August 18 - 24, 2013: Issue 124

 Newport Surf Club – Newport SLSC to 1938 Part I

With over one hundred years of saving lives Newport SLSC is Pittwater’s first organisation intent on ensuring the safety of all who visit this long stretch of sand and the ocean that meets it. Newport SLSC rose from resident Pittwater legends, necessitated by ensuring the safety of the increasing amounts of their visitors, and was supported and taken forward by people who would come to spend their Summer’s either camping or in holiday homes they had built.  The surnames of those listed in club annals are the Local hoteliers in succession at Newport (now the Newport Arms), the storekeepers, Scott’s boarding house keepers and their children.

Newport SLSC also indicates when Pittwater was changing rapidly from a rural domain, where people grew and supplied produce to Sydney, into one of the premier holiday ‘resorts’ of Sydney. Thousands came to Newport by steamers, then ferries, coaches and then buses from Manly carried them.

There are a number of other firsts associated with this club, first women’s reel team, decades before women were ‘officially’ allowed into the water as surf life savers, first power boat rescues, first radio, as well as feats in carnivals and in saving lives that, as with all our surf clubs, are too numerous to list here.

As there are so many aspects, not only eras, of every surf club, the first page for Newport SLSC will share insights into its commencement, its social aspects, especially during the 1920’s and into the 1930’s where Annual Balls to raise funds to improve the clubhouse facilities or purchase new and better life-saving equipment were all the rage, and up until the outbreak of WWII – when so many surf clubs lost their fittest members to the Services in defence of Australia. 

There were also numerous people who held the presidency, or were captains of the teams in alarm and surf reel or the surf boats themselves as they became part of the life saving seascape.

Right: 'Walking towards Newport Beach' Pic No: 18526_a024_000069, dated 31/12/1908, courtesy the State Records of NSW

Walking over the hill and short distance from where they were deposited at Newport Wharf, to the surf beach, was the thing to do if going to Newport as an ‘excursionist’. 

With the advent and popularity of ‘surf bathing’ and trying to do this in ‘neck to knee’ costumes, in sometimes treacherous seas where those visiting had little or no knowledge of how to keep themselves safe, a Surf Club, that then had reel and line followed by buoy, and people trained to operate this equipment, became paramount.

Founded in 1909, and issued by Warringah Council with a reel and line, originally along the lines set out by the Royal Life Saving Society, Newport Surf Club was a sporting club as much as a group dedicated to guarding the lives of those enthralled with ‘surf bathing’. 

Reports point to a strong link with the North Steyne Life Saving and Surf Club, as it was called then, with demonstrations and training sessions on the beach as well as social days. 

Leighton Scott , Minnie's younger brother was the first Captain and William Boulton first Vice-Captain. The Foundation members are listed as James Booth, William Boulton, Fed Dwyer, Stan Harrington, Dick Harrison, Cecil, Godfrey and Harry Snell, A.S. Henderson, Edwin and Norman Penfold, Carl Perry, Carl and Sidney Porter, Leighton Scott and George Meillon;

Newport Beach - one of the first men's squads - Leighton Scott is in light coloured trunks, Godfrey Sneel is on far right, Norman Cook is beltman

The social committee of the North Steyne Life Saving and Surf Club held a successful drag and motor launch picnic on August 30 -to celebrate the close of its successful winter social season. The party drove to Mona Vale, thence to the Newport Hotel, where a banquet was prepared in a first-class manner. Speeches were made by Alderman Quirk and Mr. Field. After the banquet the motor launch Wiga Wiga conveyed the visitors round M’Garr's Creek, Lion's Point,and to Kurring-gai Chase, where they alighted, and were photographed; thence to the. Basin, and past Barrenjoey Lighthouse. Among the guests were Alderman Quirk, Messrs. Field, Franklin, Dale, Hurd, Fox, Veness, Richmond, B. .Hard, Mesdames Franklin, Rogers, Fox, Quirk, Denmead, Field, Hind, and the Misses Heaton, M'Grubbon, Denmead, Masters Field and Quirk. Mr. Field and Alderman Quirk were thanked for their successful efforts. The guests returned to Manly laden with lovely wild flowers and fruit at about 6 p.m. SOCIAL ITEMS. (1908, September 5). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 14. Retrieved from

The following Spring the residents of Newport :


The Newport residents communicated with the Warringah Shire Council at its last meeting on the matter of financial assistance towards the provision of surf-bathing accommodation on their beach. It was pointed out that the pastime had greatly increased in popularity in this location, and towards the end of the last season the local attendance in the breakers was considerably increased by Sydney visitors and other tourists. It was further desirable that accommodation should be provided as a matter of decency. 

The councillors, while being sympathetic, admitted there was a difficulty, as Newport had not been included in the resorts mentioned in the recent application to the Government for money, and which was granted. It was subsequently decided to vote a sum of £10 towards the provision of temporary enclosures, with a proviso that the residents interested subscribe a similar amount, making £20 in all. SURF BATHING AT NEWPORT. (1909, October 16). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1883 - 1930), p. 21. Retrieved from


A public meeting was held at Newport for the purpose of forming a surf bathing club. There was a good attendance of residents and visitors. The following officials were elected: — Patron, Dr. Arthur, M.L.A.; president, Mr. E. Trevor Jones: vice-presidents. Messrs. A. Quirk, C. D. Paterson, J. Barrett, jun., S. Greig, W. Penfold, Slater, and F. Middows. Mrs. Lewis was elected honorary secretary, and Mrs. Greig honorary treasurer. About 30 members were- enrolled. There is a very fine beach, within 15 minutes walk of the village. The beach has hitherto been only partially equipped with life-saving apparatus, and as the club has already a promise of, a reel and a life-line, surf bathing-may now be enjoyed there with a greater degree of safety.  SURF CLUB AT NEWPORT. (1909, November 6). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1883 - 1930), p. 18. Retrieved from 


Surf bathers at Newport who recently received financial assistance from the Warringah Shire Council towards accommodation, have now formed a club. 

At the initial meeting the following office-bearers were elected: — Patron, Dr. Arthur, M.L. A.; president, Mr. W. E. Trevor Jones, hon, secretary Mr. Lewis, hon. treasurer Mr. S Greig, vice-presidents; Cr. Quirk, C. D. Paterson, J. Barrett, S. Greig. F. Meddows and Slater; in general committee, Messrs. W Boulton, L Scott, R. Boulton, T. Bulfin, J. Sykes. SURF BATHING AT NEWPORT. (1909, November 9). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1883 - 1930), p. 11. Retrieved from

Newport Beach was not public land to begin with. The Farrell family, after whom the beach was called for many years, had to be persuaded to allow it to become so. The papers recorded:

Proposed Resumption of Newport Beach

At a public meeting held at Newport resolutions were carried urging the Government to have the Newport beach resumed by the Warringah shire council as a public reserve. Speakers representing local residents, tourists to the district, and the Newport Surf Club pointed out that resumption would been easier matter at present than later on, when the beach would probably come under private ownership. The proposal is to resume the whole of the beach from low water-mark to Barranjoey-road, and it was decided to ask the council to arrange a deputation to the Minister for Lands on the subject. EMPIRE FORESTS. (1910, March 22). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from

The Newport Beach, which was recently resumed by the Lands Department and Warringah Shire Council, was dedicated on Saturday before a large gathering. The ceremony was performed by Mrs. Nielson (wife of the Minister for Lands). Councillor Ralston, (president of Warringah Shire) in presenting Mrs. Nielson with a pair of silver scissors with which to sever the blue ribbon, said they could well call it a red-letter day in the annals of the shire. The council had recognized the necessity of securing the beaches for the people, and a few more would be resumed later on.

Mrs Nielson, in cutting the ribbon, said “I hereby declare the Newport beach open for the public.”
Alderman C. D. Paterson and Dr Arthur, M.L.A. also spoke and congratulated the shire on securing such a fine beach.
During the afternoon the members of the North Steyne Surf Club and Newport Surf Club gave exhibitions in the surf and refreshments were supplied by a committee of local ladies and gentlemen. The Warringah Shire Band rendered a programme of music.
 NEWPORT BEACH OPENED. (1911, April 10). Evening News(Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 10. Retrieved from

The members of the North Steyne Life-saving Club, in charge of Mr. C.D. Paterson (captain) and Mr. J Johns (Royal Life-saving Society), visited Newport on Saturday afternoon for the purpose of giving a practical demonstration in the art of life-saving. The following members took part-:
No 1 Team – Neilson (patient), Holmes (support ), Childers (belt) and Messrs. H. Hind, Bonice, Beale and Cameron.
No. 2 Team – Anderson (patient), C. Hind (support), J. Vernon (belt), E. Nicholls, A. Kelly, J. Morgan,  D.V. Green. The Newport Surf Club Members also gave an interesting display.
LIFE-SAVING EXHIBITION. (1911, April 10). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 13. Retrieved from

During the last few years no outdoor sport has made more rapid progress In New South Wales than surf bathing. This month is regarded by its devotees as the beginning of the season, although there are many regular bathers at several of the main beaches all the year round. The pastime has undoubtedly come to stay, for as year follows year the number of bathers on the beaches increase rapidly, and last year at Manly, Bondi, and Coogee there were occasions when two or three thousand bathers were to be seen on each beach at one and the same time.

