Freshwater SLSC Club History

Freshwater SLSC has a proud history stretching back over 100 years. Our club continues to be one of the most influential in developing/promoting Surfing and Surf Life Saving in Australia.

"1900-1950"

1st era

Founding of the club, birth of Australian surfing, addition of the rock pool, construction of the club house and Freshwater in war time.

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Dec 1908

Freshwater Surf Life Saving Club was founded, choosing maroon and white as the club colours. Since that time, the surf club has continually patrolled the beach for the benefit of the general public.

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1900's

John Boyd Steel 1868 – 1950 Foundation Member 1908,Club President 1914-1947 (a SLSA record!) and First Life Member 1922

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1908

Our first Club Captain, Fred ‘Fritz’ Schwarz

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Dec 1910

Freshwater SLSC Official Opening Ceremony 1910

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1912

1912 Freshwater Carnival

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1912

Elevated shot of 1912 Freshwater Carnival

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1913

Freshwater Executive Members

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1914

Freshwater’s First Clinker Surfboat

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Dec 1914

The club has a strong link with not only surf lifesaving but also surfing, with the famous Duke Kahanamoku demonstrating his immense surfboard riding skills at the beach.

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1914

Boomerang Camp and Duke Kahanamoku

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1914

The original Duke Kahanamoku Surfboard

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1915

Duke carrying his Board surrounded by excited admirers

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1915

Duke Kahanamoku at Freshwater

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1915

Kids also had fun on Duke Kahanamoku’s Board

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1916

Club Photo

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1916

Early photo of a surfboat at southern end of Freshie

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1916

Claude West riding the Duke’s board

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1916

Club Photo

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1919

Freshwater invents the Surfboat Quarterbar

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1919

Isabel Letham with Claude West and others

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1920s

Isabel Letham is one of Australia’s first female surfboard riders

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1920

Club Photo

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1921

Fancy Dress Party

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1922

Freshwater Surfboat Crew competing at Newcastle

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1925

Opening of the Freshwater (Harbord) rockpool

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1927

Club Photo

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1928

Marchpast photo

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1934

Laying Foundation Stone

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1935

Freshwater Building Committee

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1935

“Opening of new Freshwater Surf Club” Souvenir Programme

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1930s

Photo of Freshwater Beach and Surf Club

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1938

Australian Surfboat Champions

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1939

Belt Race in action

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1939

Duke Kahanamoku with Freshwater Member visiting Hawaii

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1939

Beach Photos -Top at ‘First Count’s Cottage’ with B Cogans, Jack Dalton, Bob McDonnell, D Klem, R White, B Sargent, B Perigo, K Dalton

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1940s

WWII photo of Freshwater Tank Obstacles (Max Dupain photo)

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1940s

Freshwater Marchpast in action at Manly

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1940s

R&R Team

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1941

Max Dupain Photo of Freshwater

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1944

Club Photo

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1945

Mick Griffin’s Qualifying Certificate

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1946

R&R Touring Team

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1948

Eric Johnston – Australian Olympics representative

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1948

Australian Surfboat Champions

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1948

Junior R&R Australian Champs

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1949

Surfboat winning at Garie

"1950-1970"

2nd era

50th club anniversary, Duke returns, big wave riding, championships and jet boats

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1950s

Ladies Marchpast

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1950s

Surfboard Riding at Freshie

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1950

Mervyn Fletcher, tragically drowned during Surf Carnival at DY Beach

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1950s

Photo – Southern Headland

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1952

Aust Champs March Past

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1954

Freshwater Ladies March Past

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1955

R&R team to Tasmania

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1956

Duke Kahanamoku at Freshie with Claude West and Isabelle Letham

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1956

Duke and Claude with the original Duke board. Claude donated it back to Freshie in 1953.

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1956

US Lifeguards with their balsa/fibre glass boards blew away the Aussies still riding their unwieldy huge hollow ply toothpick boards.

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1950s

Freshwater Carnival. Note the Hessian screening. Admission price 1/-

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1950s

R&R Champions

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1957

March Past Aust Champions at Bondi

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1958

50th Anniversary dinner menu. Very formal with official toasts

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1959

Club Photo at AGM

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1959

Don ‘Bullet’ Henderson Aust Champion, Board

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1960s

Brian ‘Woggles’ Mason, the only Sweep to win 2 ‘back-to-back’ Junior Surfboat Aust Championships in the one decade.

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1960

Freshie participating in Sydney street parade

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1960

Senior R&R Aust Champions

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1961

Freshie member, Dave Jackman is the first to ride the Queensie Bommie becomes a Front Page news story.

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1961

Australian Junior Surfboat Champs

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1963

Midget Farraly and Kevin Platt leave Freshie to make their mark in surfing on the World Stage

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1964

Brian O’Callagan – renowned Freshie BIG wave sweep cracks monster at Freshie – crew survives (but not boat)

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1960s

The innovative Rescue Jet Boat introduced. The ‘Jack Wilson’ driven by Freshie’s Don Mattherson

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1965

Don Henderson Citation for bravery

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1965-67

Colin MacLean Surfboard and Ski Champ

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1965

Brian O’Callagan sweeps State Championship Crew -note the slim young Zom Knox

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1966

R&R Team produces future Beach and Surfboat Australian Champions

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1967

Christmas Day photo at Freshie surf club

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1968

Callo holding the Time Capsule inserted under ‘Bunkhouse’ with Kev Flemming, Martin Thompson, Col Maclean, Bill Lucas Sn/Jr and G Cann

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1968

Aust Junior Surfboat Champions. Brian (Woggles) Mason sweeps crew of Eric Middledorp, Kim Marsh, Ken Bucknall and Steve Rielly

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1969

Surfboat Fashion Shoot Eric Middledorp, Kim Marsh, Ken Bucknall & a beautiful model in front of Steve Reilly

"1970-1990"

3rd era

New Clubhouse, introduction of Nippers, equality for Female members, IRBs, storm survival and more championships!

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1970

Freshwater Junior March Past -some of these boys are still members!

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1970s

Note ‘bunkhouse’ on right of building (Bill Sheridan photo)

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1970s

The admission of women as full members made for a more egalitarian club ensuring the continued vitality and viability of the Club.

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1970s

IRB’s introduced in the 1970’s became the the most effective piece of surf rescue equipment

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1972-74

During the 60s and 70s, Murray Braund dominated surf ski competition.

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1972-76

Legendary crew of Ron Payne (Sweep), Ken Bucknall, Kim Marsh, Chris Branson and Les Watts set new benchmarks most crews still can’t match.

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1973

At his best, none could match Bob Pickard on the sand.

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1974

Freshie Tours abroad winning many World Titles in the UK during the 70’s. Note the flares and haircuts.

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1974

The old Clubhouse survived the 1974 cyclone (just!) – new clubhouse planning brought forward (more photos to come)

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1976

Freshie team flies off to Aussies held at Burleigh Heads

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1977

Save the Whale 1977. But which one is the whale. Is it Don Graham or Eggleton, Chris Branson or Rick Kennington??

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1983

Artists impression of a new expanded club

History Book

To celebrate the club’s 100th year, a centenary book was published highlighting the many achievements of the club and its members over the past 100 years.

Copies of the book are still available and can be purchased from the club.