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1970 – 1979

In 1970 the club was given a great honour when it was appointed to stage a Royal Surf Carnival on the occasion of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip’s visit to Coffs Harbour in the Royal Yacht Britannia.


After the dramatic scenes when HM Yacht Britannia dropped anchor inside the southern breakwater, and the Royal Party was ferried to the jetty landing, our Queen’s Carnival quickly assumed the spotlight as the set piece of the royal visit to Coffs Harbour.

A vast amount of work was done by the Club, State Centre, and the Shire Council, and although the competition season had finished one month previously, a very strong field of Australia’s top surfers and boat crews was assembled for this all important carnival.

Amongst our club’s proud possessions is an autographed portrait of the Royal Couple presented to us by the Queen in appreciation, and to mark this memorable occasion.

First Craft Canival. In 1974 it was decided to hold a competition weekend entirely for surf life saving craft. State Centre gave the green light to the proposal and the response from many clubs in NSW, Queensland and Victoria exceeded expectations.

A feature of these carnivals was that in the early days they were run by Queensland officials, of whom Jack McMasters, Harry Weimer and Don Birsdall were prominent. 2013 was the 40th anniversary of this very popular event.

Also in 1974 Peter Kennedy was appointed Club Ski Captain and Coach and when the club purchased its first skis, champion paddler Murray Braund was engaged to conduct a weekend coaching clinic. Garry Bourne, Steve Spencer, Graham Snowden, Tony Lulham and Phil Hartmann were our first ski competitors. Garry and Graham won NSW Country Titles in their first season and Tony won NSW Country Championship medals and a State silver medal during the 1976-77 season.

Mike Mills-Thom was a top competitor as a cadet and junior. His main achievements were a silver medal at the State Titles in 1978-79 and a gold medal at the 1980-81 State Titles.

As a cadet in 1978-79 John Olive won a silver medal at the Sate Titles and a gold at the Australian Championships on the single ski.

The first stage of the present clubhouse was completed during the 1976-77 season.

Dick Pickering and Ken Holgate reporting on the new clubhouse said . . . This was a larger project than we at first envisaged. There were major problems associated with obtaining the site from the Lands Department, which was eventually secured with the help of Mr Matt Singleton MP.

During the struggles to obtain the site, plans were drawn up by the club architect Mr Trevor Reddacliffe, and it was the 5th set of plans that were eventually accepted by the Shire Council, and then with modification to the direction of the boat ramp.

Building commenced with Noel Amos managing the job and an approach was made to the bank to finance the project to first floor height. Material was begged, borrowed and obtained by other means. The first floor level was reached, formed up and steel placed. Mr Fred Farlow and his team placed the concrete. Fred donated his teams time for the job.

Mr Wendel Blake supplied the bricks at no cost and the second stage went up. This called for some financial help. Mr Rex Sare, one of our boaties built a spec home for the Rotary Club and from the proceeds of this venture, $6000 was raised. Other community organisations including Lions, Quota, Apex also supported the project. This support enabled the club to clear the debt on the first stage. Enabling the club to negotiate a loan to finance stage 2 and after some problems the building was completed and we had today’s magnificent clubhouse.

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