Following a public meeting on 4 November 1979, the Broulee Surfers Surf Life Saving Club was formed on 11 November 1979, at another public meeting held at the home of Police Sergeant, Don Campbell, who became the club’s foundation President.
The Broulee Surfrider’s Club was asked to join forces with the Surf Club and, with their agreement, immediate action was taken to become active. The following day classes were commenced for the Bronze Medallion.
The foundation Executive Committee was; Don Campbell – President, Kel Wehner – Senior Vice-President, Michael Horne – Junior Vice-President, Jack Horne – Secretary, Shelley Clarke – Assistant Secretary and Paul Keary – Treasurer. Committee Members were; Tom Hanlon, Brian Weekes, Ken Filmer, Ian Louden, Mark McDonald, Tom Roach, Shirley Willis, Brian Southwell and Dick Pasfield.
It was a balanced Committee, half were local residents and the other half were Broulee Surfriders.
Meetings were held regarding a Surf Club building and the obvious functional and satisfactory site was considered to be in the ‘corner’ adjacent to the public car park and the Council’s amenity block. The lessee of the adjoining Caravan Park raised objections towards the site of the building and the club suggested an alternative site south east of McNee Street, although the Shire Council and the State Centre of the Surf Life Saving Australia rejected this. Both were adamant that the clubhouse should be in built the ‘corner’.
Then, having the Shire Council’s full support; the Surf Club confidently proceeded to apply for State Centre’s Capital Assistance Grant and plans were drawn and approved by Council. However, in October 1980, the Shire Council rescinded it’s approval due to objection, again, by the lessee of the Caravan Park, and the Nowra Land Board’s non-acceptance of a two story building. As a result, the State Centre of the Surf Life Saving Australia, shocked to learn that Council’s decision has been reversed, thought it might be necessary to withdraw the Club from that year’s building grant.
The Club carried out beach surveys and public opinion surveys. The result from the public surveys was 661 for and only 7 against the site where the Clubhouse now stands.
In December 1980, the Broulee Progress Association called a public meeting on Broulee Beach to consider where the clubhouse should be situated. Approximately 150 people attended, including three Councillors, with only two people voting against the ‘corner’ site.
In September 1981 in an effort to bring the problem to a head the Club members poured the footings and began laying the brick walls.
Also in September 1981, It became obvious that an impasse had been reached in the club’s negotiations with Council. Graham Macdonald, a club member, arranged a meeting and met with the NSW Minister for Lands, Forests and Water Resources, Lyn Gordon. Graham Kennedy, the club’s Honorary Solicitor, also attended this meeting.
At this meeting the clubs plans for the club house, boat shed and essential parking area were outlined. The difficulties the club had encountered during negotiations with the local council were also outlined to the Minister. Council at this time appeared to be favouring the owner of the adjoining caravan park who also wished to have tenure over the proposed surf club site.
The result of that meeting was that the Minister granted the surf club tenure over the proposed site. The Minister also issued a directive to Council and Nowra Lands Dept to activate this Permissive Occupancy on the proposed site in the name of BSSLSC. This was a major turning point forcing the local council to negotiate more favourably with the club’s committee.
The matter was brought to a conclusion when the Council finally decided to hold a formal meeting with the Surf Club Committee. The meeting, chaired by John Hatton, resolved to allow the Club to proceed with the building. One condition was the ‘rezoning’ of the land, which brought about another four months delay.
January 1982 finally saw official approval given and building commenced.
During all the problems with the Clubhouse the Surf Club was maintaining beach patrols on weekends during the summer seasons.
The Club’s gear room was confined in a three feet by twelve feet service area between the toilets, which contained the cisterns. The only gear the club had at that stage was a surf reel, rescue board and patrol flags. The I.R.B. was kept at a private home.
During the 1980 / 81 season, the Club was fortunate to acquire their first (and for nine years, their only) I.R.B. J. B. Young’s store in Moruya donated half the money, the remainder came from a dollar for dollar grant. A jet rescue boat was also purchased and during the season, four major accidents were attended by both it and the I.R.B. Broulee was represented at the first NSW I.R.B. Championships and both ‘A’ and ‘B’ crews made it to the semi-finals of the rescue event.
The Board riders in the Club competed in seven contests during the season, including their yearly open contest on Australia Day.
By the end of the 1981/82 season the downstairs section of the Clubhouse was completed and the Club received its next progress payment from State Centre. Also during this season a member of the public untied the stern rope of the jet boat while it was tied up at the public jetty at Mossy Point. With the turn of the tide the boat was pushed under the jetty and, as the water level rose, it filled the boat and sunk it.
Once again the Club competed in I.R.B. Championships, this time on the Central Coast. The four-man crew qualified for three semi-final heats but were forced to withdraw due to motor failure. The Board riders held five contest this season plus the Broulee Open Surfout with $2,000 worth of sponsored prizes.
The 1982 / 83 season saw a rapid change in the clubhouse. Amended plans were submitted to the Shire Council and approved and the also received a $10,000 Special Unemployment Grant from the State Government for labour. Three people were given jobs and the building moved at a much faster pace. By the end of the season the upstairs area was mostly completed.