One has only to look at the accounts of sales of land agents during the last few years to realise what a marvellous effect surf bathing has had in causing the value of land In seaside suburbs to increase in value. Wherever there Is a beach land has Jumped from a few shillings to as many pounds per foot, where before neither, as it is at Maroubra, where five £»"?*?,land was unsalable, or at Freshwater, Curl Curl, or Narrabeen, where water or beach frontages are almost unobtainable, prices have gone up and up, and are still going up, and land Is changing hands more frequently than anywhere else adjacent to Sydney. Furnished cottages at Manly, where in the summer months country people gather from all parts of the State, are booked months in advance; Cronulla is now also coming on fast, many cottages are built and building where a very few years ago was little sign of population.

It is remarkable to think that this sport has become so popular during the short space of five or six years, more especially when It Is remembered that so much opposition had to be encountered in its early stages. Before the period above mentioned surf bathing was prohibited after 7 o'clock In the morning, and the thanks of many thousands of people who have since benefited In health and spirits by Indulgence in the pastime are due to that small but plucky band of pioneers at Manly who gave notice to the authorities that they Intended to defy the law, and did, with the result that the sport Is now a recognised Institution, and duly provided for under the regulations of the Local Government Act. Again," when the latter Act came Into fore, the first set of regulations wore so obnoxious, providing as they did for the much-detested skirt costume, as well as other objectionable features, that once again the bathers rose in revolt, and made their Influence felt, and these regulations were wisely amended In accordance with their suggestions. The popularity of the pastime has also led to the establishment "of life-saving clubs, the volunteer members of which vie with each other In their attempts to perfect the means of saving life, and in their efforts to Improve their swimming and endurance powers.

With a view to enabling the public to realise what valuable work is being done on the beaches of these clubs, the officers of the Royal Life-saving Society are attempting to obtain the numbers of the actual lives saved by means of the life-lines and by members of the clubs during the past three years. It Is stated that the Coogee Club has records that no less' than 500 people 'have ' been thus saved; the Bondi Bathers' Life-saving Club has also saved a very large number. At Manly the volunteer life-savers have done excellent work at both ends of the beach, and It Is Impossible to say how many people have been rescued. The attendants employed by the local council have probably, too, saved several hundreds of people. Early this year a life was lost owing to the fact that a number of Inexperienced persons rushed the rope and pulled the life-saver back before he had reached the victim. And this calamity emphasises the need for some supervision over the public when cases of accident happen. When large numbers of people are present there Is always a rush to the reels, the men who understand the work(who are always at hand) are Impeded, the lines are trampled on, and confusion exists where there is the greatest necessity for order and calm Judgment.  Again and again the volunteer life-savers as well as the employees of the council, have been interfered with in this manner, and the wonder is that accidents have not more often ended fatally.

"My first reef bath" - Newport, NSW, March 1913, image bcp_01413, Courtesy State Library of NSW

A great improvement in this direction would be made If the councils would allow the clubs to have movable hurdles or roped enclosures surrounding the reels; and notices might be posted prohibiting the public from Interfering with the reels and lines. There is an objection, on the part of some of the councils to giving the clubs any authority of any kind whatever on the beaches, and no doubt this is a matter that requires careful consideration. .'If the councils could themselves employ a number of men on the beaches to attend to this life-saving work, there would be no necessity for volunteers. But this would be too expensive. It there-fore becomes necessary for them to consider whether they will not recognise the clubs. In some way, use them to safeguard the bathers, and assist them as far as possible in their operations. For ns long as surf bathing is permitted there will be at times great danger, and If the public are allowed to continue to interfere with the volunteers there will be more accidents. The young men belonging to the clubs are doing excel-lent work for the benefit of the public, as well OB themselves, and the seaside councils will not lose anything by making use of this material and giving the clubs some recognised footing on the benches, Including special accommodation, for In safeguarding the past-time they are filling a gap that the councils cannot otherwise supply, and so long as their efforts are rightly directed they should be assisted and appreciated nt their right value-not treated as intruders, and their efforts discouraged. Volunteer fire brigades are encouraged by the councils; the life-saving clubs deserve similar encouragement.

One of the most noticeable facts at the carnivals held during last season was that almost all of the most noted swimmers-Cecil Henly, L. Solomon. Alec. Wickham, Harold Baker, Clive Smith, and others-took part In the competitions, and became enthusiastic members of the life-saving clubs. Formerly swimmers were said to look with rather Jealous eye on the new pastime, and arguments were brought forward to dissuade the champions from taking part In It. The fascination of this sport has won the day, and the flower of our swimmers now rival each other In the life-saving competitions in the surf equally as much as they do in the swimming contests in the baths. The swimmers are also commencing to recognize the value of the life-saving methods and examinations of the Royal Life-saving Society, and a number of them obtained their first certificates during last season. At several of the swimming carnivals held at the baths rescue competitions and life-saving exhibitions with line and reel were held. At the competitions held at the surf carnivals great Improvement was noticed in regard to the handling of line and reel by the competitors and in regard to the methods of the rescuers. The Idea of the first rescuer making after a victim unencumbered, the second rescuer following with the belt and line, originated at Bondi, and has now been adopted by all the clubs. There is still room for improvement, however, and several suggestions and plans in regard to elevating the reel on a platform are now being considered by the Surf-bathing Association. During the winter months, when the surf has not proved such an attraction, the young men attached to the clubs have been doing good work In other directions. - The Bondi, Coogee, and North Steyne clubs have devoted themselves to ambulance and first-aid lectures, and recently a large number of members obtained their certificates while a number of the members of the Manly Surf Club Joined the local rifle club. It is not likely that men of this stamp will abuse any concessions that may be given them on the benches.

The matter that concerns the great majority of surf-bathers chiefly Is the accommodation on the beaches. There Is yet much to be done to Improve the conditions. During the past year, in spite of the promise of for grant by the Government, there is little Improvement. The Manly council Is, however, now taking steps In this direction, and will during the next few weeks expend a sum of £700 In making improvements suggested at a conference recently held with the two local clubs. It Is to be hoped the other councils will do likewise, for the pastime Is not only a direct health restorer to the old and the young, but it Is teaching the nation to love the freedom of the outdoor life, and Is helping to build up a fine vigorous race from amongst the young people who live In the cities bordering on our shores. SURF-BATHING. (1909, September 11). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from

MANLY SURF CARNIVAL. (1910, March 22). The Star (Sydney, NSW : 1909 - 1910), p. 2 (LATEST EDITION). Retrieved from 

The above may also be the Newport Surf Club Girls:

The three Hope sisters and Vera Lewis - one of the first in the world girls life-saving team, 1910; Women in at the beginning of Newport Surf Club - Annie Brennan, Elsie Brennan, Muriel Bulfin (Newport School and Hotel), Alto Corner, Olive Corner, Doris Hope, Francis Hope and Winn Hope - to name a few!

The Varsity Camps.-One of the most interesting and healthy adjuncts to our educational system Is the University camp for the Great Public Schools. Although similar camps have become almost an Institution In connection with college life In England, it was only last year that the Idea was Introduced into New South Wales. Rural camp schools are a somewhat similar institution. Early in the year the first camp was held at Newport, and was a most enjoyable and interesting departure. The second will be held at Mona Vale, and will last from January 20 to 27 . The movement will probably extend shortly to the other States and New Zealand. The Idea is to hold a camp on military lines, but the only parade is the bathing parade in the surf early In the morning. A number of University men devote a portion of their vacation to giving the lads from the Great Public Schools a good time. The camp commandant this year will be Professor H. S. Dettman, of Auckland, and tho adjutant, Mr. L, V. Waterhouse, of St. Andrew's College. On the council are the headmasters of all the Great Public Schools, and Mr. Waterhouse Is hon. secretary. LORDS AND-THE BUDGET. (1909, December 2). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from

The annual report of the Surf bathing Association of New South Wales, to be presented to members at the fifth annual meeting on Monday night, congratulates the delegates on the success achieved and progress made in the development and safeguarding of the pastime during the past year. The number of clubs and kindred associations is now 22, on increase of five on the previous season and comprises no fewer than seven clubs outside the suburban area, namely, the Helensburg Stanwell, Kiama, Newcastle, Newport, Port Kembla, Redhead and Stockton clubs. During the season 50 surf medallions were presented to persons passing an examination on life saving methods for the surf, bringing the total number of awards to 140. The awards during the season were distributed as follows -North Bondi 22 Bondi 12 Manly 12 Stockton, 3, and North Steyne 1 North Bondi also heads the list of awards with 35, North Steyne being next with 33, and Bondi Surf Bathers next with 31.
SURF-BATHING ASSOCIATION. (1912, October 9). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 18. Retrieved from

Newport was off and racing !!:

The North Steyne Surf Carnival for Saturday next has received a record total of 452 entries. The following clubs will be represented: — Newcastle Surf. Helensburgh and Stanwell Park Life Saving. Newport Life Saving. Manly Surf, Coogee Surf, Manly Seagulls Life Saving, Freshwater Life Saving, Bronte Surf, Little Coogee Surf, Bondi Surf, Manly Life Saving, and the North Steyne Surf  Club
.  NORTH STEYNE SURF CARNIVAL. (1912, December 26).Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 6. Retrieved from

NEWPORT. Norman Cook, the captain of the Newport Surf Club, together with Smelles, another member, has just returned from an extended tour of the Continent. He has picked up some fine ideas concerning club work, and intends putting them into operation on the Newport beach. The Newport Club, unfortunately suffers from the want of local talent. Most of its good active members are fellows who visit this spot on Saturdays and holidays. The sixth annual meeting of the club was held last Saturday. The report showed a very prosperous state of affairs, and pointed to the necessity of its members devoting all their spare time to beach work. SURFING. (1913, November 14). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 5. Retrieved from

Newport’s first official surfboat was acquired in 1914. This surfboat was 20' (6 metres) long with four rowers and a sweep. These surfboats, as shown in a sligghtly later version below, had the two middle rowers sitting next to each other, all rowers had bench seats and did not slide, and all rowed with their upper body. If they wanted to get to a carnival, even one more then a few beaches away, they would row there....all the way to Bondi, or hitch a 'tow' with a passing steamer if going further north then Barrenjoey.

This determination, and the huge open expanses of the Newport Beach landscape backing up a need for surfboat prowess, established a very strong surfboat team and a passion for this sport that is still prevelent at Newport SLSC today.

Surf Life Saving boats, including the North Steyne club, Shelley Beach in Manly, taken circa 1925, Object number 00012597, courtesy The Australian National Maritime Museum 

Surf Carnivals were a means, as today, of raising much needed funds for these all volunteer organisations and spectators flocked to witness the events, so much so, that a little bit of attempted regulation came into play:

SURF GOSSiP: WEEKLY BUDGET FROM THE BEACHES, RESCUE AND RESUSCITATION COMPETITIONS TO BE RESTRICTED. At the monthly meeting of the Association on Monday night the most important matter dealt with was the President's minute, recommending a curtailment of rescue and resuscitation competitions at carnivals, in order that such functions-might be made more attractive in the eyes of the public. After a lengthy, and involved discussion, the original motion, moved by Mr. Sherwell, was adopted. His proposal was that there should be four competitions during the season, one to be confined to clubs whose headquarters are situated on beaches in the Northern District (that is to say from Newport on), one for the Southern District clubs (south of Cronulla), and two for those within the metropolitan area. One event to be decided in Sydney is' to constitute a championship  embracing all districts.. The chairman was , asked for a ruling ;as to whether a club could, in; the face of the resolution, include a rescue and resuscitation competition : in its programme, if so desired ; and Mr. Paterson pointed out that the Association was restricted now to the appointment of officials for the number of contests stipulated, and that, therefore, no other event could be sanctioned. It simply means that clubs will be obliged to confine fixtures of this description to exhibitions. . ' :The completion of the club-house in connection with the South Steyne acommodation precipitated the Council's decision as to which of the exiting clubs was to take possession of if. Delegates from the rival bodies advanced their respective claims. -The aldermen in the end agreed to hand it over to the Manly Life-saving Club on condition that it absorbed those members of the South Steyne Club -'who were efficient life-savers. It was at the same time given permission to increase its membership roll to 150 in order to enable it to do so. It is to be hoped, now that the battle is over, that the hatchet will be buried,, friendship cemented, and the best of good fellowship prevail.  SURF GOSSIP. (1914, March 22). Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930), p. 15. Retrieved from

World War I saw members of Newport SLSC join Australia's Battalions, six losing their lives in this conflict; Sydney Arnold, James edward Booth, Francis Edward Dwyer, Albert Edward Porter, William James Porter and Sidney George Porter. As the club began to recover from these tragic losses the members also demonstrated the kind of strength and dedication that marks all SLS clubs in Pittwater. In March 1922 the first Bronze Medallions were the start of many recorded achievments;

BRONZE MEDALLIONS. At an examination for the Bronze Medallion, under the auspices of the Life-saving Association of N.S.W., at Newport, seven candidates appeared and passed, viz., Gordon Robinson, Colin Robinson, George Meillon, Carl Perry, Ralph Corke, Alan Henderson and Edwin Penfold. The examiner congratulated the competitors of their handling of the line in the surf under heavy conditions. At a dinner in the evening, at Greig's Hotel, Newport. Mr. S. L. Cole presided. WITH THE SURFERS. (1922, March 31). Arrow (Sydney, NSW : 1916 - 1933), p. 9. Retrieved from

This Carnival, held at Manly, was filmed;

SENIOR ALARM REEL RACE. Newport's beltman (G. Robertson)was declared the winner from George Proudfoot (North Narrabeen). SURF CARNIVAL FILMED. (1923, April 6). Arrow (Sydney, NSW : 1916 - 1933), p. 6. Retrieved from

It Is now sixteen years since the surf clubs banded together and formed the N.S.W. Surf bathers' Association. The organisation was re-christened the N.S.W. Surf Life-saving Association, and It is now world famous. Last Tuesday the name was again changed to The Surf Life-saving Association of Australia.
NEWPORT PROGRESSING. At Newport's annual meeting on Sunday, another successful year was reported. Finances are sound with 18/19/ surplus. Newport spurred by Dee- Why's success have set their hearts on possessing, a clubhouse wherein dances can be held to augment the club funds. The president is L. S. Coir; vice-presidents, Tucker and A. Robertson: captain, Gordon Robertson; vice captain G. Melior: hon. sec. J. C. Bulfin; assistant hon. secretary, Miss M. Bulfin (Miss Bulfin is the only lady holding an official position in any surf club); hon. treasurer, A. Moss. Newport is fortunate in possessing some generous supporters who during last season subscribed sufficient funds to purchase a fine surf lifeboat.
SURFING SEASON'S PREPARATIONS. (1923, October 5).Arrow (Sydney, NSW : 1916 - 1933), p. 7. Retrieved from

Newport has been the landing and departing point for many visiting Royals. This particular peer of the realm  was Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, the seventh child and third son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, who visited Newport SLSC during the Roaring Twenties:

The Earl of Sussex spent a most enjoyable Sunday with Newport Club, who have elected him an honorary member. He is a keen surfer and may visit Newport many times during his stay in Sydney. AN EARL AT NEWPORT. Gordon Robertson and other Newport lads have expanded their chest since Sunday, when the club was honored by a visit from the Earl of Sussex, who spent the day with the lads and enjoyed every minute of it. Newport conferred honorary membership on his lordship, and can now probably claim to be the only surf life saving club to include as a member a peer of the realm. Newport will be strongly represented at North Steyne tomorrow with a march past team, and competitors in alarm reel and surf race. The club will not be represented in the Cecil Healy event. GREAT PICTURE LOST.A priceless picture was missed at Newport on Sunday, because there was no camera fiend present when the lads, assisted by an old white moke. Gordon Robertson up, and four wheels badly affected by toothache, transported the surf lifeboat from Newport to Pittwater for the regatta. Horse, rider, boat and urgers experienced many hairbreadth escapes from total destruction. On Sunday Examiner L. A. Palmer tested four members for surf bronze medallions. A. M. Staynes and R. Cathels succeeded in passing, and S. A.Dyer qualified as an hon. instructor.
THE SURFING ACTIVITIES. (1923, December 21). Arrow(Sydney, NSW : 1916 - 1933), p. 11. Retrieved from

The Earl of Sussex was not their only visitor, the Newporyts renown and passion for rowing attracted other rowers:

The New South Wales Rowing Association yesterday entertained the New Zealand rowers in a motor outing and luncheon at Newport. About 20 motor cars left Sydney at 10.30 a.m., and proceeded to Pittwater by way of the bridges.
During the afternoon the party visited the beach, and was welcomed by Mr. A. Robertson, president of {he Newport Surf Life –saving Club. Members of the club gave an exhibition of surf life saving and surf-boat work. Before returning to the city the party was entertained by Mr. O. O. S. Lane. 
NEW ZEALANDERS ENTERTAINED. (1925, March 16). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 12. Retrieved from

A few Carnival snippets:

The second annual carnival of the Palm Beach Surf Club was held at Palm Beach on New Year's Day under favourable conditions. North Narrabeen secured six wins out of the nine events decided. The final of the alarm reel provided a keenly con-tested race between Proudfoot, of North Narrabeen, and G. Oatley, of Palm Beach, the former winning by narrow margin.
Following are the results:
March Past-.-North Narrabeen, 1: Palm Beach, 2.
Rescue and Resuscitation Competition.-North Narrabeen (63 points). 1; Palm Beach (58 points), 2.
Alarm Reel Race.-North Narrabeen (beltman, G.Proudfoot). 1; Palm Beach (beltman. G. Oatlev), 1.
Surf Relay.-North Narrabeen (G. . Proudfoot, J.Lester Black, W. Grose, and S. Bethel), 1; Palm Beach,
Surf Rare.-Hunter (Palm Beach), 1; G. Henry (Manly), 2.
Surf Lifeboat Race.-Newport, 1: Freshwater, 2.
SURFING. (1924, January 3). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 12. Retrieved from

