History of Garie Beach & Garie Surf Life Saving Club



On Sunday 18th December 1938 the inaugural meeting of Garie Surf Life Saving Club was held at the Garie Beach Kiosk, Garie Beach. Mr A. A. Joel, The National Park Trust Publicity Director, opened the meeting and stated that the Trust would fully support an efficient and keen club and would prepare plans for a clubhouse with sleeping accommodation for at least twelve members, recreation space, first aid rooms and other necessary conveniences.

 Also present at the meeting was Mr R. D. Doyle, Deputy President of the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia, who expressed the hope that the new club would prosper and grow. In accordance with the ideals of the S.L.S.A. of Australia,

members were expected to carry out their duties to the best of their ability. Every assistance would be given by the head body who expected discipline in all club matters and a well-cared-for beach. In conclusion Mr Doyle, on behalf of the S.L.S.A. of Australia, wished the club every success in the new venture.

 The first motion of the new club was moved by Mr Sid Maloney and seconded by Mr Richard Buck. The motion was; “that the Garie Surf Life Saving Club be formed and all present to be enrolled as members.” The motion was carried unanimously

Our Founding Members


B. BakerEdward BuckCecil Buck
Richard BuckHenry ButteryW. Edgar
Robert FurlongerHilton “Binky” HawkerThomas Hoffmann
Asher JoelSidney MaloneyLeslie Marks
Norman MartinWilliam McKenzieA. Walker
George WarnesJohn Waugh

The following elections of officers were then held;


PatronHon. Mr H. W. Whiddon, M.L.C.
Vice PatronMr W. K. Moffa
PresidentMr Asher A. Joel


It was then moved by Mr Tom Hoffmann and seconded by Mr Sid Maloney “That the first meeting be held at the National Park Trust Office, Challis House Martin Place Sydney, on Wednesday 21st December 1938 at 7:30pm.” The motion was carried

The first meeting of Garie Surf Life Saving Club was held 7:30pm Wednesday 21st December 1938 and the following elections were held;

CaptainSid Maloney (temporary till the next meeting when William McKenzie was elected)
SecretaryTom Hoffmann
TreasurerSid Maloney
DelegatesAsher Joel and Tom Hoffman

At subsequent meetings the following elections were held

Vice CaptainSid Maloney
Gear StewardJohn Waugh
Hon. AuditorMessrs. Coates, Cunningham and Stiffe

With enthusiasm as it’s only asset the new club began operations and the first patrols commenced at 10am on Sunday the 25th December 1938 at Garie Beach.

arie Surf Life Saving Club patrolled every Sunday and Public Holiday from 10.00am to 5.00pm and patrols carried out three rescues, one with reel, line and belt and two without reel, line and belt in its first season of operation. It also rendered first aid treatment to a large number of Park visitors. St. John Ambulance Service also provided a First Aid post at Garie Beach to assist the Garie patrols until 1964. Following this Garie S.L.S.C. members have been the sole first aid body at Garie Beach and the surrounding National Park. During this time Garie members have attended to many varied first aid cases, ranging from minor cuts and bluebottle stings to immersions and major injuries resulting from car accidents.


The first member to gain their Bronze Medallion was W. J. McKenzie. He did his exam at Freshwater Beach on Sunday 22nd January 1939. The first Bronze Squad from Garie SLSC consisted of the following 10 members; Edward Buck, Richard Buck, Henry Buttery, Hilton Hawker, Thomas Hoffmann, Sidney Maloney, Leslie Marks, William Turnbull, George Warnes and John Waugh who were trained by instructors from Bondi SLSC and Brighton SLSC and examined on Sunday 26th February 1939 at Freshwater Beach.


The club flourished and earned itself a high reputation, not only appreciated by the National Park Trust but also by the general public. The National Park Trust were so impressed with the work being done that they erected a commodious clubhouse at Garie, in which members could spend their weekends and provided the club with its first reels, lines and belts. The new clubhouse was officially opened on Saturday 6th April 1939.


The National Park Trust also provided transport to and from the beach in a truck, this was continued until 1952 and in later years a private bus service was subsidised by the Park Trust to transport visitors and club members from Waterfall train station. Every facility was made available to make the club one of the most successful on the coast. The Surf Life Saving Association of Australia gave the club its first surf ski.



Season 1939/1940


Season 1939/1940 saw a vastly increased number of visitors to the beach, showing how the surf club has given the general public confidence to surf at Garie.

The National Park Trust presented the club with its first surf boat, the “Waratah”, and the S.L.S.A. of A. presented Garie with a double ski.

Garie’s first Surf Carnival was held on Sunday the 10th December 1939 at Garie Beach and all metropolitan clubs participated.

World War 2

In early February 1942 the activities of Garie SLSC began to cease due to its members enlisting with the Armed Forces, patrols were maintained with limited members till the conclusion of the 1941/42 season. At the conclusion of the 1941/42 season a motion was passed that the accounts and functions of Garie Surf Life

Saving Club be closed for the duration of WWII. During the 1942/43 season till Friday the 2nd August 1946 Garie SLSC was closed. The Army erected barbed wire on the beach and mined Garie Beach Road above the hairpin bend, troops were camped nearby ready to set off the mines in the event of an invasion. The clubhouse was used as an orderly room for the remainder of WWII.


