GOING STRONG: Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the opening of the North Kirra Surf Life Saving Clubhouse in 1968 were members of the 1958 bronze medallion squad George Doniger, Don Forsyth, Alma Bryett, Barry Henderson and instructor John Hudson.
GOING STRONG: Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the opening of the North Kirra Surf Life Saving Clubhouse in 1968 were members of the 1958 bronze medallion squad George Doniger, Don Forsyth, Alma Bryett, Barry Henderson and instructor John Hudson.

Surf club saved by apprentices

THE dedication of a small group of people who ensured that the North Kirra Surf Life Saving Club would become extinct was celebrated last month at the club.

North Kirra was started by Joe Doniger in 1949 along with some members of Kirra and Tweed Heads and Coolangatta clubs.

However they soon got tired of the long patrol hours during that era which were 6am to 6pm and with the limited numbers, some of them were doing 12 hours on patrol, and they went back to their respective clubs.

The club faced an uncertain future and would have ceased operation and been disassociated from the Point Danger Branch had it not been for a few members joining from Brisbane in 1952/53.

The Telegraph was an afternoon newspaper in Brisbane in those days and a friend of Joe - Bill Whally - (who was a photographer with the paper) was down at Coolangatta covering a story when Joe told him of the plight at North Kirra.

Bill said there are a lot of young apprentices at the Telegragh and that he would see if any would be interested in joining.

There were 14 patrol members from Brisbane who came to save the club.

Of those 14 there are six still alive and four of them attended the 50th anniversary of the clubhouse opening in 1968.

There would not have been a North Kirra Surf Club had those men (and many more like them) not hitchhiked down and back from Brisbane to do their Bronze and patrols.



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