July 6 - 12, 2014: Issue 170

Avalon Beach Surf Life Saving Club   
The Second and Third Clubhouses

 Left to right); Jim Campbell, Max Watt, Brian Sheehan, Geoff Gearside and Max McCredie.

 Lifesavers Catch Huge Shark

Avalon lifesavers yesterday caught a 12ft 800lb whaler shark which had been cruising off the beach during the holidays. It was caught on a line set from a buoy. Five lifesavers in a surfboat tied the line to the boat and, after fighting with the shark for half an hour, caught a wave to the beach. The shark had a two-foot jaw span. The surf club exhibited it in a marquee. They collected £7 in donations, and then sold the shark as shark steak. The whaler is one of the species of Australian sharks known to attack humans. The North Narrabeen club used shark repellent at their surf carnival yesterday. A boat towed a bag of copper acetate around the swimming area. No sharks were seen during the carnival. Lifesavers Catch Huge Shark. (1949, December 28). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18145086

 Avalon Beach Surf Life Saving Club - The Second and Third Clubhouses

After the opening of the Spanish style pavilion First Avalon Beach SLSC Clubhouse designed by original architect Bertram W. Ford, Architect, and NSW Town Planning President at the time of the original construction of this first Avalon Beach SLSC clubhouse, an item pops up in Warringah Shire Council records:

18/6/1934: 3. Mr. Noel Leahy, Architect, submitted his amended plan of proposed surf building at Avalon Beach in respect of which £1000 advance is being received from the Government, and he also submitted tenders for the work received in response to his advertisement, numbering four, the lowest being that of George Sheppard of Mona Vale, for £945: Resolved, - That the Architect be instructed to accept the tender of George Sheppard for £945. (Crs. Hughes, Austin) Resolved, - That tenders be called for the removal of the old surf building on Mona Vale Beach, and the re-erection of it on Bayview Park in its present form. (Crs. Austin, Nicholas)

Noel Leahy securing contracts and giving contracts to builders fills the newspapers of the 1920s and early 1930s. After serving in WWI (25th Signal Company Army Engineers – AIF - Howitzer Brigade 22, Reinforcement 3, Gunner, Returned to Australia 20 December 1917) he worked with a passion. His association, since he was a resident at Marrickville prior to embarkation, may stem from his AIF days as many of those in his unit were from Manly and North Sydney. 

He was definitely within the vicinity during this time:

A clubhouse is being erected by A. Corcoran, under the supervision of Noel Leahy, architect, at the Bay View Golf Links, Mona Vale. The building, which Is of face brick, with semi-glaze roof tiles, will provide accomodation for 100 members and 40 associates.  NEW WORKS. (1933, April 25). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16961886

The problem with the five month old clubhouse seemed to relate to its site, which had caused friction between Warringah Shire Council and Mr. Ford and drainage. A J Small had gone to the length of contacting the Health Department during these months as water sitting at the base of the golf course, flooding due to inadequate draining, and associated problems that rise with dwelling dampness, also became part of the problem with the brand spanking new construction.

There also seemed to be a bit of biased - requests for gear from Surf Clubs further south were readily fulfilled that were denied to Avalon. There also are repeated 'resolvements' that 'the matter be left in the hands of 'A' Riding Councillors'.  A seemingly disempowering ignoring of any requests. Warringah Council's records during 1934 indicate some of the problems and seeming length of anything not being done:

13/8/1934: The HEALTH INSPECTOR'S REPORT was read and dealt with as follows- Avalon Surf Club- completion of water supply and sanitation at new surf Building buildings on Avalon Beach Reserve: Resolved, - That the work be now carried out. 

10/9/1934: 3. Reporting progress of work of installing septic tank and water supply at Avalon Beach surf building: "Received". J. T. Stapleton & Co., LTD., requesting Council to do something to relieve the hardship caused by the Board of Health's proclamation regarding land at Avalon Beach, suggesting that Council fill up all the low-lying portions of Old-New Barrenjoey Road, obtaining filling from the beach nearby. To be informed of what the Council has decided to do at this meeting. 

5/11/1934: 25. A.J.Small 26/10/34, stating he is repeatedly receiving requests for permission to camp on his property at Avalon Beach, suggesting the Council make a flat charge of, say, up to £5 per annum, for camping on Lot 26 and Lots 3 and 4, Avalon Beach, he being prepared to erect sanitary accommodation to any reasonable extent, and have the camping area properly run and supervised; that N.R.M.A. officials have inspected the camping area, and are prepared to support the proposal; inquiring whether if such camp be established, the Council would prevent the indiscriminate camping on adjacent public roads and reserves, and by trespassers on private property. Resolved, - That the proposal be approved on the condition suggested by the Inspector, viz - that three earth closets be provided for men, and three for ladies, and Mr. Small arrange direct with the sanitary Contractor for adequate sanitary services, and pay him direct for same; that a notice be erected in a suitable position prohibiting camping on the roads and reserves. (Crs. Hitchcock, Hughes)

19/11/1934: Avalon Surf Building:  2. Re water supply-to Avalon Beach  Reserve: Resolved, - That authority be given for the purchase of a 1,000-gallon tank and for the removal of the existing tank to Building the Council's depot, to be later used on Bilgola Reserve. (Crs. Hughes, Hitchcock) offer of Mr. A.J.Small to allow Council to obtain water from a well on his land adjoining Avalon Beach Reserve: Resolved, - That the matter be left in the hands of the "A" Riding Councillors.

17/12/1934: 5. Avalon Beach Water Supply: Resolved, That the report be adopted, and the draft Agreement with Mr. A. J. Small be accepted. (Crs. Hughes, Sheppard) Water 6. Extension of Water Supply and Sewerage: Recommendation Supply that the water extension be carried to Avalon and Palm Beach, was adopted, (Crs. Austin, Sheppard) 69 Deewhy: Permanent Life Saver Committee,- 16/12/34, applying for First Aid outfit, and for supply of four badges and two beach flags. The requests were agreed to. 70.Avalon Beach S.L.S. Club, 17/12/34, (a) nominating, for appointment as Beach Inspectors - Messrs. C. E..Beirne, W.Pury and D.BartlettResolved, - That the appointments be approved. Avalon (Crs. Ross, Nichol)

22/1/1935: 5. Submitting License re obtaining water from Mr. A.J.Small for public use on  Avalon Beach  Reserve: Resolved - That the Seal of the Council be affixed to the Licence. 24. A.S.Small, 9/1/35, pointing out that although the Council towards the end of last year resolved that no camping be permitted on the reserve and adjoining roads at Avalon  Beach, there are six or seven camps there now, and the Council has accepted fees from the occupants; also pointing out that three Banksia trees on the reserve have been cut down. Already dealt with in Inspector's report.11. Re complaint by Mr A. J. Small of camping on roads and Camping reserves at Avalon Beach: Referred to A. Riding Councillors for consideration.

