South Coast Branch History
Surf Life Saving is valuable community service provided by thousands of people right around Australia. The volunteers that patrol the beaches ensure that members of the general public can bathe safely in the surf.
Since the inception of the South Coast Branch NSW Surf Life Saving Association in 1978 the members of the clubs have a proud record of safely patrolled beaches and outstanding contribution to rescues when called upon.
Firstly, let me acknowledge the people responsible for the formation of the South Coast Branch. Ron Strong, Don Turnbull, Peter Dobson and others recognised the need for a separate Branch. Prior to this the clubs from Warilla to Mollymook were part of the Illawarra Branch, which extends as far north as Stanwell Park. As it is today the South Coast Branch is still the largest Branch geographically in NSW.
A number of other foundation members, such as Alan Beveridge and Jim Poplin, are still involved in running the South Coast Branch. Numerous other people have given their time, not only to patrolling our beaches, but also to assisting in the administering of our Branch.
A special vote of thanks also goes to the previous Branch President Bernie Dean. Only five years ago we could have only dreamed of having a Branch Office, a Branch vehicle, a website and a Branch Executive/Education Officer. However, with Bernie’s insight and business nous we now have all these things.
The support of our sponsors, especially BHP and now BHP Steel, has enabled us to grow into the organisation we are today. Other significant sponsors either past or present have been the IMB Building Society, City Coast Credit Union, the NSW Department of Sport & Recreation, Clubs NSW (formerly the Registered Clubs Association) and Aztec Transport.
Congratulations to all the members that have represented on the Board of Life Saving over the years to help thousands of local club members gain the Awards of SLS Australia that enable them to patrol our beaches so efficiently. Proudly, our Branch has had a couple of members selected to represent SLS NSW on international educational tours.
Competition has always been a major part of the Surf Life Saving movement. It allows our members to improve their fitness and skills to better assist the public that may need assistance or rescuing at our beaches.
It also allows all members to participate in club competition and at local carnivals, thus giving everyone the opportunity to make friendships and to have some fun.
There have been many members who have achieved outstanding results over the years at country, state and national Championships. As a result some of them have gone on to represent NSW Country Branches, SLS NSW and even SLS Australia.
To all the coaches and officials, thank you for you contribution in assisting the competitors to take part in all the levels of Surf Life Saving.
To all the people and clubs, thankyou for your support and input into making this 25th Anniversary Dinner a night to remember. I wish you all a good night and I hope to see you all at the next Anniversary Dinner in the future.
South Coast Branch SLS
Sometime prior to November 1977 after a meeting of the Illawarra SLS Branch whilst enjoying some refreshments, some casual discussion took place, which centred on the possibility of splitting the Illawarra Branch and forming a new Branch.
Some uncertainty exists as to who was involved in that discussion, but it is known that Don Turnbull (Mollymook) and Ron Strong (Warilla-Barrack Point) who were delegates to the Illawarra Branch for their respective clubs, were involved. This discussion was quite significant because from that point and after several phone calls and much continuing discussion, a proposal was formulated to form a new branch of the NSW Surf Life Saving Association.
It was proposed that the new Branch become known as the South Coast Branch (NSW) of SLS Australia and cover the area from Lake Illawarra in the north to Ulladulla in the south. The clubs in the proposed new South Coast Branch to be were:
Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC
Shoalhaven Heads SLSC
In November 1977 this proposal was presented to the Illawarra Branch. Following this Illawarra Branch meeting discussion continued. Many issues relating to administration, finance, Board of Examiners, the control and running of the Branch, initially and into the future had to be given serious consideration.
Progress continued and in March 1978 a steering committee of one member from each of the seven clubs was elected. The committee met regularly to discuss in detail the various policies, the needs and the guidelines of not only the proposed new Branch, but also to set a meeting for the election of the Pro-Tem Office Bearers.
This meeting was held at the Shoalhaven Heads Surf Club on the 16th July 1978. Present were three members of the NSW SLS State Centre Projects and Survey Committee, three members from the Illawarra Branch Executive and forty-four members representing the seven clubs in the Proposed South Coast Branch. A count at one stage of the meeting did reveal that fifty-seven persons were in the room and many families and friends and their children were outside.
