Reunion marks surf club’s 60th
ELLIS Beach Surf Life Saving Club is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year with a reunion for past and present members in November.
Club historian Carol Libke says Australia’s first surf life saving clubs were established in Sydney in 1907 and Queensland followed suit soon after.
“The history of Ellis Beach SLSC had its roots at Yorkeys Knob Beach,” Carol says.
“During the 1950s, beach activities had been the major summertime family entertainment and, due to its proximity to town, Yorkeys Knob was favoured, with the only other patrolled beach in the region being Palm Beach, now known as Palm Cove.” The first patrol at Ellis Beach was on September 9, 1957 with shade provided by a modest lean-to of four poles and a palm frond roof in front of the Ellis Beach kiosk.
“The name Pacific Surf Lifesaving Club was the first suggested,” Carol says.
“However, this was voted down and the name Ellis Beach SLSC was accepted.
“Money was tight. Lifesavers were forced to share patrol caps until the material for new ones was donated,” Carol says.
“Nevertheless, members were happy to travel to compete in carnivals at Etty Bay, Picnic Bay and Forrest Beach, where they slept on the sand the night before a carnival.”
In November 1957, the club organised the Miss Ellis Beach Girl Contest to raise money for equipment.
“More than 5000 locals turned out to see the winner, 18-year-old Atherton girl Elaine Kidd, being carried shoulder-high on the surf reel past a banner bearing the slogan ‘Have Fun in the Sun’.
“And so, the origins of Fun in the Sun, the Coral Sea Festival and later Cairns Festival, was born at Ellis Beach.
“Next on the agenda was a proper clubhouse. The initial request was for land next to the kiosk,” Carol says.
Ellis Beach was under the control of Douglas Shire Council, which eventually agreed to lease the land.
The first permanent clubhouse was finished in 1972.
While not a big club, Ellis Beach continues to punch above its weight at surf lifesaving events. This year it was named Queensland Club of the Year.
It is also planning new clubrooms on the beach side of the highway.
The club’s 60th reunion and celebration for winning Queensland Club of the Year is at 6pm, November 11. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by October 27.