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Exhibition features Australia’s Million Dollar Mermaid

Exhibition features Australia’s Million Dollar Mermaid
January 3, 2017

Million Dollar Mermaid: Annette Kellerman, an exhibition featuring stunning costumes, memorabilia and movie footage relating to Australian celebrity swimmer Annette Kellerman is currently open at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum.

Born in Sydney in 1886 Kellerman first attracted attention with a series of epic, long-distance swims, and later found international fame as a highly paid entertainer of the vaudeville stage and a star of American silent films.

Kellermann was one of the first women to wear a one-piece bathing costume, instead of the then-accepted pantaloons, and inspired others to follow her example. Kellerman's swimming costumes became so popular, that she started her own fashion line of one-piece bathing suits. She became a trailblazer for the ‘new woman’, pioneering women’s high diving and paving the way for synchronised swimming.

In films such as Neptune’s Daughter (1914) she played a bold, fearless heroine and performed dangerous stunts. Esther Williams portrayed Annette Kellerman in MGM’s spectacular film, Million Dollar Mermaid (1952).

A lifelong vegetarian, Kellermann owned a health food store in Long Beach, California, later in life. She remained active well into old age, continuing to swim and exercise until a short time before her death. She and her husband returned to live in Australia in 1970, and in 1974 she was honoured by the International Swimming Hall of Fame at Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Kellerman died on 6th November 1975, aged 89.

The Powerhouse exhibition highlights include a spectacular mermaid costume from Million Dollar Mermaid and various styles of one-piece swimsuits worn by Kellerman.

The Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre in the Sydney suburb of Marrickville is named in her honour. 

Million Dollar Mermaid: Annette Kellerman is at the Powerhouse Museum until 22nd July 2018.

Images: A contemporary postcard of Annette Kellerman (top - courtesy of State Library of NSW) and Kellerman in her pioneering one-piece bathing costume (below).

2nd August 2016 - DEATH OF FORBES CARLILE, ‘FATHER OF MODERN AUSTRALIAN SWIMMING’, AT AGE 95

26th February 2015 - SYDNEY’S POWERHOUSE MUSEUM TO RELOCATE TO PARRAMATTA 

16th January 2015 - SYDNEY’S POWERHOUSE MUSEUM BRINGS THE CIRCUS TO TOWN

11th December 2014 - MARRICKVILLE COUNCIL SUES BUILDER OVER $5 MILLION OF DEFECTS AT ANNETTE KELLERMAN AQUATIC CENTRE 

5th March 2014 - NOT SWIMMING POOLS BUT AQUATIC WELLNESS CENTRES? 

3rd February 2014 - AQUATIC AND RECREATION INSTITUTE GETS NSW GOVERNMENT BACKING FOR ACTIVE OVER 50S PROGRAM

14th September 2009 - AUSSIE BURQINI A GLOBAL SUCCESS 


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The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

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Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

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