The meeting was very successful, with discussion with the NSW Projects and Survey Committee and the Illawarra Branch Executive continuing after the meeting. One major outcome of the meeting, as far as the seven clubs in particular were concerned, was to remove any doubts and to reinforce the thoughts that the proposed new Branch was not only necessary, but would also be successful.
The Pro-Tem Office Bearers elected at this meeting were:
President: Ron Strong (Warilla-Barrack Point)
Deputy President: Don Turnbull (Mollymook)
Honorary Secretary: Noel Walton (Shoalhaven Heads)
Honorary Treasurer: Alan Beveridge (Warilla-Barrack Point)
Honorary Superintendent: Jim Poplin (Warilla-Barrack Point)
Deputy Superintendent: Don Turnbull (Mollymook)
Board Secretary: Wayne Jones (Shellharbour)
Honorary Registrar: Tom Looney (Nowra-Culburra)
Honorary Publicity Officer: Brian Chenball (Gerringong)
Assistant Secretary: Christine Watson (Gerringong)
Delegates to NSW State Centre: Ron Strong, Brian Chenball
From this point it was then necessary for the Pro-Tem Officers to meet and prepare the proposal to submit to NSW SLS for the proposed South Coast Branch not only to be accepted but to also be affiliated. The Pro-Tem Officers did meet regularly and the proposal for acceptance and affiliation was distributed to NSW State Centre and to all Branches in NSW.
The important meeting of NSW SLS to consider the acceptance and affiliation of the South Coast Branch took place at the Annual General Meeting held at Elouera Surf Club on 22nd, 23rd September 1978. Following discussion the motion was put, and the result was a unanimous decision in favour of the new Branch. Ron Strong (Warilla-Barrack Point) and Brain Chenball (Gerringong) represented the South Coast Branch at this meeting. The South Coast Branch was up and running. The continuing hard work was ahead of us.
The next meeting that took place was the first Annual General Meeting of the South Coast Branch held at Werri Beach Progress Hall on 6th October 1978. At this meeting a report on the Affiliation by NSW SLS was presented. An affiliation fee for each Club was set at $25.00, and the Pro-Tem Officers (as previously listed) were formally elected. The following other positions of Office were also elected:
Junior Vice President: Clyde Poulton (Shoalhaven Heads)
Honorary Medical Officer: Dr Kirk
Honorary Auditor: E Poulton
Honorary Boat Inspector: Warren Paillas (Shellharbour)
Branch Team Manager: Don Turnbull (Mollymook)
Branch Team Coach: Jim Poplin (Warilla-Barrack Point)
Various committees were also elected.
Following on from this the Board of Examiners held a meeting on the 8th October 1978 at Gerringong and additional members were elected to the Board:
Jim Poplin – Superintendent, Don Turnbull – Deputy Superintendent and Wayne Jones – Board Secretary as Pro-Tem Officers were confirmed as elected at the Branch meeting on the 6th October 1978. The other appointments were District Supervisors and these were:
Don Turnbull (Mollymook)
Wayne Jones (Shellharbour)
Vic Strong (Warilla-Barrack Point)
Wayne Jones (Shellharbour) was selected as an Educational Officer with a NSW team for a tour of Peru in 1978.
One of the early decisions to be made by the Branch was that of choosing the Branch colours and emblem. Don Turnbull from Mollymook was instrumental in moving a motion that saw the colours become lime green and navy blue and the emblem be a marlin. The Branch accepted this.
Foundation Secretary Noel Walton in the first Annual Report made the following comment:
“When the proposal to form the South Coast Branch was put an expression of confidence in our ability to govern ourselves was made.”
This was proven then and still carries on in our Branch today.
Competition was obviously a part of Surf Lifesaving then, as it is today. The first Branch team selected set the standard to be followed by other Branch teams and also for the overall standard of competition throughout the Branch. The first Branch team selected to compete in the NSW SLS Inter-Branch Championships was as follows:
Robert (Bob) Monie
Jim Poplin – Coach
Don Turnbull – Manager
First South Coast Branch Team
At these Championships, which were held at Terrigal Beach, the team finished 10th overall and 11th in the handicap pointscore. The team had enjoyed a taste of representative competition.
