June 28 - July 4, 2020: Issue 456


Narrabeen Lakes Amateur Swimming Club

On starting board Nth Narrabeen rockpool - NLASC photo

Compiled by Life Member Maureen Rutlidge from club records

Website: www.nlasc.com.au


The inagural meeting of the Narrabeen Ladies Amateur Swimming Club was held on September 17, 1933 at Mrs Selig's House in Narrabeen. Thirty people gathered to discuss the formation of a ladies swimming club. Mrs Mary Chambers from the NSW Women's Amateur Swimming Association presided over the meeting. Mrs Lottie EWoods put forward the motion that a Swimming Club be formed and Mrs selig seconded the motion and with that, the Narrabeen Amateur Swimming Club was founded.

The officers elected were as follows (from the original minutes of the first meeting):

Patroness: Mrs Playfair
President Mrs H. B. Bruce
Vice Presidents: Mrs Selig, Mrs Pillon and Mrs Moore
Hon. Secretary: Mrs Florence Kenna
Hon. Treasurer: Mrs Marlin
Committee: Mesdames Ward, Lloyd, Misses Barnett, Cameron, Klotz, Mclean and Neasmith
Captain: Mrs Lottie Wood
Vice Captain: Miss Barnett
Hon. Auditors: Mr Selig, Mr Knight
Hon. Handicapper: Miss O'Malley

It was decided that the fees would be £3 for Seniors and £1 6 shillings for Juniors 14 years and under. The members chose black and lemon as the official club colours. The club decided to hold events every Sunday at 10 a.m.

By the end of 1934 there were 83 members. From the beginning, men were enlisted to help as officials. The first events were hed in Narrabeen Lagoon. Locals provided boats for the judges and timekeepers to stand in to officiate the races.

When the Rock Baths were completed at North Narrabeen events were relocated to there. By the spring of 1934 the first clubhouse had been built out of wood.

Original Nth Narrabeen rockpool before boardwalk - NLASC photo


Throughout the 1940’s repairs & improvements to the Pool were necessary to provide safer conditions for swimmers. Requests were made for the Pool to be emptied weekly, since soldiers camped nearby, were using them for bathing; for sand to be cleaned out because at times the pool was too shallow to swim in; for a chain to be attached to the wall for safety and urgent repairs were required when the turning board was washed away in high tide in 1943.

Letters sent to Warringah Council expressed the concern that the Club could not enter swimmers in local carnivals because they were unable to get correct times, nor was the Club able to give any training for competition. In 1944 Collaroy Womens Amateur Swimming Club allowed the Narrabeen Club to use their pool & lanes on Sunday evenings for all long distance races.

Vandalism of the Clubhouse was a problem, with repeated break-ins and requests were made to Council for Flood lights, new locks and for holes to be fixed in back wall. On one occasion the lane ropes were stolen, so full length clothes lines were used. Eventually the Club asked for a brick building like Dee Why and Collaroy.

From 1945, the Ladies Club granted permission for the Narrabeen Boys to have the loan of their ropes, watches and to use the Clubhouse on their swim mornings.

In the early 1940’s, a motion was passed to change the minimum joining age from 7 years to any age. In the 1941 Annual Report, congratulations were expressed to the Club’s ‘baby’ member, J. Headford, who, at only 6 years old, was placed 3rd in the 15yds scratch race at Coogee.

Various activities were organised to raise much needed funds for the Club. These included Tennis parties, Housie, Cards, Mannequin parades, Fancy Dress dances and Garden Bazaars. A Popular Girl contest was also begun and became an annual fundraiser.

On several occasions during the 40’s the Narrabeen Club had the pleasure of welcoming Fanny Durack to their Club Presentations and one year she was the referee on the Championship Day. Fanny was Australia’s first female Olympic swimmer and Gold Medal winner at the Stockholm Olympics in 1912.

In 1946 the Headford Memorial Trophy was instituted to perpetuate the memory of Mrs Headford who died in 1945. She had been the Club Starter for many years.

