Re­union marks surf club’s 60th

The Weekend Post - - News -

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 ad­min@el­lis­beach­ by Oc­to­ber 27.

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