One of the first donations of equipment acquired by the Branch was two starting guns. These were donated by Harry Carters Shell Auto Port and Southern Firearms and were used at carnivals for many years to follow.
The first South Coast Branch Championships were held at Mollymook on the 4th March 1979 but due to bad weather and big seas many events were cancelled and clubs had to come back to Mollymook on the following weekend to complete the Championships.
Alan Beveridge – Treasurer, reported an income in that first season of $6789.55 and an expenditure of $5827.22. The Branch Team expenses in that first year were $1159.60. Financially in that first season various clubs in the Branch benefited from the subsidies they received from the $ for $ gear grant and the capital assistance grant. Just on $15,000 was distributed.
Wayne Jones – Board of Examiners Secretary, reported a membership of seven as the Branch commenced. By the end of the first season this had grown to twenty-one. These members were kept busy conducting examinations for various awards. Club members gained a total of 334 awards in that first season, including 158 Bronze Medallions.
Dave Harrison (Shellharbour) and Bob Monie (Warilla-Barrack Point) were selected in the NSW Country SLS Representative Team to tour Tasmania in the following 1978/80 season.
Monthly meetings were well attended in that first season and the rotation of meeting venues throughout the Branch helped balance the distance travelled by club delegates.
This first season was very enjoyable and an excellent beginning of the South Coast Branch with the various aspects of Surf Life Saving having been experienced. It should however be remembered that we all felt sadness in this first season with the passing of our Deputy Superintendent Don Turnbull. Don was a Lifesaver in every way and will be remembered by many for the gentleman he truly was. His role in the formation of the Branch was very instrumental in getting the Branch up and running and in some ways we can say ‘Thank you’ to Don for where we are today.
A very important competition conducted by the Branch was the Patrol Efficiency Competition. Board of Examiner members inspected clubs with the winning club for 1980/81 being Shoalhaven Heads who were awarded the Don Turnbull Memorial trophy and also a rescue board, which was donated by BP Australia.
In our second season (1979/80) many highlights were reported. These included:
No lives lost while Patrols were one duty
An ARC seminar at Mollymook
Patrol / Instructor seminar at Nowra-Culburra
All clubs hosting carnivals
Branch team winning the John Meagher trophy at the NSW Interbranch
The first annual proficiency re-assessment of active members
A highly successful Bowls day at Culburra Bowling Club
Don Briggs (Shellharbour) was selected as an Educational Officer with a NSW team for a European tour.
An open forum at Shoalhaven Heads Surf Club to review the season
Branch meetings continued on a rotational basis throughout the Branch. One of these meetings however had to be cancelled because of a petrol strike. The Board of Examiners membership continued to increase with total membership reaching twenty-eight. Every club held a carnival in the 1979/80 season with the Branch Championships being held at Shellharbour and Kiama holding a twilight carnival.
The Inter-Branch championships, which were held at Elouera in only our second year of competition, saw our Branch team perform extremely well. The team won the John Meagher trophy for winning the handicap pointscore, which was an improvement from last place to first place in the space of one season.
The 1979/80 season saw the formation of the South Coast Branch Junior SLS Association. This was a very successful move and the liaison with the senior part of the Branch was very encouraging. Kevin Gee (Warilla-Barrack Point) was elected the inaugural President and Margaret Raison (Kiama) filled the important role of secretary. This same season also saw the South Coast Branch Nipperettes formed at a meeting held at Kiama on 25th January 1980.
The 1980/81 season was very important for Surf Life Saving everywhere. This was the year that females were officially accepted to become fully qualified lifesavers. Initially, and this was noted in the South Coast Branch, the introduction was not all smooth sailing with some clubs not fully accepting the decision in that initial year. It is pleasing to note that while problems existed, they were attended to and the present day indication is verification this was the right decision.
Shoalhaven Heads Patrol
Efficiency Winners 1987/1988
The Inter-Branch Championships were very successful for the South Coast Branch team in the 1980/81 season. The team won the Tom Meagher Trophy and also finished first in the country pointscore - a good result in only our third year of competition at this event. The team coach was Bob Monie (Warilla-Barrack Point) and the Manager was Clyde Poulton (Shoalhaven Heads). At this early stage of the South Coast Branch the performances from competitors at the various levels of senior and junior competition was noted. This included Club, Branch, Country, State, Australian and World Championships. During this season members from the South Coast Branch Clubs contested the World Championships in Bali.