Tile Newport Surf Life Saving  Club held its fourth annual carnival yesterday on the local beach, and the weather and surf being excellent, the attendance was large, and The various events Keenly contested the surf was calm and free from currents, and there was consequently some fine swimming, particularly in the rescue event, the alarm reel race, the surf teams race, mid the open surf race.
North Narrabeen club, which has had many successes at this season s carnivals, was again prominent, and carried off the march past, the rescue event, and the alarm reel race. The performances of North Narrabcen will be watched with interest … the club is pitted against the champions of the Manly Surf Club and the clubs on the southern side of Sydney Harbour
The surf boat race was a keen contest, in which Newport, Palm Beach, Freshwater, North Narrabeen, and Collaroy took part, and
which resulted in the local club securing a well merited win
The arrangements of the carnival were in the hands of the executive officers of the Newport club-Messrs A Robertson (president), G S Meillon (hon secretary), C Robertson (assistant Hon secretary), and L T Mulhall (hon treasurer) The principal carnival officials were -Referee, Mr C D Paterson, referee’s steward, Mr L A Ellison, starter, Mr  C Whitehead, check starter, Mr R Burns. Judges (water events), Messrs R D Doyle, T Glazcbrook, and W. Owen, judges (beach events), Messrs E Sheldon, G Snell, and Z H Lcmaire.
Results -
Grand Parade and March Past North Narrabeen, 1, North Steyne, 2 Freshwater, 3 Newport, Palm Beach, Queenscliff, and Collaroy also competed
Rescue Event North Narrabeen (J Black, G Proudfoot J Cameron, W Barnett, W Grosse, and H W White), 63.44 points, 1 North Steyne (G Ryddington, R Nicholl, D Thompson, P W Ryan, G Boulton, and G Ryan), 62.6 points, 2 Collaroy (M Walters, C Proctor, A M Linns, W Palmer, W Abbott, and R Chequer) 61 points, 3 freshwater and Newport also competed
Surf Boat Race Newport (G D Banks, G Robertson, A M Stainer, C Brennan, and G S Meillon), 1, Palm Beach (A Dellitt, A Goddard, H Gonsalves, H. E. Gonsalves and H T Holt), 2, Freshwater (R Mathieson, D Mathieson, H Lassen, J Vindon, and E. Wiltshire) 3
SURF CARNIVALS. (1925, January 2). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved from

Although the various events at the sixth annual carnival of the Newport Surf Life having Club on Saturday were keenly contested, the holiday spirit was present to a more marked degree than at the carnivals
held nearer the city. There was a large crowd on the beach, and the surf was sufficiently lively to call for strong swimming and for careful handling of the surf boats Representatives of 10 clubs took part, and seven clubs participated in the parade and march past the event tomg to "North Steyne, which club is having a remarkable season
The principal event was the senior surf boat race for the Harrington Cup, presented by Mr John Harrington, a vice president of the Newport Club. A condition governing the competition for the cup Is that the event must take place on Newport Beach The cup is to remain the property of the club winning it twice m succession, or three times in all Lastj car the Newport Club won the cup, but on Saturday North Steyne wrested the trophy from the local club. The rate for the cup was rowed in two heats, in the first of which Newport and North Steyne A teamsqualified for tile final In the second heat Deewhy and North Steyne B teams secured first and second places respectively North Steyne Club having only one boat at Newport, that club's B team did not compete in the final, which was a tussle between Newport, North Steyne A, and Deewhy. The final was  a most thrilling race, and has not been equalled on any beach round Sydney for many a day Newport and North Steyne got away first, and the former led to the buoy, and rounded it half a length ahead of North Steyne A few yards after turning the two boats became level, and maintained that position until nearing the beach Then both boats c night the uime wave,and although for a moment Newport's boat was a little in the lead North Steyne shot ahead on the wave, and reached the beach a boat’s length in front of the local boat.
SURF LIFE-SAVING. (1927, January 3). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from

Mr. John Harrington, who died at his home, Baigalla, Turramurra, on Friday, at the age of 66 years, was the founder of Harrington's, Ltd., Australia and New Zealand. Born in Donaghadee County Down Ireland in 1867 Mr Harrington came to Australia m 1885. At Perth he opened a photographic store. Four years later he removed to Sydney where he entered into partnership with Captain Cargill in a photographic warehouse in Kent street Later he started the business of Harrington and Co in King-street which was afterwards registered as Harrington’s Ltd and carried on in George street. Mr Harrington was a Freemason a former president of the Northern Suburbs A and H Association and of the Newport Surf Club and a member of the Killara Golf Club.  He was also a honorary member of the Nothing Under Seventy Club He left a widow two sons and three daughters One son was killed in the Great War.
The funeral took place on Saturday at the Northern Suburbs Crematorium after a short service at the house conducted by Rev John Harrington-Vaughan (nephew) and Rev A Ogilvie
The chief mourners were Messrs. John E Harrington and Stanley Harrington (sons) Thomas Harrington and W E Harrington (brothers) G CMcOce and W B Hindmarsh (sons In law)
Amongst those who attended were -Mc3rs GD Cree (manglng director) A Magee (secretary)A V Paterson E. A Bally H Mallard J Green and A Willson (Harringtons Ltd) Sir Arthur Rickard Messrs G A Vaughan W Q Forsyth A D Carlson A D Crawford A Vaughan P E Manning S Lippman A J Paris J A Gregory W P Maschwitz R Sands G Meillon A Stayner R Stayner C Rudd (Newport Surf L S Club) W Watl In- (Nothing Under Seventy Club) E Higgins and r Conway (Northern Suburb A and H Association) G Sandes Drs E Asplnall A R Hamilton J G Edwards and 8 Rea Lieutenant Colonel C Cameron (representing the Rev R Cameron) Messrs J H Dennett J T DennettR Dennett Gilbert Gee T E Rofe P Rofe R C Alliopp F Plnel S Newlands E s Caicly E Wilcox J Skinner S Skinner D H McLachlan A L Rickard R Hamilton »A Gibbons RSainty L Sainty K Nettleton 1. Johnson GJohnson S Nettleton J Chapple, L WhalmoreK Crawford M Crawford G Heath. J Kirkwood W Kirkwood H Vaughan T Vaughan R Monteith A Shortland M Oxley R Stedman MonteLui e T A Boatwright
MR. J. HARRINGTON. (1934, August 27). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved from

Boats Disabled.
Heavy seas, the aftermath of Sunday after-noon's southerly gale, made the surf exceedingly treacherous for the surf boat races at the Newport surf carnival yesterday afternoon. A number of the competing boats were swamped, and several competitors received slight Injuries.
A deep, wide channel existed along the beach, and huge waves bumped heavily on the sandbank on the seaward side of the channel. Many of the swimmers had hard tussles against the breakers, and in the rescue event some of the beltmen experienced difficulty in reaching their "patients." The heavy sea was a fine test for the competitors, who displayed remarkable endurance.
The real thrills of the carnival were provided by the surf boat race. The event was decided in two heats and a final, and each contest was marked by exciting incidents. Crews from the Manly, Dee Why, North Steyne and North Narrabeen Clubs competed in the first heat and the four boats were buffeted by the big seas from the moment they touched the water. The North Steyne boat, In charge of H. C.  Evans, was struck by a huge wave and the captain had difficulty In retaining hold of the "sweep." Soon after leaving the beach the Dee Why boat was swamped, and one of tho crew, G. Opperman, vice-captain of the club, received a slight injury. Either the boat, or one of the oars, hit him, and he had to be brought ashore and treated by other competitors. The Manly boat, the Saw-fish, was first round the buoy, and when "shooting" towards the beach on a breaker the captain, R. Ford, was thrown out of the boat, but with some difficulty was able to get aboard again.
In the second heat, Collaroy, Newport, and Freshwater were the competitors. Freshwater got away nicely, but the Collaroy and Newport boats were soon in trouble. Both the craft became waterlogged and were brought back to the beach. The water was emptied out of the boats, which then resumed the race. The Collaroy boat was well handled by the captain, W. Forbes, and although the captain of the Newport boat, Gordon Robertson, made a great effort to got through the seas, the craft was again swamped, and had to be towed ashore with a line.
While excitement was running high, and the crews wore working at high pressure to got the boats away, a competitor gave a fine display of surf-board shooting, standing on the board, and also standing on his head on the board while It rode the breakers to the beach.
In the first heat of the alarm reel race, Newport's beltman, R. Rolfe, had a thrilling experience. The lines of the other competing teams got tangled round his body and dragged him under the water. He was brought ashore, suffering to effects of the Immersion, but soon recovered. Several other minor mishaps happened during the afternoon, but none of them was of a serious nature.
SURF THRILLS. (1928, January 3). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved from

The 1930's were also when we begin to hear more about the ladies behind this surf life saving club - always clearly present and supportive, their activities to raise funds to support the men brought out the genteel social side of this club and this era. Not without criticism to begin with:

There's a popular song that beware the fact that 'Wedding bells have broken up that Old Gang of Mine. But what have they done to the Newport Surf Club. Once it flourished. Members took an active interest in all suiting matters, carnivals were a success, crowds thronged the beach and admired the sturdy, bronze types who handled the surf-lines so well. Now it languishes. In fact, in the eyes of the N.S. Wales Surf life-Saving Association, it is defunct. The club house remains. In It there is all the gear required by the up to date club, and many evidences of PAST PROSPERITY while a surf boat rests near by. But there are no life-savers! And all because of wedding bells. The story of the club's demise came out at the meeting of the Warringah Shire Council. Since last season all the club's members decided to desert the Newport sands and single bliss, and get married. But the wedding bells may not have the last ring. An attempt is to be made to form another club. Perhaps membership nominations will be restricted to bachelors well past the age of eligibility.
WIFE-SAVERS NOW. (1931, January 3). Mirror (Perth, WA : 1921 - 1956), p. 14. Retrieved from

The members of the Collaroy Ladies' Surf Club entertained the members of the newly formed Newport Ladies' Surf Club at their clubrooms at Collaroy on January 30. The afternoon was spent in discussing the organisation of a surf club, and much valuable advice was given to the visitors. It was decided during the afternoon to hold a picnic at Narrabeen on February 27, when all those who attend will meet at Narrabeen bridge at 11 a.m. Among those present at this gathering were Mrs. Vennard (president of the Collaroy Club),Mrs. White (captain), Mrs. F. H. Booth (president of the Newport Club), Mrs. Cliff Rudd(honorary secretary), and Miss Mary Thompson (captain).
So far the members of the Newport Club, which has only been formed about a fortnight, have collected the sum of £16 towards their clubhouse. It is estimated that £100 is needed to carry out their venture. Many people have volunteered help, and among the offers is one of a roof for the new building, which it is hoped to have erected this year.
To augment the building fund an all-day tennis tournament will be held on the courts of Mrs. Stead Thompson and Mrs. S. Blundell, of Newport, on February 10. Plans are also being made to hold a dance In April.
LADIES' SURF CLUB. (1932, February 5). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from

A new surf boat, built for the Newport Surf Life-saving Club, will be launched officially at Newport Bench by Mrs Dunningham (wife of the Minister for Labour and Industry) next Sunday afternoon at 3 o'clock, when the club will open its season.
NEWPORT SURF CLUB. (1932, September 29). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 14. Retrieved from

SURF CLUB DANCE. Huge baskets of multi-coloured flowers were an additional attraction to many of the tables which were all decorated with the club colours, maroon and gold, at the tenth annual dance of the Newport Surf Life Saving Club, which was held at Hordern Brothers' last night. The official party was entertained by Mr and Mrs Robin Cale, the latter wearing a classical gown of black trimmed with gold lame. Among their guests were Mr and Mrs Percy Cran, Mr and Mrs J H Stevenson, Mr and Mrs Norman Gilbert, Mr Ronald Wilkinson, and Mr and Mrs Jack Cran. The club's treasurer and captain, Mr S Roberts, with Miss Joyce Moore, entertained a large party, which included the Misses Winifred Needham, Ena Bayliss, and Joan Harbutt. Another large party was entertained by Mr G S Gilder, the club's secretary, and Miss Paddy Francis Also present were Messrs J Stringer, Frank Stayner, Cliff Rudd, George Mellion Miss Joy Stayner, Miss Lynda Ross, Mr E Wells, Mr and Mrs T P Nossiter, Mr and Mrs N Hawley, Miss Bernice Ross, Miss Nancy Kelk, Mr E R Bromley, and Mr J Sanders. SURF CLUB DANCE. (1935, May 23). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from

The third Newport surf club building officially opened September 30th, 1933 – the height of the Depression in Australia – is the structure most will recognize in today’s Newport SLSC clubhouse

LIFE-SAVING CLUBS. Work Praised by Minister. The Minister for Labour (Mr. Dunningham), speaking at the opening of the Newport Surf Clubhouse, on Saturday, warmly praised the work of life-saving clubs, and said they should be subsidised by the State at some future date. The beaches were a great national asset, and the sport associated with them tended to develop the best type of citizen. The Postmaster-General (Mr. Parkhill) said that he had urged the remission of sales tax on life-saving gear. Expenditure on the new club building and recreation hall included £1850 contributed by the State Government, which also allocated£5000 for the draining of an adjacent swamp area.  LIFE-SAVING CLUBS. (1933, October 2, Monday). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from

NEW SURF CLUBHOUSE AT NEWPORT. Surfers at Newport this season will have the benefit of this commodious building, which has been constructed for the local club. NEW SURF CLUBHOUSE AT NEWPORT. (1933, October 4).The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 16. Retrieved from


Mr. Dunningham (Minister for Labour) praised the work of the surf clubs. Mr. A. Parkhill. M.P., was also present. THE OPENING OF THE NEWPORT SURF CLUBHOUSE. (1933, October 4). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), , p. 30. Retrieved from 

The rumblings you may discern in the 1931 article about men deciding they'll get married and surf-life-saving is 'defunct' points to a clash that was ooccurring during these years betwreen the Australian folks in charge of the Royal Life saving Society and the emerging Australian Surf Life Saving Association. This was finally settled in 1935:

The council of the Surf Life-saving Association, at its last meeting, decided to notify the Royal Life-saving Society and the Minister for Local Government that it would in future eliminate clause seven from the agreement between the two organisations, as it considers it against the Interests of both bodies for its members to be taught two methods of life saving. It was also decided that members of affiliated life-saving clubs shall in future teach and practice only the methods defined in the handbook of the Surf Life-saving Association. In support of these motions Mr. M. J. Burke, examiner in chief of the association, said that their records showed that at least 1300 cases of resuscitation by association methods had been effected without a single failure or loss of life.

The motions relating to the disagreement which has arisen between the Surf Life-saving Association of Australia and the Royal Life-saving Society were debated at great length by the Surf Association Council before Mr. M. J. Burke's motion to inform the Royal Life-saving Society that the association will eliminate the clause in their agreement permitting clubs to affiliate with both organisations, was passed.

The general tone of the speakers in favour of the motion indicated an apprehension that, the Royal Life-saving Society in England, through its different State centres and also the newly-formed Australian Federal Council, was attempting to supplant the Surf Life-saving Association, and to substitute for the methods of the latter body in rescue and resuscitation work, an English system which  the association regards as unsuitable and inefficient  for Australian conditions
There was however, a strong section of the meeting which supported the Royal Life-saving Society.
SURF LIFE-SAVING. (1935, October 3). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 16. Retrieved from

After all that was settled, the band played on...

MISS RUTH LAYTON, who is assisting members of the Newport Surf Life-Saving Club to arrange their dance lo be held at Hordern Brothers' on May 1. Others assisting are Miss Janet McMaster and Miss Elise Budge. Mr. Frank Chapman is president and Mr. S. Roberts hon. secretary. THE WEEK IN LONDON. (1936, April 23). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 22. Retrieved from

A model surf reel with the rolled cord in gold and blue, the club colours, and streamers of the same shades decorated tile official table at tile 11th annual ball of the Newport Surf Life Saving Club held at the Florentine Ball-room, Hordern Brothers, last night, to augment the club funds.
A basket of golden flowers and autumn leaves tied with blue ribbon and place cards of photos of different views of Newport were also set on the table where Mr. Robin Cale, president, and his wife entertained. Mrs. Cale chose a gown of Chinese floral silt, which she brought back with her from a recent trip to the East. It was fluted round the neckline and at the back of the full skirt to give a trained effect.
Among their guests were Dr. and Mrs. H. Hanson, her frock being of dull red crepe with slightly caped sleeves; Mr. and Mrs. P. E. Cran, the latter choosing a gown of gold lame; Mr. Norman Gilbert and Mi's. Gilbert, who draped a wide scarf of amber-toned georgette around the neck and shoulders of her magnolia stain frock; Mr. and Mrs. R. Parr, Mrs. Parr's gown of parchment lace finished with a heavily shirred neckline and a sash of cherry red velvet; and Mr. N. Capíes.
Another big party was arranged by Mr. George Glider and Miss Edna Davis, who fastened a long spray of blue flowers across the throat of her bouffant frock of pink taffeta. Silver leaves distinguished the black velvet coat covering the lake blue crepe frock worn by Mrs. N. Cornish, who was accompanied byher husband. Miss Pat Southwell Keely chose a gown of orchid blue suede crepe with long sleeves and a high cowl neck. Clips of bluestones set in diamante caught the shoulders of the blue and white floral frock worn by MissRuth Willis. Miss Margaret McManus favoured tailored black velvet with a long diamante brooch fostered Into the folds of white lace on the corsage. Miss Gwen Coleman's frock of Gloucester green ribbed crepe showeda full skirt falling from a ruching of gold lameat the knees; and Miss Kath Givney danced in a simply designed gown of black velvet. Misses Elise Bridge, Janet McMaster, and Ruth Layton, members of the ball committee, entertained a large party, and also among the dancers were Mr. S. Roberts and Miss Peggy Roberts, in lily of the valley green crepe with frilled cape sleeves; Miss Winifred Reedhom, whose old-world frock of white taffeta had horizontal bands of net inserted in the full skirt, Misses Joyce Clarke, Marion Limpus, Enid Fountain, Joan and Betty Harbutt, Joyce Beart, Molly Longford, and Mimi Minnett.
MODEL SURF REEL. (1936, May 2). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 11. Retrieved from

