September 17 - October 7, 2023: Issue 599


Avalon Beach Historical Society Celebrates 40 Years

Three original members: Geoff Searl OAM (President of ABHS), Gwen Lansbury, Nickolas Manfield. Photo: Brian Friend OAM

On Tuesday September 12 2023, in the Annexe in Dunbar Park, 51 visitors and members of the Avalon Beach Historical Society were welcomed by President Geoff Searl to celebrations for 40 years of the Society. 

18 locals were present in the upstairs dining room of the Avalon Beach RSL Club on 14 September 1983 to give birth to the Society and there were 3 members present at Tuesday’s meeting who were there on that night – Gwen Lansbury, Nick Manfield and Geoff.

Five of the original 19 ABHS Members in 2018; Russell and Gwen Lansbury, Geoff Searl, Nickolas Manfield, and Judy Thomson. 

Geoff was elected President on that night and Nick was elected Vice-President while Gwen put her hand up as a committee member.

The Society has been affiliated with the Royal Australian Historical Society since inception.

It has grown considerably and now has the following of 135 keen members, including 7 recipients of OAMs and one AM.

66 photographs illustrated the many activities of the Society from witnessing one of the last firings of a torpedo from the observation deck of the testing station at Clareville in September 1983 to the ‘10th Great Historic Photographic Exhibition’ held last year.

Bill Goddard ably provided the projection skills necessary for the evening. 

Mention was made of the huge contribution to the Society by its inaugural Life Member (in 2003), and Patron, John Stone. John has made available to the Society the front portion of his office at 15 Bowling Green Lane for the last 10 years. John’s computer skills have also enabled restoration of damaged or poor quality photos loaned to the Society for exhibition and research.

Geoff Searl and John Stone at entrance to John Stone Photographic services business where ABHS office also is.

A special cake to celebrate the occasion had the Society’s logo covering the entire top of the cake – the first general store in 1922!

Election of Office Bearers for the coming year was simple as those from the past year were unanimously re-elected – Geoff as President, Nina Gow as Secretary, Christine Ellis as Treasurer, Roger Sayers as Publicity Officer and Sue Morrow and Collette Searl as Committee members.

Committee Members for the coming year - Roger, Geoff, Collette, Christine and Sue

The Society holds 4 meetings a year with the September meeting being the AGM. Meetings are always of interest with either a guest speaker or photographic show focussing on a particular area of research and interest.

If you wish to become a member of the Society, drop a line to the Avalon Beach Historical Society, Post Office Box 1, Avalon Beach or call Geoff on 0439.292.566.

You are also very welcome to visit the Society any Saturday morning between 10am and 1pm.

Report: Geoff Searl OAM
Photos: Brian Friend OAM/AJG