An unsanctioned party by the younger brigade of club members in the Ocean Beach clubhouse resulted in members being called before the Ocean Beach Club Committee. No penalty or suspension was given, just a wrap over the knuckles and told not to do it again. However, as a result, six young members (Max Tearne, John Breakwell, Les Wynne, Grahame Stockley, Jim Butt and Tony Collins) decided to try and form their own surf club at the southern end of the beach (known at that time to them as “the alley”) where they had always spent a lot of their time body surfing as the waves were better. At the time, many were current management position holders on the Ocean Beach Surf Club Committee. Max Tearne had been the Chief Instructor, Jim Breakwell the Treasurer, Jim Butt the Board and Ski Captain and Les Wynne was the Gear Steward.
With the support and guidance of Jack Hogan (proprietor of Ocean Beach Caravan Park) an initial meeting was held at 13 Albion Street Umina (the Breakwell’s residence) where it was decided to proceed with the formation of the new club. John Breakwell, as secretary, was to write a letter to branch seeking approval to start the club. John and Max Tearne attended the December branch meeting where the Umina club was officially affiliated.
Jack Hogan also sent a letter of support to Branch for the formation of the Surf Lifesaving Club. He and his wife Winn, were both tireless workers for the cause. Not only was he instrumental in supplying accommodation prior to the clubhouse’s first stage, he was also instrumental in acquiring land and control of club activities. He also wrote articles in the local paper on behalf of the club,
The 8th of January 1960 saw the official inauguration of Umina S.L.S.C and the club became affiliated with the Central Coast Branch. The Central Coast branch donated patrol flags, caps and a reel.
“Our thirteenth club was formed and affiliated, this being Umina, operating at the southern end of Ocean Beach, and this club has joined our other younger clubs, North Avoca Beach and Soldiers Beach-Norah Head, in solidifying their groundwork by industrious activities.” (Annual Report CCSLS 1959/60)`
Foundation members were Max Tearne (industrial chemist), John Breakwell (school teacher), Les Wynne (engineer), Grahame Stockley (salesman), Jim Butt (builder) and Tony Collins (navy). Jack Hogan was the foundation President and Dick Whitehorn was the Patron.
Kevin Tagg, an ex member of Ocean Beach also offered his patrolling services for the initial season. The first member of the club to gain his Bronze was Audie Voormuelen.
In this inaugural year, Umina entered the B.P ‘Catch a Shark’ competition run at the Entrance Beach. Umina borrowed a boat from Avoca and members Max Tearne, Grahame Stockley, John Breakwell, Jim Butt and Audie Voormuelen managed to catch three stingrays. Audie had to be taken to shore due to sea sickness.
Umina scored 9 points in their first Branch Titles and John Breakwell won the Open Beach Sprint at the Branch Titles.
Club membership consisted of 7 active, 3 cadet and 5 other members.
Many fresh chicken raffles were conducted at the Ocean Beach hotel every Saturday morning to raise much needed funds.
The limited membership was totally overtaxed with club duties i.e. attending patrols, club intra- and inter-competition including travelling outside of our own Central Coast Branch to other branches and nationals, and all fund raising events which were absolutely essential for the club’s existence.
“Rescues of apparent merit, by… Max Tearne, of Umina, were brought to the notice of the Branch by members of the public”. (Annual Report CCSLS 1960/61)
“The ‘ole’ man of the sea”, Max Tearne, whom, following discarding the belt due to excessive kelp, single-handedly saved Robin Olfin in treacherous seas. Max’s excellent knowledge of local conditions took him and Robin from Umina out to sea for 1 hour and 50 minutes and swam her back into kiddies corner. Most people on the beach that day considered that he should have been given a meritorious award. Jeff Summers and Graham Stockley initially attempted the rescue, but were dragged down by kelp resulting in exhaustion. The rescue continued without the belt and line – quite remarkable.