ON DANCE COMMITTEE. MRS. ROBIN CALE, a member of the committee arranging the twelfth annual ball for the Newport Surf Life-saving Club, to be held at Hordern Bros.' Florentine Ballroom tomorrow night. ON DANCE COMMITTEE. (1937, April 29). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 22. Retrieved from

TWO rubber surf-boards were the appropriate prizes presented to winners of a lucky number competition at Hordern Brothers' last night, when members of the Newport Surf Club herd their twelfth annual ball. The decorations were carried out in the club's colours, maroon and gold, with balloons, streamers, Jazz caps, and Dolly Varden hats, and every man present wore in his buttonhole a miniature pennant, inscribed "Newport." The official party was entertained by the president, Mr. Robin Cale, assisted by Mrs. Cale and their guests included Mr. and Mrs. Adrian Curlewis, Mr. and Mrs. John Ralston, Mr. and Mrs. Alan Henderson, Mr. and Mrs. Cram. Mr. S. J. Roberts (captain) entertained Misses Ethel Gilkes, Peggy Colbert, Dot Blackley, Nancy Benham; and among Mr. K. Campbell's guests were Misses Kath. Harwood, Florence Beehag, Joyce Moore, M. Lanzines. Others present included Mr. and Mrs.Cliff Rudd, Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Payne, Mr. and Mrs. George Meillon, Messrs. Fred Stayner, Maurice Atkinson, Roland Jeffrey, and Wallace Birrell. From Day to Day in Sydney. (1937, May 1). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 11. Retrieved from

All this dancing led to more rowing:

Members of Newport Women's Surf Club will present Newport Surf Life-Saving Club with a surf-boat, which will be launched on Sunday afternoon, and to raise funds for the purchase they held an informal dance at the clubhouse on Saturday night. Committee workers present included the president, Mrs. F. H. Booth, the honorary secretary, Mrs Cliff Rudd, and Misses Jean and Sheila Dawson, Georgette Jeffries, and Betty and Mary Hickey.
GIFT OF SURF BOAT. (1939, January 9). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from

And  the reasons for it all, the saving of lives:

SURF RESCUE. Plucky Newport Youths.
Four lightly built youths, all less than 18 years of age, took part in a plucky rescue in the surf at Newport yesterday. They are N and R Birrell. who are twins, N. Illingsworth, and N. Porter. All four are junior members of the local surf club. They were on the beach while a strong southerly wind was whipping the sea into a strong and difficult surf yesterday. Conditions were so unpleasant that few people ventured to bathe at all, when a man about 50 years of age was caught in the undertow and swept out rapidly.
His plight was observed when he was about200 yards out, and N. Birrell swam out to his assistance. Before Birrell reached him the distressed swimmer was another 50 yards out. The other three lads took out a line and belt, reaching Birrell and the man about 300yards from the shore. Almost the full length of the line was used. Rescuers and patient were brought ashore on the line. The man suffered from shock and the effects of immersion, but after resting for a while in the ambulance room at the surf club, recovered sufficiently to leave for his home.
SURF RESCUE. (1938, March 14). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved from

Newport Surf Life Saving Club Members, 1936


We would like to acknowledge the splendid book Newport Surf Life Saving Club, 1909-2009 : the first century ;  produced, designed and compiled by Guy Jennings as our main reference work for this page and thank the members of Newport SLSC for their kind gift of this tome. Future pages on Newport SLSC clubhouses, members, surf-boats and other aspects of this great club are scheduled.

A few Newport SLSC Gentlemen of this first era:

Mr Andrew Robertson, who had been residing at Newport Beach for the past few years, died on Tuesday. Born at Mudgee in 1864 Mr Robertson spent his early days on the land with his father. At the age of 25 he joined the firm of Walter A Wood, agricultural machinery manufacturers of U.S.A , at their Sydney branch in  1897 he joined the staff of the Massy Harris Company at Sydney and was appointed chief inspector. Later he was given the management of the Queensland branch of the firm. Upon the formation of the motor car business of Cluttebuck Bros. Sydney in 1910 Mr Robertson was appointed to the management. He retained that position until the termination of the company in 1923. Mr Robertson spent most of his spare time at Newport Beach where he eventually opened an estate agency and general store. He was president of the Newport Surf Club for a number of years and was also a councillor of the Warringah Shire at the time of his death. Mr Robertson is survived by Mrs Robertson and two sons Mr Gordon Robertson of  Willsford, Limited, and Mr Colin Robertson, solicitor. MR. A. ROBERTSON
. (1931, September 25). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 13. Retrieved from

The death occurred suddenly on Friday of Mr. Percy F. Horley, partner In the firm" of Horley and Horley, chartered accountants. He was in partnership with his brother. Mr Cobred F Horley, for 26 years. Mr. Horley was president of the Association of Accountants of Australia. Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia. Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries, Secretary of the Master Cabinetmakers ol N.S.W.. and was a member of the Conciliation Committee of the Industrial Court. Mr. Horley was also a member A the New South Wales Club. Tattersalls  Club, the Automobile Club, and the Newport Surf Club. MR. PERCY F. HORLEY.
(1938, November 8). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 16. Retrieved from

Mr. Louis Patrick Kearney, a well known timber and gravel merchant, died recently. Mr. Kearney was a son of the late Mr. T. J. Kearney, for many years a well-known solicitor of Armidale, and a brother of the late Mr. S. T. Kearney, formerly M.L.A.for Armidale; Mr. Cyril Basil Kearney, a member of the firm of Messrs. Taylor and Kearney, solicitors, of Sydney; Mr.  F. D. Kearney, timber merchant, of Challis House, Mrs. W. S. Gardner, of Newcastle, and Mrs. Geo. McKerrow, of Fairfield. He has left a widow and one son. The late Mr. Kearney was a large importer of Oregon, and was largely interested in the timber and gravel industries in New South Wales. He was director of the Teralba Gravel Quarries, Ltd., and proprietor of the Sodwalls and Uralla Gravel Companies. He had, besides, timber and gravel interests in Queensland.
The funeral took place at the Northern Suburbs Cemetery, Father Wall officiating at the graveside. A short service at his late residence at Naremburn was conducted by Father Rohan prior to the funeral. Among those present at the funeral were Mrs. Josephine Kearney (widow), Mr. Neville Kearney (son), Messrs. C. B. and F. D. Kearney (brothers), Mrs. Gardner and Mrs. McKerrow (sisters), Mr. W. S. Gardner (brother-in-law), Messrs. Cecil, Charles, and Frank Kearney, and Frank Gardner (nephews), Kitty Kearney (niece), Mr. W.A. Peek (cousin), Messrs. Allen C. Lewis and R.Wilson (Concrete Constructions, Ltd.), F. C.Cook (Nicolai Door Manufacturing Co.), Alder-man H. W. Clarke (Mayor of Willoughby), J.H. Tonkin (engineer, Mosman Council), R. Aitken (engineer, Willoughby Council), E. J. Siddeley (Teralba Granite Co.), J. W. Rain-ford (National Bank of Australasia), A. Robertson, J. Gould (Lands Department), C. H. Murphy, M.L.A., Gordon Robertson (Newport Surf Club), C. P. Gent, J. D. Flexman, A. L. Melrose, R. C. Watt, Harry Wright (Sodwalls Gravel Co.), S. Whitehurst, R. C. Watt, J. M. Taylor (Taylor and Kearney), J. T. Ryan, P.D. Walsh, J. G. Taylor (City Mutual Life As-surance Co.), W. E. Tucker, H. Mac Dermott, J. Radford, A. A. Ward, J. T. McCarthy, C. Lloyd, Gordon Morgan, S. F. Marsh, J. J. Barnes (A.A. Burns, Ltd.). E. J. Lay, F. A. Merchant, Percy Sawkins, R. Hutchinson, J. O'Brien, W.H. Kells, C. F. Massey, J. Russell, J. Russell(jun.), H. Y. Banderson (Technical College),F. O. Turner, R. J. Sands, G. D. Banks, P.McCormick, J. D. Scott, and J. W. Wilson, Mrs. Watt, Mrs. Davoren, Mrs. Scott, Mrs. Wilson, and Miss Watt. MR. L. P. KEARNEY.
(1925, March 25). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 11. Retrieved from