In 1949 Miss Anne Hatton was appointed President of NLASC, a position she was to hold for more than 30 years.



Club membership reached 100 during the 53 – 54 season.

Club fundraising included a “Bugs” evening, Fancy Dress Frolics during the Christmas holidays and a Masked Ball. Mr & Mrs Robert Askin presented prizes to the winners at the inaugural Masked Ball. Jumble sales, Film, Television & Housie evenings were organised. Combined Fundraising Stalls were held for NLASC & the Girl Guides Association.

Regular cleaning of the Pool meant all lanes could be used, which helped to foster the enthusiasm of the members for both swimming and training. However safety on the wall was an ongoing concern and plans had been lodged with Council for a new pool or improvements to the existing platform. From 1955 petitions were also made to Warringah Council by local residents & ratepayers about the poor conditions of the pool. Letters were sent to Narrabeen Girls High School and Narrabeen North Primary School to enlist their support for better conditions.

In the 1956 – 57 season, Anne Hatton, President of NLASC, was appointed President of Warringah Shire Womens ASA and Northern Suburbs Ladies ASA. Anne was awarded Life Membership for her services to Narrabeen Club and Mrs Lottie Woods was also made a Life Member in appreciation of her services as co-founder of NLASC. A decision was made to award a Blazer to the Committee member who has rendered outstanding service during that year. This tradition continued for many years.

In 1958 the Club hosted 3 Forbes girls competing in State Championships and January 1959 saw a team of Narrabeen girls, with Anne Hatton as chaperone, make a return visit to Forbes for friendly competition with local swimmers.

Highlights for NLASC in the late 1950’s included 

  • An invitation to compete in an International Carnival at North Sydney to mark the 50th anniversary of the Swimming Union of Australia, with M. Thearle, M. Beckett, B. Fretwell & J. Hayward representing Narrabeen. 
  • The Club was also presented with the Farquharson Shield after winning the Open Premiership of the Northern Suburbs Swimming Association for the first time. 
  • M. Thearle & J. Hayward were selected among 50 representatives of the NSWWSA for the Festival of Youth Pageant for HRH Princess Alexandra.

A new brick clubhouse, commenced in 1957 and built by Warringah Council with NLASC contributing to cost, was officially opened on 14th March 1959.

1959 NLASC Opening of Clubhouse - Guests

1959 NLASC Opening of Clubhouse - Some of the Committee


In 1960, Narrabeen RSL invited Club members to attend a meeting to discuss the possibility of forming a Youth Club in the area. 4 members chose to attend.

In the same year a Learn-to-Swim Campaign was commenced by the Club, conducted on Saturday & Sunday mornings with Mrs Audrey Willan the Chief Instructress, assisted by Club members, Mrs Ilma Slater, Pam Kilduff, Joan Trass and Miss Ilma Slater and officials from the Narrabeen Amateur Swimming Club - the Boys Club - after its establishment in 1962. Officials were approached by St Joseph’s Catholic School in Narrabeen to give instruction to pupils on weekdays. Later Mona Vale Catholic School students were also given swimming lessons on a weekday.

Mr Maver from North Narrabeen Progress Association invited Club representatives to join a committee of local interested persons to discuss & implement improvements to the pool. Mr Trass re-submitted his plan for Pool improvements to Councillor Berry. Improvements were eventually achieved in 1962 with construction of a centre wall and improved seating around the pool. The Pool was then able to be used as a Carnival site and the Club could welcome other Clubs to their own pool. Club membership reached 199 with the youngest regular swimmer being Adrienne Maher at 3yrs.

Permission was granted for the Boys Club to use the entrance to the Ladies Clubroom for the purpose of registering & handicapping on Saturday mornings. Gala days were held between both clubs. In 1964 a First Aid Room was erected adjacent to the Ladies Committee Room and was manned by the St John Ambulance.

In 1964, Anne Hatton was appointed Manageress of the Women's Swim Team for the Tokyo Olympic Games. 

