Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Tribute to Surf Club Will Make Dick's Ghost Smile

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Tribute to Surf Club Will Make Dick's Ghost Smile

Article excerpt

FOR the past five years Coolum journalist Peter Gardiner has been haunted by an amazing cavalcade of past lives and an enduring spirit.

In September 2007 Peter, who has been an active member of Coolum SLSC since 1996 and patrol captain for 12 years, alost his minda and on the fourth request from then president Dave Cush, agreed to unravel the mystery of the surf club's past.

The elusive club history that he was tasked to write a optimistically in two years a had been attempted by at least three people before with no finished product to show for many hours of frustrating research.

aApart from an amazing collection of photographs, the club's surviving records such as minutes and annual reports fitted into small cardboard box,a said Peter before the September 8 official book launch of Breathing Life Into Coolum Beach a The Chronicles of the Coolum Beach Surf Life Saving Club.

aAt best we had the bare bones a some Nambour Chronicle clippings and the memoirs and incredible memory of life member Keith Peterie, who was born in Coolum in 1932.

aKeith was involved in two of the three defining moments which shaped the core character of Coolum Beach Surf Life Saving Club.a

As a youngster Keith took part in the grim rescue efforts of the 1948 triple drowning and later helped stop the club from folding when it was reduced to two active members. Keith also helped preserve the memory of the other pivotal event a when Jack Morgan formed the club in 1919.

Local historians John and Frances Windolf had discovered that Royal Surf Life Saving Society stalwart Frank Venning asked Jack to ado something about lifesaving on the beacha and that he had first patrolled the beach over the Christmas holidays for eight shillings a day in 1918.

aThere's an amazing photo in the members' common room today of the rustic old patrol shed Jack first used. It has a couple of tents pitched beside it, which was part of the accommodation of the day. Locals also used to invite the lifesavers to tea.

aKeith has memories of the early lifesavers cooking outside the shed in the rain with an umbrella to keep the meat dry and he reckons Jack first used an old coiled rope cobbled together with whatever he could find for the belt.a

Peter said Jack was the captain of Coolum Swimming club, which sprang from the local creek where the mail boats pulled in and was on hand on Easter 1919 when a large group of Royal Lifesavers led by J.J. Betts presented the club with a proper lifesaving reel.

It quickly became apparent from Peter's earliest trips to the Nambour Heritage Library and the amininga of the Royal Life Saving Queensland's annual reports of way back then, that lifesaving was crucial in helping getting a shaky tourism industry off the ground in Coolum.

aIt was common theme right throughout the stop-start development of this little out-of-the-way coastal setting. …

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