The resignation of Mr. C. D. Paterson is announced, and will take effect from the end of the current month, from which date he has been granted extended leave of absence on account of over 20 years in the State service. Mr Paterson joined the Railway Department in September, 1892, and after serving 13 years there, was transferred to the Intelligence Department, on the establishment of that office as a Tourist Officer, which position he created in the railway service some months before. .He has continued in that position for over seven years, and much of the success of the Tourist Bureau is undoubtedly due to the enthusiasm which he put into the work, and the extensive experiencene he was able to bring to bear in all matters connected with the travelling public. Notwithstanding the calls upon his time in connection with the organisation and maintenance on progressive lines as such an office as the Tourist Bureau, Mr. Paterson has taken an active interest in municipal affairs, and general public movements. As an alderman of Manly, he has devoted considerable attention to the beautifying of that popular resort, and to the extension of public facilities. The establishment of the Manly Watson's Bay ferry Service and motor service between Narrabeen and Newport were owing greatly to the energy which he put into the movements, and he is organiser and originator of the Manly Venetian Carnival, to eventuate early next year. As a member of the Surf Bathing Commission, who recently reported to the Government, he did good work, and a grant of £7000 has been made by the Minister for Works towards the construction of new surf dressing pavilions at Manly. Mr Paterson is president of the Surf Bathing Association of New South Wales, and the North Steyne Life-Saving Club, as well as being connected with many other associations, committees and clubs. MR. C. D. PATERSON,.
(1912, November 24). Sunday Times(Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930), p. 24. Retrieved from

This photographic postcard is titled ‘The Lifesavers, Manly’, and is likely referring to the Sly brothers. The Sly brothers were fishermen from Fairy Bower, who, in 1903, received funding from Manly Council to build a modified whaleboat to patrol Manly and nearby beaches. The image used for this postcard was taken by William Hall photographic studio, Sydney. The photo was taken in 1907/8. Object number: 00001991, courtesy the Australian National Maritime Museum’s William J Hall collection.


When Governor Phillip first set out in search of good farming land, close to the settlement at Sydney Cove, he found some on the coast a few miles north of Manly, where he also discovered ' the finest piece of water I ever saw,' which he named after William Pitt the younger, the British Prime Minister at that time. It took the Governor and his party three days to complete their excursion to Pittwater. They had to wade through the swamps and marshes of 'Curl Curl, Dewhy, and Narrabeen lagoons. The same journey can now be performed in little over an hour. The swamps and marshes have been drained, the lagoons bridged, and there is an excellent road from Manly to Newport. It is very popular with cyclists from the city and suburbs. Narrabeen and Rock Lily are favourite picnic grounds on holidays, and were more facilities for transit available, there is no doubt that the bulk of the vast crowds that visit Manly on Saturdays and public holidays would extend their journey outwards to enjoy the magnificent scenery of sea and land, for which the drive to Pittwater is justly celebrated. The people of Pittwater and Narrabeen are agitating for a light railway or tramway from Manly to Newport. Such a. means of communication would open up a splendid district, and afford excursionists the healthiest and most attractive outlet perhaps in the whole world. The Hawkesbury has been called by Trollope and other travellers the Rhine of Australia. Pittwater at its mouth deserves to be designated the garden of the beautiful river. That part of Pittwater between Newport and Barrenjoey is a true peninsula, Atone time, and not very long ago apparently, it must have been an island. A few feet depression in the neck at the foot of Mount Loftus would make it one now. The road from Newport to Barrenjoey is neglected. For two miles it is a series of hills and hollows, cut, rutted, and washed away in divers places. The cyclists generally avoid it, and so would the horse if he could help himself. It is dangerous and laborious to vehicular traffic, and is a drawback to settlement in that part of the district. Now that Barrenjoey is to be fortified, there is some talk of nutting down or tunnelling the hills, and filling in the hollows. As it is the only road by which an invading army could reach Sydney from Broken Bay, their progress could be stemmed in the cuttings there by a few hundred men, as effectually as the 300 Spartans blocked the Persian hosts at the Pass of Thermopylae. But apart from the military use that may be made of the road, it is a work of necessity on the part of the Government to make its hilly ways level in the interests of those who have taken up land there. Settlement has been delayed there by the difficulty of road access, it is said. The owners of land about there have been taking things too easy. They neither approached the Government nor their representative on the matter. Mr. Dugald Thomson, the member for the district, would, I am sure, have done something for them had their requirements been brought under his notice. It may not yet be too late to do so. There are still, unfortunately, unemployed. If the Government is to provide work for them, what work is more urgent than this road? It is a national work that must be done some day. It is a work that will facilitate settlement on the land beyond Newport. It is a work that will be of more lasting benefit than sand-shifting or Bogan scrubbing. It is a work in which the tourist and the excursionist in quest of the grand and beautiful are interested. The landmarks on the road from Newport to Careel Bay are Farrell's farm, west of Bilgola Beach, and Dalley's Villa, situated on the ocean beach, in the valley of calms and ferns.
There the deceased Privy Councillor often retired to enjoy ' rapture on the lonely shore,' and the music of the boundless Pacific. The 'old homestead' near the head of Careel Bay, where the pioneer settler and patriarch of Pittwater, Mr. John Collins lived, is a place of interest. He was monarch of all he surveyed there for upwards of a generation, until the estate was sold in 1880. It consisted of two grants to Father Therry in 1833 and 1837, made to the good and holy Archpriest probably as compensation for the injustice inflicted upon him, and the bitter persecution of which he was the victim some years before then. By his will Father Therry left the; estate to the Jesuits, who sold it, as I have said, in 1880. The western shore of Pittwater harbour is all taken up, and dotted with pretty homesteads and a few cyclist 'boxes.' There is a good road skirting the shore as far as Church Point or M'Gar's Creek
, which gives it an advantage over the eastern side of the harbour. Mr. J. Roche's orchard at Bay View is a place of beauty and of profit to the enterprising owner. His poultry-yard is an exhibition in itself, where the rarest varieties of fowls may be seen, all in first-class condition. Over this pen and that and the other is the Agricultural Society's first-class award, given at different exhibitions. A visitor's judgment is that if he had sent his. whole stock to the Exhibition he might defy all competition. The Bay View Post-office, with a telephone, is attached to a store in front of his grounds. The various industries that Mr. and Mrs. Roche successfully conduct are worthy of praise and admiration. There is also a post and telegraph office at Newport, so that in the matter of postage, telegraphic, and telephonic communication Pittwater is up to date. Religion and education are amply provided for at Pittwater. Most of the denominations have places of Divine worship there. There are two Catholic churches, one at Josephton, Careel Bay, and the other at Mona Vale, which are served by the Rev. Father Dowling, or one of the priests attached to St. Patrick's College, Manly. There is a Public school at Bay View, and one also at Newport. A SKETCH OF PITTWATER. (1898, May 7). Freeman's Journal(Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1932), p. 20. Retrieved from

Scenes of Newport, 1900-1927, Sydney & Ashfield : Broadhurst Post Card Publishers, Image 823335, courtesy State Library of NSW.

The Special Licensing Court appointed to deal with the question of reduction in hotel and wine licences in the electorates of the metropolitan area sat at Darlinghurst this morning. Judge Backhouse presiding. Regarding the electorate of Marrickville, evidence was called to show that since the Court first sat the Terminus Hotel had been transferred from Carl Frohne to Louisa Webber. There had been no change, however, in regard to colonial wine licences or clubs. In Petersham there had been three changes since the Court first sat, but only one since the actual work of the Court began, viz., the Oxford Hotel in New Canterbury-road, which had been transferred from F. W. Rudd to Margaret Boden. There had been no change in regard to wine licences or clubs. The Court continued hearing detailed evidence from licensees of hotels in the Manly district regarding their takings, and the amount of bar and residential trade done by each. A mass of evidence was heard with regard to the growing importance of Manly, and the other seaside resorts in the Middle Harb6r electorate. William George Todd, manager of the Sydney Ferries, Limited, stated that last year his company had carried 52,000 persons to Clifton Gardens, and chartered steamers had carried an extra 36,000. The popularity of Clifton Gardens was growing to such an extent that these figures were likely to be: doubled this year. For this reason the Hotel at Clifton Gardens was necessary. Mr. Lamb addressed the Court at length on behalf of the Ivanhoe and other hotels. He said the Court would find itself in a difficulty with regard to Manly. There werel3 hotels in the electorate of Middle Harbor, and the Court had power to reduce that number to 10, and it was bound to cancel the licenses of at least two hotels. His Honor: If it will shorten these proceedings we can tell you now that, in view of the evidence given by, the police, we do not intend to reduce the number to 10. We are bound by the Act to take away two licenses, and we will only takeaway that number. Mr. Lamb argued that any reduction that would be made must apply to Manly itself. It was impossible to consider the question of local wants in regard to the other hotels in the electorate, which really existed for the convenience of thousands of visitors. There was such an enormous demand for residence in the matter of the hotels at such places as Newport, Narrabeen, Clifton. Gardens, and. soon, that it would be a serious matter for the public if any of these hotels were to go. He indicated two licences at Manly which might be cancelled without doing -a great deal of harm. Mr. Ralston said that if at least one hotel in Manly bad to go, it should be one of the smaller hotels on the left-hand side of the Corso, which was least used by surf-bathers and others who passed them after leaving the Manly steamers. An hotel at Rocklily also could go without causing a large amount of discomfort to the public. He was of opinion, however, that, as far as Clifton Gardens were concerned, there were no requirements for a licence. The Court must consider that thousands of persons went to Clifton Gardens on-Sundays who were not legally entitled to get a drink.
His Honor; The same thing applies to Manly.
Mr. Ralston: Possibly, but there are a large number of people In Manly, rich and poor, who get in bottled supplies. There is no requirement of that kind at Clifton gardens
. LOCAL OPTION COURTS. (1908, March 5). Evening News(Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 5. Retrieved from

