North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club, one of Australia’s oldest and most famous surf clubs, is a wonderful blend of the best of old and new in Australian life saving.
The origins of the North Bondi Club go back to the year 1890, when a number of sportsmen in the local area formed a club. The clubs basic aim in those days was to help the less fortunate in the locality. The lure of the surf drew them to Bondi, where the members went swimming from the rocks, hard to imagine that surf bathing was prohibited between sunrise and sunset in those days.
The North Bondi Surf Lifesaving Club was formed in 1906 – one of the first clubs in Australia.
North Bondi belongs to the Sydney Branch, which has 15 other affiliated clubs. The current membership of the club is approaching 3000, and approximately 350 of these are active patrolling members. We patrol from early September until early April and have 18 surf Patrols, each doing approximately 10 patrols during the season.
1906 – Eden ‘Paddy’ Lane carries out rescue off Bondi baths which inspires other bathers to form a life saving club. Men gather each Sunday on the north end of Bondi beach. Activities include boxing, wrestling and fitness sports. North Bondi Surf and Social Club is formed.
1911 – A wooden structure – the first true club house – is erected. The club decides to change its name from North Bondi Surf and Social Club to North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club. The change of name is a result of a ‘social’ club not being taken seriously in surf life saving circles.
1926 – The Club colours are changed from Purple and Black to Red, Chocolate and White.
1944 – Club Membership stood at 459 of whom 202 members were serving and 14 members had been decorated or mentioned in dispatches.
1957 – 50th Anniversary Jubilee Dinner held at the Club House 11 May. There were now 509 members of the Club.
1966 – On 25 May HRH Prince Charles, accompanied by Squadron Leader D. Checketts, visited the Club.
1979 – This was the year girls were introduced to Nippers. The upstairs alterations were completed and the new-look club was officially opened on 29 July.
1983 – Hosting of the Inaugural Bondi Cole Classic on 26 January. Membership increased to 172 active members. On many occasions the Club’s IRB was the only motorised rescue craft available from South Head to Maroubra, and calls to Clovelly and ‘The Gap’ for rescues were attended to during the season.
1991 – 125 life saving awards gained – the most in Sydney Branch. 92 rescues and 540 Preventative actions. Club hosts the Eyeline National Swim Series. Club bus and Surf Boat travel to the Australian Championships held in Western Australia.