5/2/1935: 34. G. K. Dunbar, 25/1/35, re: lack Of public parklands adjacent to Avalon Beach, and the fencing off of private land adjoining the Beach reserve, and contending the latter land should be resumed by the Council before the owner puts more improvements on it. Received.  A.E. Felton, 28/1/35, contending that camping on the Bilgola reserve at Bilgola Beach should not be prohibited, agreeing that the area becomes congested, suggesting there be on one line of tents permitted, with a 3-ft. space between them:  Resolved, - That the Council's previous decision to prohibit camping on the reserve be agreed, and the Inspector see that it is carried out. (Crs. Hewitt, Hughes)

19/2/1935: Cr. Hyghan moved as an amendment that the council purchase an 80-ft. strip for access to the beach Avalon Beach reserve from the proposed main road through Mr. Small's land for the sum Of £600, the full amount to be set off against Mr. Small's rates indebtedness, provided the proposed main road is established by the Main Roads Department without cost to the Council. Cr. Hewitt seconded. The amendment was defeated. The original motion was thereupon put and carried. Clareville Wharf: Cost of demolition of Clareville Wharf: Resolved, the expenditure of £99 on the demolition be confirmed, (Crs. Hughes, Sheppard)

5/3/1935 Avalon Surf Building: E. Lloyd Sanders M.L.A., 18/2/35, on necessity of cubicles in the surf building at Avalon Beach, suggesting these could be provided without cost to the Council, and the users be granted a Permissive Occupancy. Resolved, - That the proposal be approved, it being understood there will be no expense to the Council. (Crs. Hewitt,' Hughes) National Roads & Motorists Assoc., 21/2/35, pointing but that persons camping on the public reserve at Avalon Beach pass through the section of Mr. Small’s ground used by N.R.M.A. members, requesting the Council to give its attention to this matter before the Easter holidays. Resolved, -That the matter be left to A. Riding Councillors. 63. A.J.Small, 2712/35, re camping on Avalon Beach Reserve, taking exception to a recent report by the Inspector on the matter, explaining the position, and requesting a definite statement of the Council's intention in regard to allowing camping on the beach reserve. Cr. Hughes moved, Cr. Hewitt seconding, that the Inspector should not have made the remarks concerning Mr. Small which he made in recent report to the Council. Cr. Campbell moved an amendment, Cr. Beello seconding, that consideration of the letter be deferred until the Inspector returns from holidays. The amendment was carried. Fred Holmes, 26/2/35, re proposed resumptions at Avalon Beach, inquiring whether it is intended to levy a local rate, and whether in such case, the local ratepayers of Avalon Beach may demand a poll. 70a. Avalon Beach Progress Association. Resumption 27/2/35, thanking Council for its decision to effect this resumption. 70b. G. K. Dunbar, 28/2/35, contending that the whole of Mr. Small's land between the beach reserve and Barrenjoey Road should be resumed. Resolved, - That these letters be considered by the Finance Committee. (Crs. Hewitt, Hughes)

In the 1935/36 season Wally Simmonds, who liked a game of golf on the Avalon Course, and was the gentleman who called fo a meeting which led to the formation of the Northern Beaches of Sydney's Queenscliff Club, was appointed Club Captain, Boat Captain, Chief Instructor Association Delegate and Beach Inspector in 1935. Mr. Simmonds was clearly a little bit more persuasive or eloquent and had a means at his disposal to let people know that there was still no First Aid kit for the Avalon Treatment Room, still no electricty and still problems with the water and septic. What was the means he had at his disposal - getting the word, getting read:

Recording of March Music. An interesting recording of the number. 
"Sons of the Surf" has been undertaken by International Sound Recordings of Sydney. The music was written by Meta MacLean, of Brisbane, the well-known composer, who is now in London, and was dedicated to the Surf Life-Saving Association of Australia. It is understood that the Manly Municipal Band and the Glee section of the I.S.R. will record the song both as a march and a vocal number. The recording will be taken to Hawaii with the Australian team in July. Mr. W. G. Simmonds, president of the Avalon Surf Life-Saving Club (N.S.W.)and editor of the magazine, "Surf in Australia," wrote the words of the song and stated recently that "for years march past events have been executed to imported recordings and this we believe is not instep with the national sentiment and character of the movement which is otherwise pure Australian in character." Recording of March Music. (1939, May 8). The West Australian(Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article46388786

Yet again there seems to be a song in the air over Avalon - and will be once more before this History has wended its way  towards the third clubhouse...but in 1935/36, Mr. Simmonds was not always so prosaic. In 1937, when Warringah Shire Council promised to build a timber boatshed adjoining the northern wall of the original structure, a promise unfulfilled, Mr. Simmonds was clearly losing patience.

Geoff's Searl's wonderful book  Avalon Beach Surf Life saving Club History. 75 Years Saving Lives (2000) records from this the SIA magazine:
The March 1937 Issue of Surf In Australia (SIA) declares “we find Avalon Club with fifty-four members housed in a space approximately 20 foot by 20 foot expected to accommodate gear, members recreation, appliances etc. the clubhouse is entirely unsuitable and should never have been built, without someone in the surf movement with practical knowledge. When extra drainage was required recently the Council adopted the easiest way by knocking bricks out of the wall, an illustration of inefficiency.”

Apparently Warringah Shire Council replied that as the club did not contribute towards the cost of the clubhouse the council can not undertake any expenditure in relation thereto.  A request for 300-400 pounds to extend ‘recent clubhouse accommodation’ was rejected.

Mr. Simmonds responded in the August Issue of Surf In Australia (SIA) stating members required to treat patients had to travel 50 yards to the only available water source, a tap, on the Reserve.  Resentments growing at Avalon beach led Councillor Hewitt late in 1937 to attend the Avalon Beach Surf Club AGM and state that the President of Warringah Shire Council had a scheme which would enlarge accommodation next year.