The juniors continued maintaining their role in Surf Lifesaving and after a successful carnival at the Inter-Branch Championships held at Coffs Harbour four members were selected in the in NSW Junior team to contest the National Championships. They were: Todd Peachey (Warilla-Barrack Point), Gary Lord (Warilla-Barrack Point), Wayne West (Warilla-Barrack Point) and Shane Clarke (Shellharbour). Alan Beveridge (Warilla-Barrack Point) was appointed as Coach of the team.
The 1981/82 season saw the Branch increase to eight clubs when Sussex Inlet & Districts Surf Lifesaving Club was granted affiliation. A lot of work went into getting the Club to this stage and it is pleasing to note the position they are in today after going through some rough times along the way.
Kiama Jet Rescue Boat (JRB)
December 1981 saw the Christening of Kiama’s second jet rescue boat. The boat and crew nearly missed the important celebrations when they were called upon to carry out a rescue only hours before.
Also during this year the Country Branches Association selected a team which toured Western Australia in the following 1983 season. Selected members were:
Bob Monie – Coach (Warilla-Barrack Point)
Barry Page – Sweep (Mollymook)
Rod Van de Voorde (Shellharbour)
Darren James (Warilla-Barrack Point)
Geoff Gorman (Kiama)
Shaun Connelly (Kiama)
Over the years recognition has been given to many of our members for their service and dedication to their clubs and their communities. In 1981/82 season Charlie Gumley was recognised for his efforts by being awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM). Charlie of course was a dedicated member of Shoalhaven Heads Surf Lifesaving Club.
Charlie Gumley (BEM)
The 1982/83 season saw Mollymook host the NSW SLS Championships. Carnival organiser Col Glasson ably supported by many club members was responsible in many ways in making the first State Championships conducted in the South Coast Branch the success that it was. Mollymook went on to host further senior and junior State Championships. The inaugural IRB Branch Championships were held at Kiama on the 29th May 1983 with six clubs contesting the seven events held.
Kiama Downs Surf Life Saving Club became club number nine when they affiliated with the Branch in 1983. Their community and Kiama Surf Club ably supported them in becoming established. Robert Burke was their first Club President. This same year Warilla-Barrack Point and Gerringong opened the doors to their new Clubhouses.
The South Coast Branch Junior SLS Association continued to make their presence felt throughout the Association. After Aztec Transport joined as a major sponsor, they adopted to outfit their Branch Team and compete in the sponsor’s colours of gold and brown.
The Memorial Brown and Gold Period.
The 1983/84 season saw the Senior NSW SLS Country Championships held at Shellharbour. This was very successful and it was noted that Kiama Surf Life Saving Club won the pointscore. Another first for that season was Allison Fredericks (Shoalhaven Heads) becoming the first female to be selected in the Senior Branch Representative Team. The junior membership continued to grow and their success in competition continued. Alan Beveridge was again selected as coach of the NSW SLS Junior Team.
It was pleasing to note that following a bad report the previous season that meeting attendance for 1984/85 improved with an 80% attendance record. Various clubs reported fundraising problems and active membership was reported to be down. Gerringong opened their new clubhouse on the 29th November 1984 with three hundred people attending. Shoalhaven Heads proposed a twenty-seater bus, which proved beneficial for their Club and the community. Nowra-Culburra introduced a new constitution and like many clubs their junior and senior sections of the club amalgamated. The Branch held eight carnivals including the Branch Championships and a decision was made that the following year four carnivals plus the branch Championships would be held.
A setback that all clubs have experienced at sometime happened at Sussex Inlet & Districts Surf Club after they had a break in which saw all their radios (5) and binoculars etc. stolen and other gear damaged.
A South Coast Club - Warilla-Barrack Point, hosted the Junior Country Championships for the first time. Junior Secretary Carol Moore reported on the success of the carnival and it was noted that many members where selected in the State team from this carnival.