The club won the Branch Title for the Chariot Race. We had some very fast sprinters and Don (Jut) Jeffries was an excellent jockey
Umina members earned 2 Instructors Certificates and 6 Bronze Medallions during the season. Membership consisted of 11 active, 11 cadet and 7 other members and these members performed 27 rescues and 41 first aid cases for the season.
The first Bronze squad consisted of Dave Howton, John Johnston, Gordon Dickson, Graham Summers, Ray Phillips.
The estimated value of premises was £50 ($100) and gear £417 ($834).
The club’s first clubhouse, which was an Army tent, was destroyed in a storm. All of the rescue equipment was then moved to the Caravan Park where temporary accommodation was supplied by Mr Jack Hogan, proprietor of the park by means of a 5-berth caravan. Due to Jack’s generosity, the lifesavers earned the name of Hogan’s Heroes.
The Club applied to the ‘Herald Gear Fund Money’ for assistance and was granted £1000 as a building fund.`
The club won the Branch Patrol Efficiency Competition, a tremendous effort in only its third operational season.
“My congratulations to Umina on their excellent effort in winning the B.P patrol efficiency competition.” (Presidents Report, Annual Report CCSLS 1961/62). Umina was presented with a BP Reel.
Ralph Bennett held executive positions for some years and was a driving force, a huge help in the early years, recruiting members to travel from Sydney up to Umina to help with our patrols and become members. At the time, it was hard to get members due to the larger and more established Ocean Beach club.
The membership of 11 active, 10 cadet and 8 other members performed 16 rescues and 11 first aid cases for the season.
A land lease was approved for a permanent clubhouse, but unfortunately a large portion of land allotted was below the high tide mark. A Building Committee was formed, headed by Rod Seccombe, who, unfortunately, had to resign before the project was completed. Fortunately several members by this stage possessed enough building talents to successfully establish the concrete slab for stage one. Unfortunately, the amount of work required exceeded the membership volunteers available. Dave Howton and Trevor Pearson (works supervisors) and exhausted members and associates seconded the local board riders. Kerry Purdon, Doug Daines, John Monie and others to help before the concrete was unworkable. So commenced an affiliation with the local boardies (later the Central Coast Board Riders Association) and the Umina S.L.S.C. Several ‘boardies’ trained for their bronze medallions soon after.
Umina followed their success of the previous year by coming equal first in the Branch Patrol Efficiency Competition
Ralph Bennett was instrumental in organising for the first surfboat to be purchased second-hand. It was named “ZOT”.
The Club gained 2 Instructors and 6 Bronze medallions and membership consisted of 18 active and 3 other members who performed 101 rescues and 85 first aid cases over the season.
Building of the first clubhouse continued to progress in spite of some setbacks including a building collapse and vandalism. Fortunately, a highly credentialed builder, Noel Astill devoted his entire family holidays initially, then further numerous hours of his valuable time (together with his associates) rescuing the club from a disastrous scene following a mini cyclone which demolished three to four walls so painstakenly erected by local brickies, Harry Knight and his workmates. Unfortunately, many of these volunteers were unavailable to re-scrape concrete blocks and their re-erection – they too had families to feed. The project lay dormant for a period while the necessary funds were raised – then Noel Astill was commissioned to take the reigns – and together with a small band worked very hard to complete stage one of the proposed three stage clubhouse, as had been proposed by Les Wynne.
The Herald Gear Fund loan issued £1000 pounds ($2000) to the club.
During this period in the club’s history, the majority of senior active members resided in Sydney. Consequently to enhance and accommodate existing membership, Wal Bennett donated and installed the necessary bunk (sleeping) requirements. These bunks remained in use until the late sixties by which time the club established a virtually total local membership with the ever-increasing younger population to the district.
Patrolling hours were set at 9am-5pm Sundays and Public Holidays and at the Branch Championships the Club came second 2nd Open Beach Relay and third in the Chariot Race.