Meanwhile, people continued to visit Avalon Beach in droves – 1937, a Depression era year, brought masses of campers to the Reserve to join those permanent residents made homeless by prevailing conditions, further testing what systems were in place for residents and visitors. The Clubhouse too continued to deteriorate but the club carried on:
 (By 'BREAKER'')
ON Sunday afternoon, November 7,the Surf Life Saving Association will co-operate in the Health Week movement by staging displays and competitions between metropolitan clubs. Grouping is as follows: Group 1, Cronulla.- North Cronulla. Brighton, and South Brighton, at Cronulla Beach. Group 2, Coogee, Clovelly, and Maroubra, at Coogee Beach. Group 3,Bondi, North Bondi, Bronte, and Tamarana, at Bondi Beach. Group -!, Manly, North Steyne, Queenscliffe, and Freshwater, at Manly Beach. Group 5, DeeWhy, Collaroy, North Curl Curl, and South Curl Curl, at Dee Why Beach. Group 6, North Narrabeen, South Narrabeen, Avalon, Mona Vale, Newport, and Palm Beach, at North Narrabeen. KENNY WEEKES will be back again with North Bondi as the sweep of their senior surf boat crew. TERRIGAL CLUB has come on apace during the last two seasons, and are now regarded as the senior club of No. 8 district. SURF AND HEALTH WEEK. (1937, October 28). Referee(Sydney, NSW : 1886 - 1939), p. 19. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article127617017

By February 1st 1940 seventeen of the twenty-three active members received their call up papers for WWII. On June 1st another three members were lost to the AIF. Some of these men would not return and some who did could not do as they had done before the war, the cost of service to ensure the freedoms of others had come at too high a price. This may have been one of their last times at a carnival as one whole crew:
Surf shooter race North Narrabeen Palm Beach Maroubra South Curl Curl Manly Deewhy North Curl Curl North Cronulla Bronte Coogee South Narrabeen Cronulla Freshwater Collaroy Bondi. Surf ski race Palm Beach Maroubra Freshwater North Narrabeen Cronulla Manly Whale Beach Avalon North Cronulla. SURF CARNIVALS. (1940, January 24). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 19. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17647191

During World War II people who had not been called up for overseas duty still flocked to the beach, Avalon included and becoming more popular, despite her diminished active membership:

The annual inspections of the saving Gear on the benches of the metropolitan district will be ... Bondi North Bondi Tamarama and Bronte on October 26 at Oak Park ...helly Beach Cronulla North Cronulla Maroubra Coogee Clovelly on October 27 at Manly North Steyne Queenscliff Freshwater South Curl Curl North Curl Curl on November 2 at Palm Beach Whale Beach Avalon Bilgola Newport Mona Vale Warriewood Turrimetta North Narrabeen South Narrabeen Collaroy and Deewhy on November 1 and at Era Burning Palms and Garie on November 10. SURF CLUB NOTES. (1940, October 2). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 15. Retrieved fromhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17697556

With the absence of the serving members, young men who trained at Wolloomoolloo Police Boys Club and were coached by an Avalon policeman resident, were given an opportunity to contribute to filling the void. Reg Wood, one of these 'boys' recalls the modified second clubhouse:

Reg: When I first started going there we’d be there for the weekend. We got there by bus, walked up to the clubhouse, this was about four o’clock in the afternoon, and it was the first time we’d been over since winter, just the start of the season, we opened up the padlocked door and walked in….you’ve got no idea how bad the air was – the rats had been busy taking over the place – we had cold showers there and there were holes in front of the cold showers where they’d chewed through. So we ended up going into the boatshed, which was at the end then, and we slept on the wooden floors in there. Later on, when you got used to the place, you’d sleep in the sand hills – they were quieter! We progressed, we went to hammocks at one stage; we put two big cables across the clubhouse and we’d hang hammocks on it and then we’d sleep in those.

We also used to have dances at the old club at Avalon too. We’d borrow a piano from Mrs. Ward, who lived in the garage (where the present garage is), scrape a candle onto the floor to make it slippery. Naturally we’d have trouble getting the six chaps to carry it back in the morning before they went surfing.

Doug Crane, Life Member at Avalon Beach SLSC recalls that the policeman from Avalon, was concerned about those at risk in the surf:

Doug: it was towards the end of the war. You see there’s a little story about the Club’s history for war-time. At the outbreak of WWII all the guys here (Avalon) gradually signed up and they left everyone here (on the beach) without anyone to look after them. And it’s a bit toey on the beach, you’ve got to be careful, a lot of people have ‘gone to sea’, and been rescued, they’ve been lucky. At that stage they were getting a bit worried about; ‘who’s going to help them out of the surf?’, the locals, and it so happened there was a policeman who lived here, who was connected to the Police Boys Club at Woolloomooloo and when the word went out that things were a bit hairy here, he said ‘Oh I think I can help you there, I might be able to train some of you blokes’. I lived in Willoughby and I had to go to the city daily for my own benefit and it wasn’t a difficult business to stay on a bit longer and do a Course that they churned out. A lot of the guys that were then available became members. Of course once they got their Bronze Medallion they were full members, and several of them that were at the Woolloomooloo Police Boys Club which gave the existing club a little bit of a come on so that they weren’t lost in the quagmire of the war or the desert (afterwards) but there were enough people to get the club cranked up to run again. The club was disbanded for 3 or 4 years, back in WWII, at the end of it, until about (’48 or ’49?). So relations with the locals took a bit of a turn towards combined sense, and the guys here realised they were trying to do something about their welfare and they supported it. It was still the same old box (shed) though. It was just a hut for change rooms. It was only cold water in the showers.

Surf Award To Soldier

Surf Life-Saving Association awards have been made to Robert Brooks, of Sydney, and Gunner H. A. Boyle. Brooks has received the association's Meritorious Award in Bronze for a rescue which involved him in "grave risks-." Boyle, whose address is given at the 141 Aust. H.A.A. Battery, Bougainville, has been awarded the Certificate of Merit, the first award made to a Serviceman outside Australia. Brooks rescued E. Wonders at Maroubra last year. He dived into a heavy sea fully clothed and rescued Wonders, who was almost unconscious. Boyle experienced great difficulty in rescuing an American Serviceman at Torokina Beach.

Barrenjoey Club

Life-saving protection is to be available again at Barrenjoey. Norman Brown, superintendent of the clubs' districts between Palm Beach and Avalon, is re-forming the Barrenjoey club, which went out of existence during the war. Surf Award To Soldier. (1945, October 24). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17957469

There were a lot of people on Sydney beaches during WWII, not just American soldiers sent to Australia for leave, for supplies and training - residents guarding potential coastal landing places, the Air Training camp in Ruskin Rowe; who allowed the Club to purchase on of their Huts from the Air Force in 1945. This is placed adjacent to the northernmost wall of the clubhouse. This is used by members on weekends and holidays and a boon in post-war scarcity. It was around this period that plans for an extension and/or new clubhouse were raised once again. The hut may have been a stopgap with no materials and few funds available. 
The active members simply got on with what they were there to do.