All but four members of Garie Surf Life Saving Club joined the armed forces and all but four members, who gave the ultimate sacrifice, returned at the completion of the hostilities. Cecil Buck, Richard Buck, Frank McGlinchey and Sid Moloney are remembered for their sacrifice with Memorial Trophies named in their honour.


Following World War 2


Garie S.L.S.C. was re-formed in 1946 at the completion of the war. A Ladies Committee was formed and assisted in raising funds for a new surf boat and in 1947/48 the Ladies Committee raised funds for the first March Past reel.


In the 1948/49 season, the first two cliff rescues were performed using members lowered over the cliff by surf lines. Also in that season a boatshed was constructed. In 1948/49 the first teams competed with a March Past team and a boat crew at the Australian Championships held in Sydney.


In 1954 the club started a fund raising campaign to build a new clubhouse. Work began on construction on 13-2-1957 under the guidance of Hilton ”Binky” Hawker and Robbie Hoffmann, who were both builders. Labourers and tradesmen were recruited from among club members. The new clubhouse was officially opened on 5-10-1958 by the Hon. J. J. Cahill, M.L.A., Premier of NSW.


In the 1960/61 season, a winter swimming club was formed to keep the members fit and involved during the colder months. The group was called “Garie Goosepimples” and they competed regularly in races held at local swimming pools until 1988.


Garie nippers were started in 1972/73 with a membership of 55. They were called the “Garie Guppies”. The “Guppies” were managed by a strong team of leaders, Neville Cooper, Owen Hailey, Keith Brown, Alf Taylor, Neville Nolan and Bill Bowley. Since that time they have grown to become an integral part of Garie SLSC with many going on to become Active Patrol members, committee members and Branch Officials.


The 1973/74 season saw the introduction of radio communications within the clubs of the National Park. The first I.R.B. was obtained for use by the National Park District clubs by a grant from the Government. That same year the club voted to accept female members. However it wasn’t until 1980/81 that Garie had its first female Bronze holder, Sue Hailey, commencing patrols. Then in 1988/89 the first female executive member was Rita Taylor who became Club Secretary.

Season 2006/07, “Year of the Surf Lifesaver”, saw the opening of the new clubhouse on the southern side of Garie Valley. The Royal National Park held an impressive official opening on Thursday 8th March 2007 and was attended by many dignitaries. Minister for the Environment, Bob Debus led the proceedings.


Garie S.L.S.C. has never been a big club, compared to other Sydney Branch clubs, however, its members provide manpower for the Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter, the

Offshore Rescue Boat, the Sydney Branch Jet Skis and the Sydney Branch Radio Room. Garie S.L.S.C. members also hold office at Surf Life Saving NSW and Surf Life Saving Sydney and they are very active on Surf Life Saving Sydney’s Board of Lifesaving and Examination and provide Duty Officers to attend rescues 24/7 within the Sydney Branch.

Since its inception in 1938, Garie S.L.S.C. has maintained a proud record that no lives have been lost at Garie Beach while its members have been on duty.


Significant Dates



Formation of Garie Surf Life Saving Club


First surf lifesaving patrol on Garie Beach

Opening of Garie’s first clubhouse, this was provided by the National Park Trust.

1951/52J. “Bunta” Byrnes won Garie’s first Australian Title, a Gold Medal for musical flags, at the Australian Championships held at Wollongong Beach
1957/58Bushfires in National Park – clubhouse roof caught fire.
05/10/1958Official opening of Garie’s new clubhouse by the Hon. J. J. Cahill, M.L.A., Premier of NSW.
02/01/1972Meritorious Award from S.L.S.A. of A. to Bruce McKirdy for a belt rescue at Garie Beach.
23/5/76Meritorious Award from the Royal Humane Society of NSW to Bob Ford for a courageous Helicopter rescue.
1976/77Carnival cancelled due to devastating bushfires.
1988/89Clubhouse almost lost when bushfires struck.

The State’s worst bushfires. Two Garie members receive recognition

for their outstanding efforts during the crisis.

1996/97Garie SLSC awarded trophy from Surf Life Saving Sydney Branch for Champion Club.
1997Mass rescue of 11 persons by newly qualified Bronze team.
25/04/2001Award of Excellence by Ian McManus MP to Patrol No.7 for a dangerous rescue at the base of the cliff north of Garie Beach.
25/12/2001Major bushfires throughout National Park. Patrol evacuated public from Wattamolla, Era, Burning Palms, Bulgo and Garie Valley at the request of Royal National Park. Provided radio services when R.N.P. communications system failed.
08/03/2007Opening of new clubhouse on south side of Garie Valley by Bob Debus, Minister for the Environment


Life Members

Michael Bretherton29th May 1998
Peter Collins11th July 1993
Neville Cooper15th August 1982
Patricia Dillon8th July 2019
Lionel Ford4th August 1954
Robert Ford10th August 1983
Robert Glasson2nd August 2008
Owen Hailey9th August 1975
Hilton “Binky” Hawker6th August 1952
David Hoffmann5th August 2006
Robert Hoffmann14th August 1967
Keith Midson9th August 1971
John Quinn14th August 1977
Steven Quinn4th August 2012
John Stewart12th August 1957
Peter Sullivan11th July 1993
William Tapp3rd August 1986
Alfred Taylor10th July 1994
Bradley Taylor11th August 1991
Rita Taylor10th August 2002