The Senior Branch team won the Don Turnbull Memorial Trophy, for competition between the South Coast and the Illawarra Branches, at the annual Mollymook Carnival. Coach Bernie Dean and Manager Peter Dobson reported on the outstanding performance of the team in winning this event.
The 1985/86 season saw Shellharbour and Mollymook Clubs celebrate 50 year Anniversaries, a great achievement. Several Clubs throughout the season had difficulty with maintaining Patrol standards and were reminded of the importance of their patrolling commitments. The junior Association of the South Coast Branch recognised the role several long-standing members had played in the Branch by appointing Alan Beveridge (Warilla-Barrack Point), Kevin Gee (Warilla-Barrack Point) and John Parkinson (Kiama) as Life Members of the South Coast Branch Junior Association.
On the 11th May 1987 a meeting was held between the Senior and Junior Branch Executives where it was agreed to follow the SLS NSW decision and amalgamate the senior and junior Associations. This saw the inception of the South Coast Branch Board of Junior Activities. It was noted that Alan Beveridge was selected as coach of a National Junior team to contest an International carnival to be held on 17th January 1988 at Wanda Beach This event unfortunately was not held when bad weather forced cancellation of the event.
Many South Coast Branch Clubs have always been strong contenders in IRB competition and have proved this at the Country, State and National levels. At the 1987 State IRB Championships Kiama Downs won the Tooheys Club of the Carnival award. For a club only a few seasons old this was a great achievement.
The 10th season of the South Coast Branch arrived in 1987/88. Club affiliation in this season was set at $25.00 and the first secretary of the Branch Noel Walton (Shoalhaven Heads) resigned from this position. Noel’s commitment in the early years of the Branch is noted and the Branch records its thanks for his efforts in those early years that laid the foundation for the Branch today.
At the Annual General Meeting held in June 1987 Ron Strong was elected the first Life Member of the South Coast Branch. Ron contributed to the formation of the Branch in many ways, was the first Branch President and is still involved in Branch activities today.
Another valuable member of the Branch was lost when Wayne Jones moved to Western Australia. Wayne was involved since the Branch formation and his support and contribution was very much appreciated.
Branch Superintendent, Peter Dobson recorded the 1987/88 season as being of major change, innovation and again highly successful. Among the many highlights he listed were the introduction of the new life saving training manual and the holding of the first teacher re-assessment course held at Kiama for High School teachers.
Over the years the Branch and of course the Clubs have been supported through sponsorship and assistance received from the community and business organisations, and local, state and federal government. The Branch acknowledges the support received from various sponsors over the many years. Our thanks are recorded to City Coast Credit Union, BHP Steel, Mayne Nickless, IMB Society, Aztec Transport, Tooheys, Telecom, Integral Energy, and Clubs NSW, formerly the Registered Clubs Association.
The Branch Patrol Efficiency Competition has developed in such a way that all Clubs now share in receiving recognition for their patrol efforts in keeping our beaches safe for the surfing public. This has been made possible through the generous support of BHP and BHP Steel, as it is now known. It is felt that this competition has helped Clubs remain focused on their patrol obligations and it is noted that various Clubs have shared in winning this competition. Shoalhaven Heads and Mollymook have been prominent winners and it is also noted that Shoalhaven Heads have recorded wins at the NSW SLS Patrol Championships.
During the 1989/90 season Kiama Club celebrated 80 years of Surf Lifesaving with a celebration Dinner Dance. It is noted that Kiama came to life on the 14th March 1908 and at the time were known as Kiama Surf Bathers Club.
The Junior Activities Committee continued to promote various events and the Junior Inter-Branch Championships were held at Warilla Beach in December 1989. Rebecca Angel from Shellharbour was the Branch Junior Lifesaver of the Year and went on to become the NSW Junior Lifesaver of the Year. Jim Poplin who was the inaugural Branch Superintendent was still very much involved as the Junior Branch Superintendent, a position he held for many years.
A new concept in the 1989/90 season was to hold the Branch senior and junior Championships at the same venue on the same weekend. Mollymook was the first venue for this format, which has proven to be acceptable and preferred.