Club member, Marilyn Munro was a finalist in the NSW Freestyle Championship in 1967 and was invited to compete in the NSW Championship against France.

Throughout the 60’s, one of the Club’s champion swimmers was Joanne Mitchell. Her achievements included-

  • Gold Medal in state 100m Open Butterfly Championship;
  • Silver Medal in State Medley Relay Team in Australian Championships;
  • Winner of 11 of 12 Championships contested in Warringah carnivals;
  • Recipient of the RSL Youth Club’s trophy for outstanding achievements;
  • Narrabeen Club Champion 7 years in succession.

The Mens Club plans for a clubhouse, including amenities rooms, kitchen and office for the Ladies Club came to fruition in 1967, when an upper level was built on the clubhouse. Council erected the shell only, with both Clubs, NLASC  and NASC contributing $500 each towards the cost and being responsible for all fixtures and fittings.

Anne Hatton - Club Captain 1930 - 1941

Nita May - Club Captain 1941 - 1943

Rosmary Pirie - Club Captain 1948 - 1949

Joan Headford - Club Captain 1949 - 1950

Jo Mitchell - Club Captain 1964 - 1965


Renovations and additions were completed to the downstairs Clubhouse, including hot showers and lockers for the swimmers. Thanks were extended to John Hanrahan, Cliff Turrall, Joe Crowley and Gary Snow for their assistance.

Significant achievements for Club officials in the 1970s included –

Anne Hatton 

  • Awarded the British Empire Medal for services to swimming, presented to her by HRH Queen Elizabeth 11;
  • Awarded Life Membership of Warringah ASA, 1 of only 4 members at this time to receive this honour;
  • Dinner held at the Master Builders Club to honour Anne’s 30 years as president of NLASC;
  • Awarded the Warringah Shire Council Certificate of Outstanding Service.

Ilma Slater

  • Awarded Life Membership of NLASC recognising her  years of service to the Club and its Learn to Swim Program;
  • Received the Narrabeen Lions Club citizens Award for service to swimming;
  • Received the Warringah Shire Council Award for Citizenship.

Outstanding swimmers included Jenny Turrall, world record holder in 800m & 1500m freestyle competing in the FINA World Championships, gold medal winner in the Christchurch Commonwealth Games in New Zealand in 1974.

Shannon Evers, three years running broke over 10 Club records; represented the Club in State & National titles, finishing in the top 10 swimmers in the State for Backstroke and Medley; represented Narrabeen High School in finals of the State Combined High School Championships and achieved 2nd in 12 yrs 100m Backstroke and 3rd in 12yrs 200m individual Medley in State Winter Championships in 1975. 

In 1975, for the first time a swimming scholarship for the winter season was awarded to the winner of the 220yds u12 Freestyle, won by Kelly Bona. This event encouraged younger girls to attempt the longer distances.

Each year Narrabeen Ladies compete in the 10x50yds Freestyle Relay event, the Narrabeen Shield, organised by the Shivering Sharks Winter Swimming Club for all clubs or organisations with the word “Narrabeen” in their title. In 1975, the Ladies Club were equal first with the North Narrabeen Board Riders.

In 1976, the Annual Presentation was held for the first time at Narrabeen Youth Club Hall in Boondah Rd. Prior to this, the presentations had been held at the Masonic Hall in Collaroy.


In the 1980 Annual Report, three Learn to Swim instructors, Marge and Joe Crowley and Peter Dolly were commended for their membership of Manly Warringah Branch of Hydronauts, whose members conducted swimming lessons at Warringah Aquatic Centre for local adults with a disability.

Celebrations for the 50th Anniversary of NLASC included: -

  • Narrabeen hosted and won the Four Way Meet Carnival competing with Dee Why, Collaroy and Queenscliff. Two special guests assisted as officials – May Williams, who had managed the Women’s Empire Games team in Cardiff in 1958 was referee and Nora Morrison, Manager of the Women’s team for the Vancouver games in 1954.
  • T-shirts with the Club emblem were given to each swimming member and a commemoration teaspoon was given to all at the Presentation Day.
  • Celebrations culminated with a Dinner Dance at Dee Why RSL Club. Shire President, Paul Couvret, presented the Club with a Golden Jubilee Plaque.

