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 Mills, manufacturer of cotton and wool knitwear. They produced their first swimming costumes in Sydney, Australia in the late 1920s and in 1928 held a competition to find a name for their new swimwear line. So successful was a staff member's catchy slogan 'Speed on in your Speedo', they changed the company name to Speedo.
From the beginning Speedo focussed their attention on producing competitive swimwear complemented by a range of leisure swimwear and knitted apparel and the Museum's Speedo collection and archive illustrates the evolution of swimwear styles and fabrics designed to reduce water resistance and enhance speed. By the 1980s most of the world's top competitive swimmers were competing in Speedo's.
Curator, Design & Society