Competition continued to see many outstanding results for the Branch and for the Clubs in particular. Many competitors have been successful in all areas of competition at all levels including Branch, Country, State, Australian and World Championships. This brief history cannot name all our successful competitors but we acknowledge their achievements including selection in representative teams as well achievements in IRB Competition. The performance of our Junior Activity members has not gone unnoticed and we also take note of their outstanding results along with their contribution to the various representative teams.
Some mention has been made of the Officials in our Branch and our Clubs and some reference has also been made to certain people in this history. It should be recognised however that these references have been made to point out just how important the role of the Administrator and the Official is in our Branch and to acknowledge the roles played by so many. We have been most fortunate to have had these volunteers as members and our sincere thanks are extended to them all.
In 1990/91 season Mollymook continued their involvement in major carnivals by hosting the NSW Country Championships and the NSW Junior Country Championships. A State IRB Team was selected to tour New Zealand in October 1991 and included:
Phil Ross – Captain (Kiama Downs)
Adam Steel (Kiama Downs)
Paul Grebert – Assistant Manager (Warilla-Barrack Point)
Michael Pontefract (Kiama Downs)
This same season the South Coast Branch Clubs competing at the Country Branches Championships won twenty-eight (28) Gold Medals and Shane Dowel (Warilla-Barrack Point) was announced ‘Man of the Carnival’. Kiama Downs won the Pointscore at the State IRB Championships.
Correspondence dated 2nd June 1991 was received from Batemans Bay requesting affiliation with the South Coast Branch. The correspondence, which enclosed the $75.00 affiliation fee, was discussed at length. To accept the additional Club meant extending the Branch boundaries, which eventually happened and Batemans Bay became the 10th Club in the South Coast Branch.
Kiama Surf Life Saving Club members were involved in a rescue that tool place at Kiama, near the blowhole on the 17th July 1992. This was a tragic day when seven persons lost their lives. Kiama Club members responded quickly to the emergency call with members of other clubs also involved. It was an efficiently carried out rescue with very sad results, but it did highlight the commitment of Lifesavers to respond to a call for assistance. Peter Dobson in his report on the rescue acknowledged the expertise and commitment of all involved and also added that he was pleased to see the tremendous support those involved gave each to other as lifesavers.
Further to this rescue it should be noted that in recognition to the manner and efficiency this rescue was carried out, along with the dedication of its members, the Kiama Club received Certificates of Merit from Surf Lifesaving Australia. One of these Awards was presented to Kiama Surf Life Saving Club and the other to member Justin McMillan for his individual courageous efforts as a Surf Lifesaver.
At the 1991/92 SLS NSW Championships, Mollymook Member Michael Pontefract was awarded the NSW Lifesaver of the Year, a great honour. Shoalhaven Heads celebrated their 25th year with a Debutante Ball and also won their first senior State Championships gold medal with a win in the State Patrol Championships. They also shared a very sad time with the passing of a very popular and dedicated member when Charlie Gumley BEM passed away.
The 1992/93 season saw the SLS NSW Championships again held at Mollymook and it was pleasing to see Ron Strong receive Life Membership of Surf Lifesaving NSW at this carnival.
In the 1993/94 season the Registered Clubs Association commenced financial support of the Branch. It took the form of a Car Raffle, a Sportsman Luncheon and a Race Day at Kembla Grange. Clubs from the South Coast and Illawarra Branches were and still are involved with many thousands of dollars having been distributed amongst the Clubs since.
Terry Barton (Shellharbour) represented SLS Australia on an educational tour to Hong Kong in the 1993/94 season.
At the Annual General Meeting held on the 30th June 1995 Ron Strong did not seek re-election as Branch President, a position he had held for sixteen years. At this meeting Bernie Dean (Kiama) was elected as Branch President. Bernie went on to hold this position for eight years.
This same season another long serving Branch Officer, Kevin Gee, did not seek re-election as President of the Board of Junior Activities. Kevin had held this position for fifteen years. Col Moore (Warilla-Barrack Point) was elected to the position.
Also during 1994/95 Shellharbour Club commenced extensions to their Clubhouse and Col and Carol Moore, who will be remembered for their outstanding service to the Branch and to Warilla-Barrack Point Club moved to Jindabyne. Sussex Inlet & Districts Club suffered badly this season when fire destroyed most of their equipment. In the George Bass Boat Marathon Batemans Bay were the winners and set four new leg records in achieving this.