In 1984 one of the Club’s former members achieved outstanding swimming results in the 40 to 45 year Championships. Maureen Stanton(nee Thearle) broke a world record in the 50m Backstroke at the NSW State Cup and gained national records at the Australian National & International Masters championships at Christchurch, New Zealand.

Long- time member of NLASC, Connie Trass was awarded a Certificate of Outstanding Service by Warringah Shire Council in 1975, for her many years of service to swimming.

By unanimous vote at an Extraordinary General Meeting on 18th October, 1987, men & boys were admitted as members of Narrabeen Ladies Amateur Swimming Club. 

After 39 years as President of NLASC, Anne Hatton stood down in 1987 and was replaced as President by Mrs Jan Byrne. Anne continued as Vice President until ill health caused her resignation in 1989. The First Annual Report of NLASC in 1934 lists Anne as a junior member and her mother a member of the first Social Committee.

 A suggested change of Club name in 1989 from ‘Ladies’ to ‘Lakes’ was put on hold.

Also in 1989 a motion to change swimming distances from yards to metres was passed at the AGM. From the next season all races were listed in metres. The decision was taken to have all old Records (in yards) written up and framed and new Records to be formed in the metre distances.


Throughout the 90’s several significant changes were made in the running of the Club-

  • NLASC Inc became an Incorporated Body in 1992;
  • A suggestion to change the swimming meet from Sunday morning to Saturday afternoon was accepted at the 1993 AGM;
  • Learn to Swim officials decided to hold a Sausage Sizzle & Hamper Raffle at the beach on Australia Day in 1994, beginning a tradition which lasted for some years;
  • The Men’s Club – NASC and Shivering Sharks - the Winter Club, agreed to contribute towards the Electricity Bill for the Clubhouse shared by all three Clubs. The Ladies Club had paid all previous bills.

The 60th Anniversary of NLASC was celebrated with a Dinner held at the Master Builders Club in Dee Why.

In 1996, club member Michael Shepheard won a Gold and a Silver Medal for his achievements at the Australian Multi- Disability Swimming Championships. He also received a Certificate from then Pittwater MP John Brogden.

Also in 1996, NLASC received a donation of $200 from SOBS – Sands Old Boys Society, the request was that the money be used for equipment. A stop watch and 2 Cross Lane Ropes were purchased.

The WASA Development Program was begun during the winter months at Warringah Aquatic Centre. Participants were selected from names put forward by the local swimming clubs.

Club members were saddened by the death in 1994 of Mrs Connie Trass, Life Member and long standing official of NLASC and in 1995 news was received of the death of Miss Anne Hatton B.E.M. A foundation member of the Club when it formed in 1933, Anne progressed from a swimmer through club positions, including Vice-Captain, Captain, Handicapper, Referee, was awarded Life Membership in 1959 & was President for 39 years. She was President of both WASA and Northern Suburbs Ladies Amateur Swimming Associations; passed all examinations for every carnival position & was well known as a State Referee and Starter; was a State Examiner for many years and a member of NSW Amateur Swimming Association, the main administrative body governing swimming in the State.

Club Presidents during the 90’s were Jan Byrne, Elaine Ray, Julie Pearson, Pat Sadlier and Sue Freshwater.


In this decade NLASC entered the digital age with Alan Gray developing a Computer Programme for weekly registrations, handicapping & recording.

Providing Club information to current & prospective members was made easier with the setting up of the Club Website – www.nlasc.org.au. Phil Jones who assisted in developing it became the first Webmaster. The website provided information about swimming events and the weekly swimming results.

A Club email was also set up:  nlasc_narrabeen@hotmail.com.

NLASC participated in the Qantas Big Splash Swimathon in 2004, with swimmers being sponsored per lap. This raised over $250 for our Club. In 2007, a similar event was held, the Splash for Cash Swimathon, raising money for the Royal Institute for the Deaf & Blind. 