The post war years also see Avalon Surf Life Savers having numerous encounters with sharks with one or two, Max Watt, Ken Woods, Ken and Neil Davidson and Harry Ragan among most of the action during these numerous incidents. The reports speak of an underlying joy that war has ceased and an absolute lust for life and doing what was best for all - meeting up again, getting in the surf, surf sports, patrolling your beach, catching a wave:

All records for a club event have been broken by the entries for the Freshwater Surf Club's carnival on January 29. There will be 1,588 competitors. Yesterday officials took almost three hours to complete the draw. "Its unprecedented-I have never known anything like it," said the club's organiser, Mr. Roger Moroney. Moroney should know. He's been The club's organiser of carnivals for 20 years, and is one of the stalwarts of the Sydney surf world. Clubs from Corrimal, Coledale, and Woonona are among the entrants, and for the first, time since it was formed the Avalon Club will have "A" and "B" teams in the senior surf boat race. RECORD ENTRIES FOR SURF CARNIVAL. (1945, January 19). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17939423

9 Surfers Struck By Dumpers; Avalon Rescues
Surf rescues and treatment of cases of collapse and shock at the beaches kept life-saving and ambulance officers busy yesterday.
Members of the Avalon Life-Saving Club rescued nine surfers, who were in difficulties after being struck by "dumpers" yesterday morning.  Three were brought in unconscious,  but they recovered after Manly Ambulance officials on the beach had  treated them with carbogen gas. The patients were : William Munro,28, of Dawson Street, Epping; Beryl  Shear, 16, of Potter Street, Fivedock ;and John Duff, 25, of Booth Street, Annandale. Jean Hughes, 14, of Cotswold Street, Strathfield, one of the others rescued, was also seriously affected, but she recovered after ordinary treatment. 9 Surfers Struck By Dumpers; Avalon Rescues. (1945, December 31). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17965105

Right: Heather Murray, known in Avalon as 'The mermaid.' dries her hair after a swim at Avalon. Sydney. Her hair is 3 feet long, and has been cut only once in her lifeBUCKJUMPER RIDES HIGH—LONG-HAIRED BEACH GIRL. (1946, January 11). Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1885 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article62875129

DOLPHINS MAUL SHARK IN SYDNEY SURF BATTLE.  Sydney, Sun: More than 3,000 people at Avalon Beach, on North Shore, today, watched a fight between a large shark and two dolphins, in which the shark had the worst of the encounter. The dolphins drove the shark to- ward the beach and tore strips of flesh from it in a struggle which lasted nearly an hour. This took place less than 200ft from the beach, and forced hundreds of surfers to leave the water. Surf club members took out a surf boat to have a closer look at the fight. They could see the marks where flesh had been torn away from the sides of the shark. The shark finally headed out to sea still pursued by the dolphins.DOLPHINS MAUL SHARK IN SYDNEY SURF BATTLE. (1947, February 24). The Argus(Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 20. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22410713
Shark Scrapes Avalon Surfer's Board
A 14-foot shark dashed straight at a young surfboard rider at Avalon yesterday, dived under the board at the last second, scraping the board as it passed. The rider, Max Watt, 17, was 400 yards out from the beach. He kept his balance, and was lucky to catch a big wave, immediately after which he rode right in to the shore. Watt, a member of the Avalon Surf Club, first saw the shark when it was about 50 yards from him. He lost sight of it as it apparently dived. A moment later he saw it coming straight towards him at top speed. When Watt got ashore he gave the alarm. The shark cruised around for a time, then swam off to the north. Shark Scrapes Avalon Surfer's Board.(1947, April 7). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27898982

Avalon surfers and on-lookers screamed when two grey nurse sharks appeared suddenly in the middle of a crowd of swimmers, about 40 yards from the shore. The surf was cleared in less than two minutes. Few Bathers After Surf Fatality. (1948, February 14).The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18060998

Lifesavers Injured SYDNEY, Sunday. — Three life-savers were injured, two seriously, in three separate accidents at a surf carnival at Avalon today. Fred Megroy, 18, of South Narrabeen Club, who lives at Campsie, suffered a probable fractured skull when a surf boat overturned and he was strutck by an oar. Peter Warner-Bubb, 20, of North Narrabeen Club, who lives at Roseville, was pinned under another boat when it overturned after colliding with the Palm Beach boat. He suffered a probable fractured neck. The Avalon captain, John Wells, was injured when thrown to the bottom of the judges' boat by a freak wave. The three were admitted to Manly Hospital. Wells was allowed to go home.  Shark Attacks Surf Boat. (1948, February 16). Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954) , p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article134319444

BIG SEAS AT BEACHES - Dangerous Surf
Avalon and North Cronulla beaches were closed to surfers yester-day when heavy seas and treacherous currents made bathing unsafe. An Avalon Club official said: "We closed the beach early this morning. The waves were breaking right out at the headlands, and we were not going to take any chances." BIG SEAS AT BEACHES. (1948, April 19). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18068250

Surf Details
AVALON-Club championships fnal round Senior surf race H Ragan 1E Crane 2 N McCready 3 Cadets and probationary surf race F Donaldson 1 E Head 2 N Head 3.  Surf Details. (1949, February 28). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32153309

SHARK ATTACKS SURF BOAT~SYDNEY, Sunday.-Five members of Mona Vale Lifesaving Club caught a 9ft. grey nurse shark which attacked their boat this afternoon. A fisherman saw the shark and returned to the beach and gave the alarm. The Mona Vale boat put out, but had only gone 500 yards when the shark attacked. The shark charged and hit the boat's stern. The impact almost knocked John Winchapel, 20, overboard. He was saved by Noel Mason, 17, who grabbed him about the waist. Frank Spencer, 24, of Mosman jabbed his oar into the shark's gill. Blood spread for several feet over the water. While two of the youths dazed the shark by hitting it about the head with their oars, the others ran a line around its tail. The shark was then towed back to the beach. Weighed 593lb.It was strung up in the Mona Vale Club House. It weighed 593lb.The shark regained consciousness and began lashing out. It broke a window, before being killed by repeated blows by oars and hammers. Tee shark was taken to Manly beach and exhibited at 6d a time. Officials estimate that 2000 people saw it. Proceeds will go to Mona Vale Club funds. A shark was caught in similar circumstances off Bondi beach two years ago. Surf boat crews at Bronte, North Curl Curl and Queenscliff chased sharks out to sea this morning. Many rescues were made at Bronte, Coogee, Freshwater and Avalon. SHARK ATTACKS SURF BOAT. (1949, February 28). Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954) , p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article134341142

Sharks prevented eight Avalon lifesavers taking their bronze medallion examination yesterday morning. The beltman and patient of the squad had entered the water and were 50 yards from the shore when five sharks were seen directly in their path. The captain of Avalon Surf Club, Harry Ragan, said the sharks were chasing a school of salmon. When the alarm was sounded the beltman slipped out of the belt and with his patient swam back to the beach. Because two other sharks had been seen about 10.15a.m.it was decided to postpone the examination until the afternoon. Surfers at Avalon in the morning kept right on the water's edge, he said.  Surf Rescues At Coogee Total 86. (1949, March 14). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved fromhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18106935

It was December of 1949 that the shark at the top of page was caught - 12 feet and 800 lb (?!).