At the Branch Annual General Meeting held 29th June 1995, Don Briggs and Peter Dobson were awarded Life Membership of the South Coast Branch. Both had been involved in many areas since the formation of the Branch and received Life Membership for their outstanding contribution and support to the Branch.
In 1996 Shellharbour SLSC hosted the Junior NSW Country SLS Championships and Warilla Barrack Point SLSC held the Senior NSW Country Championships the following weekend. Both of these carnivals were well organised and very successful for the local competitors.
On the 23rd, 24th, 25th May 1998 Gerringong hosted the SLS NSW IRB Championships. This was a very successful Championships and many South Coast Branch Clubs were involved in winning State Medals. Also this season, Shellharbour Club celebrated their sixty-year Anniversary and their new clubhouse was officially opened. Kiama Club after raising $100,000 were able to launch their new Jet Rescue Boat named the ‘Spirit of Kiama’.
An activity that has been held regularly in our Branch has been the JAC Development Camp held at the Department of Sport and Recreation Camp at Berry and more recently Gerringong Surf Club. When reporting on the 1997/98 Camp, one of the chief organisers Jim Poplin advised that eighty nine members attended and with the support of various senior members these young members received introductions to various areas of Life Saving.
Also this season the SLS NSW Championships were again held at Mollymook. Things didn’t go as planned when bad weather interfered and the Championships had to be completed at Bendalong.
The patrol side of the Branch has seen all ten clubs provide a standard of service that has helped keep our beaches safe. One problem area for patrols, which has been a growing concern for many years, has been the use of unpatrolled beaches and the public swimming outside patrolled areas. During the 1998/99 season this problem was discussed and whilst attempts to control the problem throughout our Branch and other areas took place this problem still exists today.
Another Life Member was appointed in our Branch when Murray McMillan was awarded the important honour in 2002. Murray has served the Branch in many ways but especially in the area of emergency services.
After eight seasons Bernie Dean did not seek re-election as Branch President at the Annual General Meeting held on the 17th June 2002 at the Branch Office. Dene Herbert (Shellharbour) was elected as President after several years as the Director of Finance. Bernie had given outstanding service to the Branch as president for the previous eight seasons.
Providing high standards of patrol and rescue services is the number one priority of Surf Lifesaving Clubs. Over the years all South Coast Branch Clubs have shown dedication to this task, which is proven and supported by the results of the Branch Patrol Efficiency Competition. It is also noted that many rescues have been performed by all Clubs with members demonstrating their efficiency in the manner in which the rescues are performed. It should also be noted that a large number of these rescues have happened outside normal patrol hours and away from patrolled areas. The many forms of rescue equipment have been used and many rescues have also been carried out at night.
As the Branch continued to perform in the many areas of Life Saving, competitors were still achieving many outstanding results in competition. This reference is made to acknowledge all competitors too numerous to mention. It also makes particular reference to those competitors that have competed for their clubs and not received the medals that others may have, but their involvement is also especially recognised.
Officials of our Branch in Administration, Competition and Examinations have been responsible for much of the work carried out that allows members to gain awards, officiate at carnivals, and attend to administration and their efforts we also acknowledge as being responsible for the successful twenty-five years of the South Coast Branch.
During the past twenty-five years much has happened that has provided enjoyment, fun and success for many in all areas of lifesaving. We note now that our Administration is efficiently attended to with the appointment of a Branch Executive Officer, Lisa Miller, who attends to her duties from the Branch Headquarters in North Nowra.
Tonight, 13th September 2003, the South Coast Branch acknowledges the valuable contribution made by the ten clubs in our Branch. This same valuable contribution is also acknowledged by the communities, which you represent. Congratulations on an exceptional job.
We can look back and be proud of our achievements in all areas of Surf Life Saving throughout the South Coast Branch during the past twenty-five years.
Let us now look forward to the future and in doing so support each other as we have in the past and may we all enjoy, succeed and continue to promote the virtues and importance of Surf Life Saving in Australia.
Thank you and best wishes.
Report compiled by Ron Strong OAM