The City of Perth Surf Life Saving Club traces its origins to the early 1920s, a time when Perth was expanding and the beaches were becoming more accessible and popular.
Clubs had already been established at Cottesloe and North Cottesloe, and in December 1924 members of the City of Perth Amateur Swimming Club formed Western Australia’s third Surf Life Saving Club at City Beach.
Early conditions for club members were a long way removed from what they are today – surf boats so heavy that the entire club was required to carry them to and from the water, and clubrooms consisting of little more than a shack in the dunes.
In 1938 more substantial accomodation was built, and 30 years later those clubrooms in turn were replaced by today’s facility in time for the club to host the 1971 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships.
A commitment to excellence in patrolling City Beach has always been the cornerstone of the club, which has won Surf Life Saving Western Australia’s Patrol Efficiency championship a record 23 times.
By the 1970s, the club was also emerging as a force in interclub
competition, and set another record in the 80s by winning the State Championship pointscore 11 times in succession, as well as producing champions in national and world championships.
The members of the 1920s would barely recognise the City of Perth club of the 21st century. There are now well over 1200 members ranging from the very young to the very old, and facilities including a clubrooms with a magnificent view overlooking the beach, thousands of dollars worth of lifesaving and competition equipment, a well-equipped gymnasium, a bar and social facilities, and an army of people helping to run the place. In 2014 the club will undergo a major transformation as a part of the redevelopment of City Beach by the Town of Cambridge – click here for more information, including concept pictures.
One thing they would recognise, however, is the club spirit and camaraderie, and the club still belongs to those original members as much as it does to the members of today.
Custodians and Champions
The Story of the City of Perth Surf Life Saving Club
by Ken Spillman
First published 1988 by the City of Perth Surf Life Saving Club
Custodians and Champions”Custodians of the public safety, and champions of the surf – these are the men and women who have served the City of Perth Surf Life Saving Club in the course of it’s proud history.
“Ken Spillman is one of Western Australia’s leading writers, and like each of his previous publications, this volume breaks new ground and sets new standards for its genre. The story of the State’s largest and most powerful surf life saving club, with its passion for beach efficiency and pride in its performance, is told with a breadth of vision which offers the reader insights not only into the evolution of an institution, but into the development of City Beach, the settlement of Perth’s western suburbs, and the impact of economic depression, war, and post-war prosperity on the lives of ordinary Western Australians. The reminiscences contributed by pioneering members and the experiences related by their modern counterparts are skilfully woven into a sparkling narrative in which the City club’s many colourful personalities are brought to life. More than a hundred fine photographs provide a marvellous glimpse into an important facet of Australia’s social past.”
To obtain a copy of Custodians and Champions, contact the club office.