1950, January 1st, opens with yet another shark incident report and some testing times at carnival. This is also the year that it makes it to the papers that Avalon is in real need of a clubhouse appropriate for a beach visited by thousands of people each day of the season and a growing membership that must be accommodated on site, before you take into consideration Treatment Room Necessities, decent showers, walls without holes and cracks the wind whistles through. There is also a nice little record that points to the true nature of Palmy gentleman 'Nugget' Meares and champion Whaley swimmer Ramsay - both at the top of their game, which also shows how fast Mr. Head must have been going, and a few insights into this same one carnival:

Sharks Swarm Off Beaches
Sharks were sighted cruising off Sydney beaches yesterday. Avalon Beach was closed all day after 10 hammerhead sharks were seen 200 yards out at 9 a,m. Avalon surf boat chased them to sea, but they came back at intervals during the afternoon. 
Lifesavers could not say how big they were, but the dorsal fin of one protruded 18in from the water. "It was the biggest shark any of us had ever seen," said a club member. Sharks Swarm Off Beaches. (1950, January 1). The Sunday Herald (Sydney, NSW : 1949 - 1953), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18474261

Newport, runner up in the last Australian surfboat championship was pressed by Palm Beach in a test row at the Avalon Surf Carnival yesterday. Newport beat Palm Beach in the last 15 yards of the race. Whale Beach was third. Professor Frank Cotton supervises the training of the Newport crew.  Professor Cotton does not let the crew row at their best in open carnivals because he thinks they may "burn out" before the Australian championship. Professor Cotton coached Newport when it narrowly lost last year's title to Manly at North Bondi.
Brian Head (Avalon) was disqualified for swimming to the wrong buoy after he had finished first in the junior belt race, from D. Meares (Palm Beach) and O. Ramsay (Whale Beach). Officials gave Meares the first placing. However, Meares and Ramsay approached their respective club captains to ask the referee to grant the trophy and first placing to Head. The referee announced that Head would be allowed to receive the trophy, and declared him the winner of the race. Australian beach sprint champion R Harrison scored easily in yesterday's event. Harrison will not defend his national title this year. He will go to England to take up an engineering position. PRESSED TO WIN SURF BOAT RACE. (1950, January 30).The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27582247

At the Avalon surf carnival a lifesaver was nearly drowned when his line caught on a rocky ledge and his safety belt jammed.He was rescued by his "patient," with whom he was taking part in a rescue and re-suscitation event. The lifesaver was Ron Elvy, 22, of Whale Beach, and the"patient," George Hannaford,17, of the same club. [Mervyn Fletcher, 16, Freshwater junior, lifesaver, was drowned on January 7 when he was unable to free himself from a standard belt during the Dee-why carnival.]
Elvy was exhausted and dazed when taken aboard the judges' boat, which came to the rescue. Lifesavers had to swim along the line and untangle it from the rocky ledge. Later in the day Hannaford figured in another rescue when he helped to support a Newport lifesaver attacked by cramp.  In the second rescue, Hannaford and two club mates, Owen Ramsey and Allen Wilcox,were swimming about 20 yards behind the leaders — 100 yards from the shore — in the junior surf race. Brian Head, 17, of Newport,who was in second position,was seized by cramp, stopped swimming, and floundered. Hannaford went to his aidand helped to hold him until a beltman arrived. Another lifesaver, Harry Usher (Avalon), suffered from immersion and shock when he was trapped under an over-turned surfboat.  Usher, who was rowing in the boat, swallowed some water before he could struggle clear. Three thousand people at north Curl Curl had an unexpected diversion when a school of porpoises appeared and started "shooting" the breaker. Surf-boat Called To Man's Rescue. (1950, January 30). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27582235

Crew members of Avalon surf-boat anxiously watch their sweep-hand, Max Watt, as he is flung high into the air by one of the big seas at Avalon yesterday. The sweep-oar was shattered and Watt just missed being imapled by a piece of the oar, which can be seen protruding from the rowlock. SWEEP-HAND NARROWLY ESCAPES INJURY. (1950, January 30). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27582237

Max Watt - the picture to match above report

Lifesavers In Smash. Five members of Avalon Surf Club were injured in a road accident yesterday afternoon. A utility truck in which they were travelling to Avalon collided with a car at the inter-section of Pittwater Road and Wetherill Street, Collaroy. Manly Ambulance took all the men to Manly District Hospital. Two were admitted. They were: Alan Slevin, 22, of Cook Road, Centennial Park, internal injuries; Neil Davidson, 17, of Dress Circle Road, Avalon Beach, fractured skull. Lifesavers In Smash. (1950, March 12). The Sunday Herald(Sydney, NSW : 1949 - 1953), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18476469

A NEW club-house, of modest size, is urgently required by Avalon. The club has opened a building fund and invites donations. With membership growing and the beach becoming more popular, accommodation for the patrolmen is inadequate. SURFING: Club And Beach. (1950, October 9). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27570903

Norma Watt recalls the second phase of renovations were done by club members themselves. These were an extension from the original clubhouse. The Photos below shows where the ground was laid and prepared for the Third Clubhouse. 
Geoff Searl's Avalon Beach Surf Life saving Club History. 75 Years Saving Lives (2000) confirms this from club records:

1950: ‘winter staunchies’ spruced up the clubhouse – First Aid room and clubhouse were cleaned and painted and a new roof was fitted to the clubhouse

Above: shows boatshed and accommodation extension and ground just prior to first floor addition. These  structures together became the third clubhouse - compare with northern end of building behind the shark catchiers (below) and southern end of structure in photo below that with Max and Norma in the Norman Cook Surfboat  - photos courtesy Norma Watt.

Northern end 

Southern end

With some 'renovation and repair' done, by members, the sharks-escapades continued, led by the fearless men surnamed Davidson:

THE first carnival of the season will be staged at Avalon next Sunday. Contestants will represent beaches from Deewhy to North Palm Beach, including the newly formed club at Bilgola. Club members from Bilgola, the narrow but attractive beach between Newport and Avalon, are expected to do well in the carnival.  SURFING: Club And Beach. (1950, November 13). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18185992

Avalon Lifesaver Bitten By Shark

A 23-year-old lifesaver dived off his surf-board and fought a 6ftcarpet shark in five feet of water to stop it from approaching a group of children in the surf at Avalon yesterday. During the struggle the shark bit his stomach. A doctor inserted three stitches in the gash caused by the bite. The lifesaver, Ken Davidson, chemical engineer, of Dress Circle Road, Avalon, was patrolling the beach when other surf-club members saw the shark and gave the alarm. Davidson raced into the water with his board and paddled out to the shark.


"It was swimming towards a group of small children playing in the surf," Davidson said. "The only way I could stop it from getting close to them was to grab hold of its tail. "I didn't realise it was quite so big when I dived off the board."

Davidson's brother, Neil, 18, ran into the water with a spear gun to help him. Neil Davidson fired a steel arrow at the shark, but the arrow bent and glanced off when it struck the shark's head. The Avalon surf-club captain, Harry Ragan, and six other club members also raced into the water to help the brothers. One of them, Alan Slevin, 21, took a shark spear from the clubhouse.


