Simple answer

The program is oversubscribed and it basically comes down to luck.


Detailed answer

(These figures come from the 2019-20 season enrolment)

1. Numbers

  • We had 3,483 children registered as interested
  • 1,213 of those enrolled during the enrolment window
  • Mosman council allow us 700 children on the beach (due to safety, driven by the size of the beach)
  • 555 were automatically allocated a place due to prior participation
  • 145 places were available for allocation
  • 658 were applying for those places
  • 513 children were turned away.

(However 268 asked to come in after the enrolment window closed, so actually there were 781 children who were not successful.)


2. Availability

 This is how the 145 available places were spread over the groups:


(ie. we had two places for 7 Girls, and three places for 7 Boys)

The reason why there are so few places are available from the 5s up is that previous participants come back and re-enrol for future seasons.

645 applications were received for these places, with around 60 disappointed for the each of groups 5 through 8.


  • The 4s has 80 (two groups of 20 girls, and two of 20 boys), however some are automatically allocated due to having a sibling that has participated before who is in this season (see below) - which is why we had only 64 places this season.
  • We do not take new participants into the Bronzies program, hence they are excluded from the above graphic


3. Allocation to available places

We have a policy of placing the whole family so for an application to be enrolled we need to have an available place for each child.

If everyone had one child in their application this would be easier, however families apply with up to four children and this is where it gets difficult. 

For example:

A family application is for a 6 boy and a 7 girl.

We have a place for a 6 boy, but not the 7 girl hence the application is not successful and neither (including the 6 boy) would get offered a place.

There are 38,000 permutations of this.


4. How do I know the ballot process is fair?

The best way to explain this is via an actual example of what happens; what the system sees and what it has to solve.

Below is a snapshot of just 30 applications (out of hundreds). Each row is a family application and identifies the place(s) that they have requested for their child(ren).


Stepping through two examples from this:

  • The first row is family 1041 who would like a place for a ten year old boy, that we call 1752, and a four year old boy, called 3424.
  • The sixth row is a family called 1199 who have asked for a place for their nine year old girl, called 2057 and their five year old girl, 1985.

These are 2 permutations out of 38,000

The system randomises, then matches the required permutations into the options that are available. Once the system generates a match, it sends an offer email to the applicant.

Once the applicant accepts and makes payment, then their names are added to the confirmed list. 


5. In summary 

Simply, it's an extremely popular program and our capacity is limited by the physical size of the beach.

Note: If you're intending to join for next season you must be aware of the enrolment window - as this is the only time you can enrol (you can register any time and we will email you as the enrolment window is open). Details are here.


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