School surfing was introduced as a sport at Moruya High and the Club was host to some forty students during the year.
Broulee Surfers were hosts for the second I.R.B. Branch Championships with six crews entered. Broulee were also the winners of the Far South Coast Branch.
The Broulee Open Surfout was held in January and another $2,000 worth of prizes were donated. Broulee competed in four other contests during the year.
The 1983/84 season was the club’s fifth and it was a year of pressure. Seven Committee Members resigned and although some vacancies were filled there was extra workload on the rest of the Committee. The inside of the Clubhouse was completed so as to make it useable, and the Club finally had the money to order the cladding for the outside of the building. Broulee Surfers were awarded the winners of the Branch Patrol Efficiency Competition and the Club also conducted and won the Branch I.R.B Championships. There were no major rescues during the season.
Finally, during the 1984/85 season, the outside cladding of local spotted gum covered the external walls. This was done in September. Broulee Surfers won the Branch I.R.B. Championships yet again. This was a great feat for a small club. At the end of the season, the Club acquired its first surfboat. The wooden boat, found beside a boat shed at Batemans Bay, was sixteen years old and originally belonged to North Cronulla. This boat was repaired for the 1985 / 86 season.
The 1985/86 season was a big one for Broulee Surfers. The number of Committee persons was increased to twenty-one, including Assistant Secretary, Assistant Instructor, Vice-Captain and House Captain. The Club was getting bigger. This was also Broulee’s first Surf Life Saving competitive year, including their first surf carnival. This year the Club took part in all events at the Branch Carnivals and won the IMB Handicap Branch Competition Point Score.
A boat crew, representing the Club for the first time, took part in the Mazda Surfboat Marathon and their first George Bass. In the old boat, which became waterlogged along the way, they finished. They were to come last but they finished, an achievement in itself.
The I.R.B. Crew also did well, they made it through to the final of the NSW I.R.B. Championship, the only club in the Branch to do so.
Broulee Surfers attended the Australian Titles for the first time in the 1986/87 season. The Junior Boat Crew, headed by Lional Franks, competed in Perth, and reached the quarterfinals. Both Junior and Senior crews competed in the State titles, the Juniors getting through to the semi-finals.
The season saw the building of a boat shed with storage area and club members worked hard on the inside and outside of the Clubhouse. One hundred and fourteen people were rescued on the beach, no lives were lost.
The 1987 / 88 season was the beginning of change for the club. Two major sponsors became involved in backing them, Glen and Dianne Felkin from Seaview Caravan Park and the Carter’s Broulee Cellars and General Store. The two sponsors allowed the club to buy a new competitive surfboat and to update the I.R.B. with a $ for $ grant.
Success was gained in the George Bass Marathon, coming in 20th. Unfortunately the boat was holed at Tuross at the start of the third leg so there was a complete loss of points for that leg. The crew worked hard that day to repair the damage and made it for the next day. The last two legs were rowed with only five rowers as one was ill. The new boat also competed at the NSW titles. It was the year of the surfboat.
It was a quiet year for the club with fund-raising the main aim. There were three boat rescues and ten preventative actions performed by the I.R.B., another safe season on the beach.
In the 1988 / 89 season the club moved from strength to strength, with 101 financial members. The club gained 59 life saving awards, the largest number in the Far South Coast Branch.
Our surf carnival in January was an outstanding success and Broulee’s Club results were excellent. James Hayward and Mark Edibone were chosen to represent the Far South Coast in the Branch team at the Inter-Branch Championships held at Manly.
The dollar for dollar Carters Store I.R.B. was successfully launched at the January Carnival and the club was presented with a board from the Smith family of the Broulee Beach Caravan Park.
This was followed more recently with another board donated by Meg and Ken Filmer of “Caraluki” Holiday Apartments. A new sponsor was gained by the club in the form of WIN 4, ABC Industries and the Commonwealth Bank. From them we acquired a new fully fitted out surfboat.
Through hard work in three areas, Patrol Competition, Patrol Skills and Award Incentives the club was the proud winner of the Mayne Nickless I.R.B. and engine.
Lional Franks was chosen Club Member of the Year and James Hayward the Young Achiever Award, two new awards in the club.
Committee members for the 1989/90 season were; Patron – Jack Horne, Vice Patrons – Dr. P Bannon, G. Felkin, G. Carter, President – T. Freeman, Vice President – L. Franks, Secretary – C. Dixon, Treasurer – A. Wensing, Assistant Secretary / Treasurer and Public Officer – N. Dixon, Club Captain – J. Gale, Vice Club Captain – C. Filmer, Boat Captain – J. Shiels, I.R.B. Captain – R. Suter, Publicity Officer – R. Coleman, Publicity Officer – R. Coleman, Chief Instructor – J. Gale, First Aid Officer – J. Vaughan, House Captain – T. Cootes, Gear Stewart – C. King, Radio Officer – D. Franks and Committee Men – P. Halpin, G. Williams, K. Filmer.
The club was presented with their new Mayne Nickless I.R.B. and Meg and Ken Filmer donated two wetsuits to be used in the I.R.B.s. We also gained new members from Narooma and their sponsored surfboat. Throughout the 1989/90 season the club gained a high profile through surfboat results.