Ragan said they circled around the shark, jumping and splashing neck-deep in the water, to force it in toward the beach. They threw the shark spear to Ken Davidson, who had climbed back on to the board, and he tried to spear the shark. He missed several times and tossed the spear to Neil Davidson, who dived under the water and stabbed the shark twice. It broke away and swam at Max McCredie, another life saver. McCredie leapt up and the shark darted beneath him. Neil Davidson then drove the spear through the shark, pinning it to the sand. The men dragged it ashore and killed it on the beach.


Ken Davidson said: "I have tackled three-footers before but never a 6ft shark. I won't be too anxious to do it again. "When the shark swung round to attack me its lower teeth caught on my webbing belt-luckily. "If they had not it could have given me a far more vicious bite. "I let go pretty fast when it bit."  Avalon Lifesaver Bitten By Shark. (1951, March 27). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18205758

MANY SEE SURF GALA About 3,000 people saw a gala display of lifesaving at Warriewood Beach yesterday. Competing clubs included North Narrabeen, Avalon, Warriewood Beach, Mona Vale, Bilgola, Palm Beach, Newport, Long Reef, South Narrabeen, Collaroy, North Palm Beach. MANY SEE SURF GALA. (1952, February 4). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18254505

1952, besides being a very busy season, records perhaps one of the first uses of belt and line in cliff rescues – a method that goes back a hundred years prior to this for rescue work with lines off vessels, very similar to that used today!:

CLIFF RESCUE BY SURF MEN SYDNEY. February it.— Two young girls trapped on a cliff face at Avalon Beach, near Sydney, to-day, were rescued by members of the Avalon Surf Club. The girls, who were about seven years old, had climbed about halfway up the cliff at the southern end of the beach, when they could get no further. Several members took a reel to the top of the cliff and between them passed a belt down to the girls the same way as a rescue Is carried out In the surf. The rescuers spaced themselves out down the cliff side, holding the reel over their heads. Then they strapped the girls one at a time into the bell and hauled them up the cliff face.  CLIFF RESCUE BY SURF MEN. (1952, February 25).Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1885 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63207957

At Avalon, surf club swimmers made a mass rescue. Sydney beaches had their biggest crowds so far this summer. Two sharks cruised within 20 yards of members of the local surf club at Mona Vale.  The beach was cleared and the shards – were chased out to sea.  60 RESCUES IN SURF. (1952, December 15). Barrier Miner(Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved fromhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article61228038

First Two Rescues Of Season. Sydney surf clubs made their first two rescues of the season yesterday at Avalon and North Bondi. At Avalon, surf club members were holding their annual meeting when a strong rip carried Miss K. Casey, of Lindfield, to sea. One of the members, Mr. Ian Gorrie, brought her ashore. She was unconscious, but revived after other club members had applied artificial respiration for 15 minutes. Miss Casey went home after a doctor treated her for shock. First Two Rescues Of Season. (1953, September 7). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18383886

Three Saved From Heavy Surf At Bondi, Avalon

AT AVALON, Ian Gorrie, a beltman of the local surf club, swam 100 yards in a heavy sea to rescue Thomas Smith, a youth who had been carried out of his depth by the undertow.

SHARK ALARM - Harry Ragan and Max Watt, both members of the Avalon club, were swimming in a race when a shark was sighted 50 yards from them. Members of the club, in a boat supervising the race, spotted the shark heading towards Ragan and Watt, and raised their oars to give the alarm. A big wave helped the swimmers to reach the beach quickly. Their club mates in the boat headed the shark out to sea. Three Saved From Heavy Surf At Bondi, Avalon. (1953, October 19). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18393953

SURFING AVALON -Handicap surf racesenior M Unicomb,1,  J Day, 2., H Ragan,3. SPORT IN DETAIL. (1953, October 19). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18393924

R. Hoobin, 14, of Avalon Surf Club, suffered cramp in the right leg while surfing at Avalon Beach. He was carried out t13yards by a rip. A club beltman swam to his rescue and brought him to shore.  Heavy Surf Carries Out Bathers. (1954, December 6).Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954) , p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article134102151

Reg Wood’s 1955-56 Club Captain’s report in Annual Report states a toilet was installed by Council – the entire clubhouse was now in need of replacement. This report also mentions ‘Our New Building Fund’. Ken Davidson kept urging people to work to ensure commitments to the New Building Fund be maintained.

During 1958 Mr. H Flynn (Hon, Secretary of the Auxiliary) and Ken Davidson presented plans drawn up by the club’s Hon. Architects Alexander and Lloyd to Warringah Shire Council.

During the Winter of 1959 Don Imison, Ken Davidson, and Harry Ragan, the Executive Committee, along with prominent residents, negotiated with Warringah Shire Council for assistance of the financial kind in building a new clubhouse. Council committed to £ 3000, on a pound for pound deal, but the club had only £ 1500 pounds raised so far, a short fall of the same again.

Avalon Beach RSL came up with £1000 – Warringah Shire Council called for Tenders and accepted that of Brookvale company Bonser and Copeland for £12 286

Twelve months later Warringah Shire council  agreed to contributing a grant of £7286. The Avalon Beach SLSC contributed £5000 into the Warringah Shire Trust Fund, £3000 of which the club had had to borrow from their local Bank of New South Wales on the proviso that it was paid back in three years.

The new clubhouse was officially opened by His Honour Judge Adrian Curlewis (then President of the SLS Australia) and the president of Warringah Shire Council – William Berry (Bill) on April 29th, 1961.

The original boat shed was now a bunkroom, associates room and showers and toilets (male and female) for club members and associates. The first floor hall was originally 20 metres by nine metres with a veranda which extended the length of this hall.  What became the caretakers accommodation was originally a change room and office while the old bar area had originally a small stage with a sliding extension.

At the 1961 AGM the twenty wonderful locals who had gone guarantee for the loan were thanked and members encouraged to attend functions so the debt could be repaid as soon as possible

As soon as possible came in the form of The Sundownerspacking the clubhouse every Saturday night

The Stomp during the 1962-63 season – distressing for some who saw their wonderful polished clubhouse floor turned into a scuffed mess that required work to return it to its original gleam, and with Architect Loyal Alexander called in by the police to confer his opinion on the bending floor above his head and distorting braces due to the 600 plus bodies crammed above and ‘stomping’ the Police called a cessation to such activities and emptied the hall before some, or many, were hurt.

It did however allow the £600 still owing on the overdraft to be paid out before its final due date.

Some of those who were around then state that it was 'The Sunsets' who would play. Others contend the Group was named 'Billy Jay and the Sundowners' while one other points at NZ group Sonny Day and the Sundowners, although their stats show they came to Sydney for a month at the beginning of the fortunate year and were home again playing in NZ by the time of the carnival - so ...not them.