Immediate Response.
At the monthly meeting of the committee of the Surf Life-saving Association, which was held last night, formal approval was given to the first appeal which the association has ever made for financial support by the public. Already more than £160 has been subscribed, and the appeal is expected, because of the valuable work of the association, to receive generous support.  Subscriptions to the fund may be made either to the "Sydney Morning Herald" or to the honorary treasurer of the Surf Life-saving Association, Phillip House, Phillip Street, Sydney. Subscriptions will be acknowledged In the "Herald." The fund was opened yesterday by a donation of £100 from Messrs. John Fairfax and Sons Pty., Ltd., proprietors of the "Herald."
Every day bathers on every beach are protected by the surveillance of llfe-savers patrols. During the last 30 years, the lifesavers on the beaches have saved 36,000 lives. In other words, 20 bathers a week might have lost their lives If it had not been for the supervision and the help of the life-savers.
During recent years no Press photographs from Australia, and no Australian cinematograph films shown in England have impressed the British public more than those showing the magnificent physique of Sydney's lifesavers. For several years photographs from the "Herald" of these life-savers in processions,were a strong attraction In the windows of Aus-tralia House in London, and during his re-cent visit to Sydney for the celebrations, Britain's Lord Privy Spal, Earl de la Warr, stated that his hope was that whatever else was included in the "March to Nationhood" Regeant procession on Anniversary Day, (here would be a contingent of Sydney's magnificent life-savers.
He was not disappointed. A number of these men marched in the procession through three miles of city streets. Later, Lord dela Warr, had opportunities to see the lifesavers on several Sydney beaches, and he spoke very highly of their physique and of their work.

At present, the Surf Life-saving Association receives a subsidy of only £500 a year from the State Government. it did not receive any Government subsidy until 16 years ago, when a grant of £200 a year was first, made-.This was increased to £300 In 1928, but for the depression years, 1931-33, the association voluntarily agreed to a reduction of the grant to £100 a year.
Apart from the small Government subsidy the only other Government help which has been given to life-saving clubs has been loans of money at 3 per cent for the erection of club houses. The interest on this money has been raised by dances and carnivals arranged by individual club.-.

Thirty years ago, when the Surf Life-saving Association was formed, surf bathing was a novelty; today it is a daily habit of thousands of people, not only on Sydney beaches, but also at other places on the coast, such as Newcastle, Stockton, and Wollongong.

Subscriptions received after the fund was opened yesterday were:
Messrs. John Fairfax and Sons Pty., Ltd.£100 0 0
Mr. Warwick Fairfax . 25 0 0
Miss Dorothea Mackellar _ 10 10 0
J.F.G. 7 7 0
Mrs. Ethel S. Curlewis . 6 5 0
Mr. H. Gratton Guinness _ 5* J5. 0
Mr. R. C. Clarke . 2 2 0
Mr. F. A. Thorpe ....->.'.' 212-0
'Mrs. S. Kirkland . 1.1 0
Mr. Rex Chambers . 1 1 0
Mr. Gordon Wallace . 1 1 0
Mr. W. .J. V. Windeyer . 1 1 0
Mr. L. H. Bell .'...' 1 1 .0
Mr. F. Beardmore . 1 1 0
Mr. A. C. Leslie . 1 1 0
Mr. A. G. Hill .'...'....* ' 1 1 0
Total .£ 165 19 0
LIFE-SAVING. (1938, March 2). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 16. Retrieved from

AIF. LIFE-SAVING CLUBS. Equipment Needed.
An effort is being made by surf life-saving clubs in New South Wales to send a number of Australian life saving reels to Palestine for the use of the surf life-saving clubs which have been formed by members of the AIF A letter sent by Sergeant R Johnson A M C AIF to the general secretary of the surf Life saving Association of Australia Mr. G Millar reports that among the leading Australian surfers who have joined the soldiers life saving club in Palestine are P Smith Winton Heal. D McErlane D Wauchope R Davis R W G ( Chips ) Henderson R Carter R Sutton and P Kenny. A.I.F. LIFE-SAVING CLUBS. (1940, April 20). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 19. Retrieved from

SAPPERS NEARLY DROWNED One Admitted To Hospital SYDNEY. Wednesday. SEVERAL A.I.F. sappers narrowly escaped drowning at Maroubra Beach today when they were caught in the undertow and carried out to sea. One was admitted to hospital suffering from immersion. The men had marched to Maroubra this morning, and during the lunch-time spell several decided on a swim. Sapper Birrell, of the Newport Surf Club, had taken a wave when he noticed that Sapper McMahon was being taken out by the undertow. He brought him ashore after a 15 minutes struggle. Soon several others were in difficulties, but they were rescued after a hard struggle. SAPPERS NEARLY DROWNED. (1940, August 29). Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from

A sapper, also called pioneer or combat engineer, is a combatant or soldier who performs a variety of military engineering duties such as bridge-building, laying or clearing minefields, demolitions, field defenses and general construction, as well as road and airfield construction and repair. They are also trained to serve as infantry personnel in defensive and offensive operations. A sapper's duties are devoted to tasks involving facilitating movement of allied forces and impeding those of enemies. A sapper, in the sense first used by the Assyrian Army in the early 7th Century BC[citation needed], was one who excavated trenches under defensive fire to advance a besieging army's position in relation to the works of an attacked fortification, which was referred to as sapping the enemy fortifications.
Saps were excavated by brigades of trained sappers or instructed troops. When an army was defending a fortress with cannon, they had an obvious height and therefore range advantage over the attacker's guns. The attacking army's artillery had to be brought forward, under fire, so as to facilitate effective counter-battery fire. This was achieved by digging what the French termed a sappe (derived from the archaic French word for spade). Sapper. (2013, July 30). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Mr William Henry the founder of the Royal Life saving Society and present chief secretary who is on a tour of Australasia in the Interests of that body arrived in Sydney yesterday. Hewas extended a formal welcome by the local branch of the society the New South Wales Amateur Swimming Association and the Surf bathing Association at the Sports Club at noon. Sir Francis B Suttor president of the Sydney branch of the Royal Life Saving Society occupied the chair and there was a large attendance of members of the various bodies
The chairman In proposing the health of the guest said he would be made welcome not only by the members of the associations represented there that day but by all who knew of the great work accomplished by the Royal Life saving Society-which was practically everyone. Added to that he would get the double welcome of thousands of sportsmen who realised what eminently good service Mr. Henry had rendered sport Australian swimmers were under a particularly  heavt debt of gratitude to him by reason of the great kindness and hospitality he had extended to the representatives they had from time to time sent to England
(Cheers )

The toast was supported by Colonel Roth Mr Jas Taylor chairman of the Now South Wales Amateur Swimming Association Mr J Lord chairman of the New South 'Wales Surf bathing Association and Messrs Cecil Healy and ‘Snowy’ Baker

Mr Henry in responding referred to the freemasonry of sport and said that it he had done anything for their swimmers in London that pleased them he was only too delighted to know it. It was gratifying to look upon the progress the Royal Life Saving Society had made. From small beginnings In 1891 a huge body had grown up with branches In every country where English was spoken and in many others as well. Just before he left London he had been notified that a branch had been formed among the Parsees in India. It was a notable thing that a man wearing the badge of the society was now made genuinely welcome –wherever he went on the Continent. Reverting to the sportsmen Australia had sent to England he said this country hid ever been willing to send its best and the men who had gone home had invariably been such as tended by their personality as well ns their prowess to uplift the particular branch of sport they were connected with (Cheers)

AN Interview.
In an Interview with a Herald reporter Mr. Henry explained that he was a Londoner and was now 51 years of age. The Royal Life saving Society was formed at his instigation in 1891 and after a hard j car s worl they were able to i oint to tho fact that 86 candidates had passed the prescribed examinations in life saving. That number had steadily grown till last year the reports showed that no less than 10495 candidates had passed.

Mr Henry confesses to having won 600 prizes in the water and at various times has held a number of swimming and diving championships. He has held both the salt water and long distance championships of England and he won the Olympic life saving trophy at the Olympic games carnival in Paris in 1900. He was one of the pioneers of water polo in captained the first English team to defeat Scotland The last 20 years of Mr Henry’ s life have been devoted to life saving and the teaching of swimming to the young. He has furthered the sport of swimming in Canada Sweden Finland Germany Austria France and Italy. He is a member of the British Olympic Council and was director of the stadium at the great Oljmpic Games and Sports at Shepherd s Bush london in 1903 LIFE-SAVING PIONEER. (1910, October 21). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from

Newport Surf Life Saving Club to 1939 - Part I threads collected by A J Guesdon, 2013.