smugglers- just woollen suits & leather boots!

Highlights along the timeline include:

1927 – Phillis Stroud, a beachcomber from Virginia, became the first ‘Surf Queen.’ However, her title wasn’t based on how skilled she was at surfing but more so because it represented – beauty and female power.

1950 – The original name for these massive, lumbering boards was “Tooth Picks.” They were so heavy that surfers had trouble carrying them around and would often leave their towering waves behind to take care of business on land.

1956 – The Melbourne Olympics coincided with the Australian Surf Life Saving titles held in Torquay. The American team arrived on a new type of surfboard, made from balsa wood covered with fibreglass 2 meters long- it became known as “the Malibu” board, which revolutionised how people surf here over the next few years.

1979 – The Cult Surfie Saga book Puberty Blues was born on the sands of Cronulla. Director Bruce Beresford directed a film based on this story in 1981. Many scenes were omitted or softened due to censorship at the time; however, it is now being made into a TV show with hopes that the audience will hear original content as initially written.

1984 – the first world surfing titles were held at night on Elouera Beach in Cronulla.

1987 – The waters at Cronulla were the playground of marathon swimmer Susie Maroney.

1999 – Mark Occhilpuo is a local legend in the surfing world. He won his first World Champion title at age 33 and has competed ever since.

2002 – The Bali Memorial in Cronulla is a moving tribute to the seven women who lost their lives during Australia’s worst terrorist attack – an act that took place on this very beach. Resident surfers scattered their ashes over its waters, and they come back for another round at life with renewed purpose every year.

2011 – Surfing has come a long way since the days of being considered a backyard Activity for dropouts. Nowadays, there’s not just young women and families participating in this sport – it is a multi-million dollar business that anyone can enjoy.

This wall depicts amazingly over life-size photos of surfers in action and inspiring quotes about what it means to them.

The artwork is a shame because it’s not displayed in an outdoor space that everyone could easily access. Maybe the weather will fade out any images or fear of vandals?

The iconic Sydney Opera House is worth a trip in itself, with its beautiful architecture and intriguing history. It’s not just Australia either; this landmark has become one of the most recognized structures on earth.


Cronulla Beach is Australia’s fifth site to be recognised for its significance as a recreational surfing spot. And one of only two places where you can find world-class waves on this side of Sydney Harbour Bridge. Also, the Cronulla Beach Walk is a must-see attraction for all visitors to Sydney. The walkway offers gorgeous views, and it’s an easy way to get some fresh air while exploring the city or visiting family members.

Try Surfing

Surf schools are popping up all over the coastal regions of New South Wales. You may be wondering what they’re about, so we’ll take a look at some standard terms and show you how to sound like an expert in no time!

A surfer learns many things while they train for their sport – namely that there’s nothing more satisfying than taking on board one big wave after another until your arms feel like jelly (or if female: blubber). But just as importantly, learning lingo- both popular phrases used by local surfers, which can seem pretty intimidating when spoken aloud and having knowledge regarding safety equipment such as wet suits, etcetera…

Did you know?

  • The first known European to describe board surfing was Lieutenant James King, commander of the Discovery. He spent months in Hawaii just months after Captain Cook died on Tahiti and had this witty remark about his experience: “The surfers of these shores were not like those we saw yesterday – they ride large boards without ever tiring or staggering from its weight.”
  • The National Park Ferry Boat Trips are a convenient and affordable way to explore all that we have in our national parks. One-, two- or three-day tours are available, with the option of private watercraft boarding at select ports on each route!

The Cronulla Surf Museum Map