When we were researching a few extra insights for Max Watt's page we did find and 'Avalon Stomp' by a Sydney surf music band

One who was there:


In December 1962 a phenomenon called the Stomp took an unsuspecting nation by surprise and enabled us to pay off our new surf clubhouse in less than 3 years from its opening in November 1960. While I was still at school in 1957, I remember discussing with classmates, a television news item that showed American sailors on board one of their visiting ships demonstrating a weird dance that they called the Surfers Stomp.

Little did I know then, in five years time it would resurface and become a dance craze that would become bigger than the Twist. Stomp dances and in some cases surf clubs, started to appear all around our sunburnt country from Emu Plains to Kalgoorlie. During the last quarter of 1962 a Rock ‘n' Roll dance became a regular Sunday afternoon event at the clubhouse. The band was excellent, but it was a struggle to attract more than 18 to 24 people, despite much publicity. The band was confident that things would eventually improve and persevered, seemingly content to play for nothing until respectable crowds started attending. John Farls - From:http://www.johnfarls.com/MEMOIRS_FROM_ME_MATES.php

As was Mr Trev Fuller who gives a detailed account that makes those days jump up before your eyes again. See: trevfuller.blogspot.com.au/2008/09/the-stomp.html

In his book Stoked! (2009, Hyams Publishing, ISBN: 978-0-9775798-6-0), Bob McTavish writes:

The Stomp, the actual dance itself (if you could call it a dance), had been invented six months earlier at the Avalon Surf Club dance that ran on Saturday nights for a while. The Sunsets were the band, and a bunch of us surfers were stuffing around there one night, all of us being lousy jivers or quicksteppers. The two stomps with the left foot, followed by two with the right, was delightfully do-able for us uncouth mongrels.

I can’t recall who actually put it together first, but it was definitely our crew of derros, at Avalon, in late ’62. I do recall the feeling as, pumped up with adrenalin and beer, we grabbed girls and showed them the move, and watched how quickly they caught on. The girls then made it elegant – well, as elegant as the Stomp could be – by adding slow rotations and some body swaying. The boys in the band noticed, and between songs they revved the crowd up on the new dance.

In a couple of weeks, the Avalon Stomp had a name, and crew from all over Sydney started to get into the new craze. Radio station 2UW had just gone a hundred per cent Top Forty, and they gave the Avalon Stomp a plug here and there.

Video of the Manly  Surfing Carnival http://aso.gov.au/titles/sponsored-films/king-of-the-surf/clip1/

Either way the club was built, paid for, and everybody could get back on the beach!

The Third Clubhouse

West facing side of Avalon Beach SLSC's Third Clubhouse 

                                                                         Avalon Beach SLC - Third Clubhouse: 2011 Photographs - AJG Pics.

 Avalon Stomps - Three Versions to match Three Versions

OLYMPICS THE STOMP 1962 ARVEE A 429 LP and The Mar-Kets (Marketts) - Surfer's Stomp - 1962 45rpm: Instrumental from the L.A. session men who had gone by the name The Wrecking Crew. After this release Mar-Kets became Marketts, recording right up to the end of the 60's... And...The Stompers - Quarter To Four Stomp (1962)...sure was a lot of stomping going on!

A More Soothing Avalon Song - Roxy Music - 'Avalon'



ON Monday last, Mr. W. H. Hargraves, son of Mr. Hargraves, the gold discoverer, and Mr. C. J. Burnsson of the member for the Hunter, both clerks in the Equity Court, accompanied by a young man named W. A. Balcombe, started in a boat for Broken Bay to spend their "vacation holiday" in procuring conchological specimens. They took provisions for a fortnight, and an equipment of everything necessary, their principal object being to dredge in Broken Bay. The party left in the morning, the wind being west, and about 2 in the afternoon they were a little to the southward of Barrenjoey. At that time a sudden squall, from the south-west struck the boat, heeling her over till the sea went over, and she lay with her sail in the water. Fortunately, Mr. Hargraves had the presence of mind to cut away the mast, when she righted, but in a water-logged and helplessly condition. The wind then rose considerably, and a heavy sea got up. The party were two miles from land, and that land a rocky, ironbound coast. By keeping the boat's head to wind they managed to pull towards the "hole in the wall" but upon nearing the coast their situation became even more inconveniently dangerous. The sea raised by the south-west wind broke with great violence upon the rocks, and in the sandy bay higher up the surf broke half a mile from the beach. They were now close to the rocks, with apparently no chance of getting on shore. The young men, however, displayed a presence of mind that accounts for their being alive to narrate their escape. Tying the dredge rope to a cooking stove, weighted with all the other iron they had in the boat, Mr. Hargraves hove this novel anchor into the sea, while his companions backed the boat cautiously towards the rocks. The dredge rope was not long enough, and after it gave out, a tentline was added to it, and then a doubled schnappers line, which, with the painter, just allowed the boat's stern to go close to the rocks. Burns and Balcombe waited their opportunity, and jumped but in trying to hold the boat while Hargraves joined them, they slipped and were dashed with much violence on the rocks beneath. When Hargraves jumped out of the boat on the top of Burns and Balcombe, a wave then came up and left the party sprawling upon a sunken rock, and when the sea receded they were enabled with great activity to reach a more elevated rock. A big sea soon after lifted the boat up, and carried her against the rock. It must be remembered that this occurred during the heavy gale on Monday, which was felt severely here, and it is marvellous that the three escaped as they did, as the coast upon which they were cast ashore is as rocky and almost as high as the South Head. After getting onto higher ground, bruised and bleeding, and wet through, the party found a track round the cliff, and got to the farm of Mr. Collins, who lent Mr. Hargraves a horse to go on to Broken Bay, and treated his companions with the greatest kindness. The party returned to town yesterday evening, thankful for their escape. Their loss is considerable, as the boat cost nearly £50, without her stores and dredging, and other tackle. Boat Accident. (1874, July 11). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 11. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70483323

Right: Flames enveloping a tree at Avalon yesterday afternoon when bushfires menaced property on a long front extending to Palm Beach. EXTENSIVE BUSHFIRES — MR. CHAMBERLAIN CROSSES THE CHANNEL — WATERSIDE WORKERS MEET AT WOLLONGONG. (1938, December 8). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 14. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17542598

1950 also closed with this tragic event in the loss of one of the many who travelled all over Sydney to serve as part of the Avalon Beach Surf Life Saving Club:

SYDNEY, December 17. - A 21-year-old lifesaver collapsed and died in the surf at Avalon beach today. He was John Jones, of Paddington. Jones joined the club six months ago and was competing for his bronze medallion for rescue work. Shortly after 11 am. He swam in a belt from the beach to a buoy about 150 yards out. He swam strongly in heavy seas and reached the buoy quickly. When surfers in a life-boat standing by asked him if he was all right he answered, "yes," and signalled to life-savers ashore to haul him with his "patient." He collapsed just as the line began to tighten.   John Duff, a lifesaver, who was nearby on a surf ski, dived and supported his "patient" John King and Max Watt, who dived from the boat also held him up until he was lifted into the boat. A local doctor gave him an injection and within 10 minutes Manly ambulance arrived and he was treated with oxygen and carbogen gas. A Manly hospital doctors said he may have had a heart seizure. Jones leaves a widowed mother and married sister. LIFESAVER DIES IN SURF. (1950, December 18). Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article57085920

