Foundation years

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 However, in October 1980, the Shire Council rescinded it’s approval due to objection, again, by the lessee of the Caravan Park, and the Nowra Land Board’s non-acceptance of a two story building.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.

(For a detailed history of the struggles to get approval for the current Club site, see The Saga of Broulee Surfer’s Surf Life Club by Jack Horne)

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.

Image: Public meeting Broulee Beach, 1980 – 150 people attended and only two voted against the Club House being built where it now stands.


Heath Street, Broulee NSW 2537
PO Box 5005 Broulee 2537

  02 4471 6657 (Summer weekends)
  [email protected]