Celebrating 82 years of surf life saving tradition
Shortly before Broadbeach SLSC was formed, the government cleared and sub-divided an area of land at Broadbeach having about 1km of frontage to the main road, and extending towards the beach. Five houses were built on the estate when the club was formed. They were owned by Mr Harry Bruce, MLA, Mr Mossy Hines, MLA, Mr P Pease, MLA, Mr Bill Crowe, and Mr Woodhead.
Harry Bruce was instrumental in the formation of the Club in August 1935, which was seen as a means of promoting the sale of the land. He became the club’s first patron, while Mossy Hines was elected a Vice-President of the Club. Bill Crowe, a Brisbane tent maker and hotelier, was the club’s first President.
The Club’s foundation members included Jock Stevenson (Captain), Jack Neville (Secretary), Claude Askew (Treasurer), Dave Ross (Senior Vice-President), Harry Milner, Jim Ansell, Tom Herron, and George Dowsett.
The first “clubhouse” was a tent pitched in the sand dunes. However, it was not long before the Club was granted a lease of land on the corner of Armrick Avenue and the Esplanade, as it was then known, on which was built a small corrugated iron shed (20’ x 10’), having an external annex for meals in time for the 1936-37 season.
A new, two storey, clubhouse was built by Charlie Walsh in 1938, prompting an upsurge in membership, including many new members from Valleys Rugby League Club and Valleys Hockey Club.
Unfortunately further growth of the Club was stymied by the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, and the loss of members who enlisted in the armed forces, including Mick Claybourn, Bob Davis, Dick Dolan, Jack Foggitt, Andy Greaves, Bob Higgins, Frank Lake, Roy Mitchell, Alan Morrison, Ray Murray, Roland Sherlock, Doug Siggs, Tom Waldron, Les Watson and Eric Wilson. Fortunately their places were taken by men employed in Essential Services, including many employees of Evans Deakin, led by Lester Ramsay. (A trophy in memory of Lester Ramsay is presented each season to the Club’s Most Proficient Senior Lifesaver.)
The fifties saw a resurgence in club membership, with many members of Souths Rugby League Club joining Broadbeach, including Test second rower Tom Tyquin, BRL premiership winning players Evan Collins and Norm Mundt, as well as Des Richards, Bob Kennealy, Ray Selman, Des Hendry and Bill Janouris, to name but a few.
In 1966 the Club moved into the current clubhouse, which has undergone several major renovations since then, including the addition of a bunkroom and other amenities for female members following the decision by SLSA in July 1980 to allow females to be admitted as active members.
The Club is family-oriented with an active membership built around families, many of whom joined when their children were “nippers”. Unlike other clubs on the south coast, Broadbeach remains a traditional surf club, with male and female sleeping quarters, and a growing junior (“nipper”) club.