Big Waves Trap 20 Lifesavers
SYDNEY, Sunday.—Huge waves swamped a surf boat and swept it and about 20 surf club members out to sea at Avalon today. The surf boat was crashed on to rocks and wrecked. The lifesavers were returned to the beach safely and did not need resuscitation. The dramatic rescue took almost 2 hours. Five lines were used to haul out swimmers, while another line was used on the boat. Boats and members from nearby Newport and Bilgola clubs joined Avalon members in the mass rescue. A 9ft. shark circling the surf boat hampered the rescue. The Avalon boat to sea about 1.30 p.m. to rescue two board riders who fell from their boards. A strong rip had swept the riders out to sea. As the boat neared them a huge wave swamped it. A rip resulting from the backwash of the wave swept the almost-submerged boat 500 yards out to sea.
Meanwhile beltmen rescued the two board riders. Other beltmen took four lines out to the boat, but each one broke as it snagged on rocks. The last line snapped close to shore and the boat was swept on to rocks.  Big Waves Trap 20 Lifesavers. (1963, March 25). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article104592192

80 surfers rescued from Avalon rips
SYDNEY, Sunday. — More than 80 surfers were rescued at Avalon Beach today after a sandbar collapsed. lifesavers ran a shuttle service of surf lines to bring them to the shore. Additional lifesavers were tailed to active duty after the club captain, Richie Bennett saw the condition of the surf was becoming dangerous. Bad rips surrounded the sandbar. Burnett sent lifesavers on hoards beyond the breakers to watch for surfers in difficulties. When the sandbar finally gave way many surfers, including small children, were left struggling in deep water. The strong rip washed many a long way out. In some cases lifesavers held three surfers on their boards until help came. Some of the rescued were treated on the beach and others in the club's ambulance room. In all more than 130 surfers were rescued on Sydney beaches today. At Maroubra 30 were brought ashore in a mass rescue in rough seas. The beach was closed afterwards. There were six rescues at Bondi. Lifesavers faced long swims through heavy seas. Beach inspectors assisted them.
Lifesavers said it was their busiest day for years. In Queensland lifesavers rescued 76 people from treacherous rips yesterday.
Patrols worked almost non slop off Greenmount Point at Coolangatta for nearly seven hours. They pulled 62 people to safety after a sudden rip, accompanying a high tide, developed off a sandy bar. At Burleigh Head 10 people were saved.
Club men at five other resorts treated dozens of bathers for bluebottle and jellyfish stings. 80 surfers rescued from Avalon rips. (1964, November 30).The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), p. 9. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article107512265

Surfers ignore cries for help
SYDNEY, Sunday.—Surfboard riders at Sydney's Avalon beach today ignored cries of help from an Italian woman who was swept from a rockpool into the choppy surf. They continued to catch the waves as the woman was carried out 500 yards by a strong rip. Lifesavers patrolling the bathing area bad to run the full length of the beach with a surf reel. A belt, manned by a young Avalon lifesaver, was sent out through the surf and when the line on the reel ran out. a second reel was brought in and tied onto the end. The woman was dragged semi-conscious from the surf, then was treated at the beach by a doctor and taken home. The captain of the Avalon club. Mr. Richard Burnett. criticised the callous indifference of the surfboard riders.
'Surfboard riders sit and watch'
"This is not the first time they have ignored people in the same position. "Quite often we have to run the full length of the beach while the surfboard riders just sit and watch. "It look a quarter of an hour to rescue the woman by a belt when the surfboard riders close by could have rescued her in several minutes."
Mr. Burnett said she might have drowned if the lifesavers had not helped. At Queenscliffe, several miles from Avalon, lifesavers impounded thirty-nine surfboards after they have been ridden in the swimming area. Surfers ignore cries for help. (1964, December 21). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), p. 9. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article107516395

 'Operation Centipede' by Arthur Murch - picture courtesy Norma Watt - painted for Avalon Beach SLSC members - boat crew putting surfboat away.

 Arthur Murch Wins Archibald Prize. SYDNEY, January 20.

Forty-eight-year-old Avalon (Sydney) artist Arthur Murch is the winner of the 1950 Archibald art prize. He was awarded the prize — which carried with it about £500 prize money— today by the trustees of the National Art Gallery. Sydney. His winning entry was a portrait of another Sydney artist, Bonar Dunlop, of Whale Beach. The trustees inspected 144 entries during the past few days before reducing the number to a few from which the final selection was made today. Simultaneously with the announcement of the Archibald prize, two other leading art awards were also made. They were:— The Wynne Prize for Landscape —Awarded to George F. Lawrence. 48, of Cliff road. North wood, Sydney. The Sir John Suliman Prize for Mural Painting — Awarded to J. Carrington Smith, 42, of Hobart, Tasmania.

Lawrence's winning entry was a scene titled 'Two Rivers,' depicting sections of the Lane Cove and Parramatta rivers, Sydney, with a portion of Cockatoo Island dockyard in the background. Smith's winning mural en- titled 'Bush Pastoral' is a pro posed mural for the new State building, Tasmania. The Wynne award carried a prize of £60 and the Suliman prize £90. Today's Archibald prize success by Murch adds to his successes in a brilliant art career extending over more than 20 years. This year's winning entry was his ninth attempt to win the contest. Both Murch and Lawrence were listening to the radio in their studios when details of the awards were broadcast.

'I just went on painting,' Murch said later. Murch described the portrait of Dunlop as being something different from his previous en tries for the Archibald prize. 'I did feel that I had got a little more richness into it this time, although I had no idea I would win the prize,' he said. The portrait was started solely as a demonstration of form for Dunlop, who was a student of his, Murch added.  The prizemoney would be used to pay off a few debts and to complete the bush home he is building at Avalon. At present the house consists of only two rooms. George Lawrence, winner of the Wynne prize, said his friends used to call him a week end painter. He has been trying to win the Wynne award for four years. The Suliman prize-winner, J Carrington Smith, who is holidaying with his wife and three children at Lufawanna, Bruny Island, also heard of his success on the radio. 'I thought I had a chance,' he said.

Above Left: Winning Artist And Family: Archibald prizewinner Arthur Murch, with his wife and son at their home at Avalon Beach, north of Sydney, last night. Above right: Archibald Prize Portrait 'Bonar Dunlop,by Sydney artist Arthur Murch. which was awarded the Archibald prize yesterday as the best portrait of the year. Arthur Murch Wins Archibald Prize . (1950, January 21). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article50200761

 Avalon Beach Surf Life Saving Club - The Second and Third Clubhouses, threads collected and collated by A J Guesdon, 2014.