FOUNDATIONS OF THE CLUB
On the evening of Saturday 26, November 1921, thirteen ‘residents and friends’ of Palm Beach many who would go on to become legends of our club held the foundation meeting of the Palm Beach Surf Life Saving Club. The meeting adopted the objects, laws and by-laws of the Surf Life Saving Association of New South Wales which would go on to become the SLSA of Australia. Our first officer-bearers and committee are owed a huge debt for their foresight and diligence in establishing our club.
The meeting had been called as a result of tragedy. On January 25, 1920 a number of families had been enjoying a pleasant afternoon. Miss Johanna Rogers entered the surf just north of ‘Black Rock’, and shortly after entering became caught in a rip and was quickly carried out to sea. Also present on the beach was ex-serviceman D.G. ‘Douglas’ Marks. Marks had served in Gallipoli and France and in 1918, at the age of 22 had become the youngest Lieutenant-Colonel in the British and Dominion armies. Marks grabbed a rope rescue line from a post on the beach and dived fully-clothed into the surf. As a result, his progress was impeded, and he never managed to reach Rogers before she disappeared from view. The rescue line broke and Marks too was unable to counter the strength of the current and tragically also drowned. This event rocked the Palm Beach community. So along with the appointment of paid lifesavers and following the formation of the club with the view of improving beach safety and awareness.
The first season, like many since was a hectic one. Members not only had to become proficient in lifesaving techniques, they also had to source equipment to patrol the beach and establish a clubhouse. On 8 January, 1922 all 17 members who had been trained by Austin Delitt for their Bronze Medallion examination were passed by members of SLSA’s Board of Examiners. A further six would pass in February, 1922. As continues to be the case today, developments in the lifesaving techniques saw the introduction of better equipment, which in these early years was no more evident than through the use of the surfboat. Through the support of Thomas Peters, Council, members and residents the first order was placed on 15 February 1922. The first clubhouse, built by members was built on land owned by the Barrenjoey Land Company. It was no more than a wooden shed used for storage and a place for members to change.
Those members answered a call to provide the safest possible environment at Palm Beach, and that call continues to be answered today by the patrolling members of PBSLSC.
The Club badge was designed to capture the motif of the Cabbage Tree Palm on a circular backdrop. The Club colours of Green and Black we chosen to honour the colours of the unit of the Great War Veteran J.F. Grant – First Battalion, First Australian Imperial Force.