During the season members gained 2 Instructors and 6 Bronze medallions and membership consisted of 20 active and 3 other members, who performed 43 rescues and 48 first aid cases for the season.
During this period the club experienced lean times both financially and membership wise. A contingent of the club’s active members journeyed to N.Z. for working holidays depleting available active members to continue the club’s purpose. Ralph Bennett, the Secretary Treasurer, was asked by Dave Howton, (the President) and Geoff Summers, an active member, to call an extraordinary general meeting to close the club down due to lack of active members. Les Wynne, following a short absence from the club, was called by Ralph Bennett and Trevor Pearson to find ways to continue the club’s operations. This effort was fortunately successful. Wal Ogden donated a large amount of earthenware plumbing pipe material towards the clubhouse building stages.
Alan Kable who was amongst the elite Australian swimmers, joined the club. Alan held many still water records and had been the Australian Stillwater champion for several years. Wanda Surf Club had been extremely keen for Alan to join their ranks as he had beaten their champions several time in invitations ocean swims prior to Alan joining Umina. Alan repeatedly won both the Open Mens surf race and open belt race at both intra and inter club level. His diligence as a hard working active member was appreciated. This was shown when Alan was helping to fix the roof to stage one of the building. The alarm was raised that there was a swimmer in trouble, Alan jumped off the roof and successfully performed a rescue as beltman. Much to the amazement of Noel Astill.
Alan Kable won the Open Surf Race and second in the Open Belt Race at the Branch Titles. He was also a member of the Branch Representative Team. Colin Stanley came 3rd in the Junior Belt Race. Membership consisted of 12 active, 4 active reserve and 3 other members who performed 12 rescues and 41 first aid cases over the season.
Due to all available members and associates requirements concerning clubhouse construction work happening on the same day, no Club members were able to compete at a branch carnival. Alan Kable did not get the message and turned up at the carnival with no reel for the belt race or team to feed the line. Some members of Killcare, McMasters and other clubs pitched in to make up his team and he still won by 20 yards. However he was disqualified, but in an act of sportsmanship Paul (Yabba) Hughes (Ocean Beach) who had been awarded first place as a result of the disqualification, willingly offered Alan his trophies.
Members gained 6 Bronze medallions and the 14 active members, 4 active reserve and 3 other members performed 5 rescues with lines, 5 with other gear and 38 with no gear. 64 first aid cases were handled.
Big things happening in Umina town water arrives at the surf club and our illustrious plumber John Sharpe connected it to the original clubhouse.
The Junior section of the club was formed with members from 5 years to 13 years known as the Umina Stingrays J.S.L.S.C.
At the Branch Titles conducted at Kilcare beach we won the Junior Boat Race and Bob Neal came 2nd in the Open Beach Sprint.
Membership consisted of 12 active and 4 other members and 1 Instructor and 8 Bronze Medallions were gained. There were 42 rescues and 50 first aid cases performed over the season.
Umina won the first Nipper Branch Title and a new boat “ZOT 2”was purchased.
Members gained 3 Bronze medallions and 2 instructors certificates were gained and performed 17 rescues with line, 59 without line, 1 other rescue and dealt with 24 first aid cases.
Membership consisted of 23 active, 7 other members.
This was a very busy year for the club. Apart from being in the process of extending their existing clubhouse, they also held their first senior carnival.
During the year, the club obtained $400 from the Herald Gear Fund and they won the Junior Boat Race at Branch Championships
The Club was successful in the inaugural State Juvenile 2 man R&R event, winning the state title. Team members were Greg (Kelly)Glew and Michael Coffey.
Membership in the club continued to grow with 19 active, 2 active reserves, 4 cadet and 17 other members. These members gained 1 Instructors and 6 Bronze Medallions. This meant that the Club now had 41 Bronze Medallions and 10 Instructors to date.
During the season, the club members handled 51 rescues and 70 first aid cases.