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02 October - William Gocher defies council swim ban

Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 7:44 pm
by Max ADU
Today in Australian History
Thursday, October 2, 1902.

William Gocher defies the Australian law that prohibits daylight bathing in the ocean, and sets a new precedent in surf-swimming.

In the 1800s, a Manly Council by-law (Sydney) prohibited swimming in the ocean during daylight hours, specifically between 6am and 8pm.

William Henry Gocher (20 March 1856, Ipswich, Suffolk UK – 18 August 1921, Sydney New South Wales) was an Australian artist and bimetallist.

Gocher was the proprietor of a local newspaper, who disagreed with the law enough to openly defy it.

In his newspaper,
the 'Manly and North Sydney News', he announced his intention to go bathing in the ocean during the daylight hours on 2 October 1902.

Gocher , clad in a neck-to-knee costume, flouted the law three times before he was actually arrested.

However, he maintained his campaign against the bathing laws, and a year later, on November 3rd, the Manly Council rescinded the by-law that prohibited bathing during daylight hours.

A new by-law was issued permitting bathing in daylight hours, but emphasising the need for neck-to-knee swimwear for anyone over 8 years old.

The issue was one of public decency as there were no changing sheds and swimming costumes were rare.

Men and women were also required to swim at separate times.


Re: 02 October - William Gocher defies council swim ban

Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 2:07 pm
by Max ADU