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A10198 Swimming costume, part of collection, mens, wool / cotton / metal, designed and made by Speedo Australia Pty Ltd, Australia, c. 1935. Click to enlarge.

Mens swimming costume by Speedo Australia

The Museum has an extensive collection of Speedo swimwear and accessories dating from the 1930s to the present including designs produced for the Australian Olympic Games team from 1964 to 2004, the Australian Commonwealth Games team from 1970-2002 and numerous international Olympic teams. This collection is complemented by the Speedo archive which includes scrapbooks, catalogues, posters, newsletters, stickers, photographs, video footage and badges.

Speedo's origins lie in MacRae Knitting …


Object No.


Object Statement

Swimming costume, part of collection, mens, wool / cotton / metal, designed and made by Speedo Australia Pty Ltd, Australia, c. 1935

Physical Description

Pair of mens black wool jersey swimming trunks that have an overlay front and white stripes down the side seams. There is a wide waistband with a white cord belt and metal buckle. There is a small flap pocket at the right waist. The trunks are machine sewn and unlined.


Label at centre back 'Speedo/This garment is protected by one or more Australin patent nos, 16506/28/2245/29/5893/32/1602/34/22310/35/made in Australia/PALMERS/PARK ST & 390 GEORGE ST/SYDNEY/ALL WOOL'.



420 mm



This swimming costume was made by Speedo Australia Pty Ltd in Australia.

This swimming costume was made c.1935.



This pair of daring, bare-chested, wool jersey men's swimming costume trunks with a modesty skirt were made in Australia by Speedo Australia Pty Ltd. First seen at the 1936 German Olympic Games, this style of swimsuit shorts quickly took over from the one-piece suits with shoulder straps.

Speedo began manufacturing its brand of racing suits in 1929 and was very successful in setting up alliances with surf lifesaving clubs around Australia. Nylon tricot replaced wool in 1960. Note the classic Speedo logo sewn at the right hip.

In the early twentieth century, Australia's enjoyment of the beach was marred by prohibitions on mixed bathing, bathing during daylight hours and laws relating to appropriate beachwear.

By the 1920s and 1930s these moral injunctions were relaxed. The growing popularity and acceptability of sea bathing, combined with the belief that exercise and exposure to the sun held healthy benefits, saw the voluminous bathing suits of the early century replaced with a range of fashionable swimwear styles.


Credit Line

Gift of St Vincent De Paul Society Centre Orange, 1984

Acquisition Date

2 May 1984

Cite this Object


Mens swimming costume by Speedo Australia 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 24 May 2022, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Mens swimming costume by Speedo Australia |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=24 May 2022 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}