WARRIEWOOD SURF LIFE SAVING CLUB
Mr ROB STOKES
(Pittwater) [1.11 p.m.] I rise to inform members of the sixtieth anniversary of the foundation of Warriewood Surf Life Saving Club, which was formally established in February 1950. Founding members of the club include current life member Jock Mackay and Gordon Longley, father of the former member for Pittwater and lifelong Warriewood resident Jim Longley. For those members who do not know Warriewood Beach, it is truly one of Pittwater's hidden gems—a beautiful north-east facing strip of golden sand bordered by the imposing Turrimetta Headland. The clubhouse is one of the best on the beaches and its recent renovations are a testament to the hard work of many club members who laboured to produce a beautiful interior that proudly displays club history and capitalises on one of the best views in the world. Warriewood surf club has a reputation for breeding tough lifesavers. Perhaps that is because the first surfboat that was used by the club, kindly donated by then Bilgola surf club sweep and noted yachtsman Sid Fisher, was one of those gifts that made one wonder whether Bilgola was too keen about more competition on the waves. As Jock Mackay recalls:
The boat was in shocking condition. Its back was broken, and instead of a curve from one end to the other, in the middle it was flat, ribs broken and planks distorted and leaked like a sieve. The members caulked it and painted it but when we took it out in the surf it used to fill up in about five minutes. It eventually made great BBQ fuel.
And it certainly is good that Warriewood lifesavers are hardy—they have to undertake rescues at the notorious blowhole—which is sadly all too frequently the venue for injuries and even deaths. I remember one day as a teenager when a Canadian tourist jumped into the blowhole to his death—a story almost repeated too often. Over the history of the club many brave rescues have been undertaken around the blowhole, with Matt Hardman and Ian Fielding-Smith being nominated for the Hero of the Surf award after a rescue at the blowhole in the heavy seas that can wrap around Turrimetta headland in a southerly swell. Another club member Matt Potter went on to win the award for another spectacular rescue at the same spot, with the citation noting that the rescue was both heroic and efficient, and that Matt did not panic, despite the urgency of the situation. For people who have seen the boiling surf off Turrimetta head in a nasty swell this is very high praise indeed. More recently, Neil Dyer and Scott York were involved in another rescue at this dangerous spot.
Each surf club has its own strong identity, and Warriewood surf club has always been a very strong family club, with everyone looking after everyone else and the children being cared for by all. Local families such as the Mackays, the Kinseys, the Hustons, the Burgmanns, the Tilburys, the Dyers and so many others have all contributed to developing a special family feel to the place. It is no wonder that Warriewood is one of the largest nipper clubs in surf life saving today, including families like the Jollows, the Gallants and the Pipers. Warriewood has also played a role in leading the fight for women to become the vital part of the lifesaving movement that they are today. Maurie Segedin, a one-time president of Warriewood junior club, said:
In the late seventies, fellow nipper dad Ian Dose, and I would take our children down to Warriewood beach for Nippers. We had six daughters between us and back in those days girls weren't allowed to participate in surf lifesaving activities. It didn't take long for our girls to get bored just watching their brothers compete on the beach every Sunday morning. They were pretty upset about the unfairness of it as well. After all, they said, why should the boys have all the fun.
At the time I was President of the Warriewood Junior Club, so between Ian and I we strongly lobbied the SLSAA to include women in surf life saving. I'm proud to say that we were successful, thanks to our darling daughters.
Today Warriewood is stronger than ever, with more than 600 members, almost 120 of whom actively patrol the beaches and do what surf lifesaving is all about—vigilance and service, and making sure that our beaches are safe places for everyone in our community. I commend Warriewood Surf Life Saving Club for all that it does. I commend its terrific leaders, for example, people such as Matt Sheridan, the wonderful, strong president and leader of the club; vice-president Peter Byrne, who has the best emcee voice on the surf club presentation night circuit; club captain Beverley Tilbury; treasurer Lena Grahn; registrar Jenny Huston; secretary Vickie Dyer who needs a special mention as she is married to—and puts up with—Neil Dyer the board and ski captain; Nippers president Charlie Wiggins; inflatable rescue boat [IRB] captain Rick Harris, who put me through my IRB award a few years ago, which I am still trying to get over; training officer Dan Susko who has put so many kids through their bronze medallion and their surf life saving certificates; boat captain Dave Rees, whose son, Jayke, is a strong competitor; sponsorship captain Patsy Smith; and social committee captain Caroline Jollow, who does a wonderful job. In a recent publication Matt Sheridan had this to say about the club:
It's not the biggest club, it's not the oldest club and it hasn't got the most gold medals, but it does have some of the best people I have ever had the pleasure to meet, work and socialise with.
That says a lot about the club. Matt was somewhat modest when he said that the Club did not have the most gold medals, because some fabulous competitors are associated with the club—people like Sean Kenny, Nick Yakich and Jayke Rees. The club has a strong history in surfboats. I wish the Pontiac Chieftains, as the surf life saving club is known, all the best for its future. No doubt over the next 60 years it will bring even more success and pleasure to the many families of Warriewood who benefit so much from its great work.
Ms ANGELA D'AMORE
(Drummoyne—Parliamentary Secretary) [1.16 p.m.]: I thank the member for Pittwater for highlighting the work being done by this fantastic surf life saving club in his local electorate. The beach, which forms part of our Australian lifestyle, is something we all thoroughly enjoy in summer and it is something for which we are renowned around the world. However, with the beach come perils. Most Australians learn to swim at a very young age, but often our ocean with its currents is an unpredictable and scary place to be. Every weekend and during the week our lifesavers ensure that we are safe at our local beaches. I am happy to hear of the strong tradition amongst certain families who volunteer their time at weekends.
The member referred also to another important issue. In the 1970s it was rare to see girls and women as surf lifesavers. We have come a long way since then. Women and girls have been introduced to the lifesaving culture, and rightly so. I thank the member for highlighting the history in his local area. I commend all those locals in his electorate who give up so much of their time every week for such a worthy cause.