Sue Freshwater stood down as Club President at the 2005 AGM and was replaced by Helen Rutlidge.

The ‘Drizabone’ award for outstanding service to the Club by non-swimming members was introduced in 2008 and has become an annual award. The inaugural winner was Brian Inns.

In 2008, Club members were saddened by the death of Pat Sadlier, long standing member, former President, Learn to Swim instructor and active Life Member. Through the cooperation of Pittwater Council, a memorial plaque was installed on “Pat’s seat” outside the Clubhouse.

Swimming costumes & caps, jackets and sun hats with Club colours & logo have been made available for sale. This provides a good club image particularly at the inter club carnivals held during the year.

From 2010 Warringah Amateur Swimming Association chose to stand alone as a governing body for recreational swimming clubs on the Northern Beaches, with local rock pool clubs no longer affiliated with Swimming NSW. 

Our club members participate in the WASA Rockpool Handicap held at Freshwater each year with some varying success in both individual & relay results. Some members also compete in the Jenny Oates Meet and the 14 & Under Peninsula Challenge held each year at the Warringah Aquatic Centre.

Our Club also participates in the annual Rockpool Challenge 10 a side Relay organised by Narrabeen Amateur Swimming Club at the North Narrabeen Rock Pool.

Bingo nights have been re-introduced and as well as being good fundraisers, they also encourage more social interaction between members, family & friends.

In 2011, the decision was taken to change the club name to Narrabeen Lakes Amateur Swimming Club to reflect the changing nature of the membership, to assist in promoting a fun, family Club and to honour its beginnings.


*Deceased members

Florence Kenna*
Lottie Woods*
E May*
M Thorn*
Anne Hatton B.E.M.*
Rosemary Pirie*
Dolly Smith*
A Pursehouse*
Connie Trass*
Ilma Slater*
Marcia Bennell *
Beryl Tyrer*
Jan Byrne
Judy Dubois
Patricia Sadlier*
Marge Crowley
Audrey Willan*
Susan Freshwater
Maureen Rutlidge
Joseph Crowley*
Alan Gray
Debra Graham
Helen Rutlidge
Sally Raymond

The Changing Face Of NLASC

At the AGM 20 September 1987 it was proposed to have an extraordinary meeting to be held on 18/10/87 to discuss the Notice of Motion (moved by Mrs. Crowley, seconded Mrs. Sadlier) that the constitution of the NLASC be altered to allow male members into the club.

At the meeting of 18/10/87 a unanimous decision was made.

At the AGM 22 Nov 1987, 2 males were nominated to be elected for the committee for the first time.

Learn To Swim For Free Program

The LEARN to SWIM for FREE program was started in 1960 by members of NLASC. The club offered free swimming lessons every Saturday and Sunday between November until March.

This volunteer program went on to teach over 15000 children. Many of these children went on to join the club and become involved in the swimming races available. One of these participants was JENNY TURRELL who was a commonwealth gold medal winner in the 1974 Christchurch games; 800m FINA World Championships winner and 1500m world record holder in 1976.

The chief instructor of more than 20 years, Judy Dubois, received the Community Service Award from Pittwater Council in 1998 for her dedication and efforts in the learn to swim program. Judy was invited to be a torch runner in the 2000 Olympic Torch Relay.

In 1992 the NLASC and learn to swim program received a Highly Commended Award from the NSW State Government. The Learn to Swim Program continues its volunteer services to this day.

NLASC Name Change

During the 2009/2010 season we explored the possibility of changing our name from Narrabeen Ladies Amateur Swimming Club to Narrabeen Lakes Amateur Swimming Club. This was suggested to reflect the changing membership of our club while maintaining a link to the history of the club as it first started in Narrabeen Lake. Following positive feedback from our Life Members this proposal was unanimously accepted by our members at the presentation.

Also available: North Narrabeen Rock Pool - Some History

NLASC's Anne Hatton BEM in front of Presentation table