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The surf life saving story

24/03/1907– First appearance of a surf belt and reel on Sydney beaches.

18/10/1907– The Surf Bathing Association of NSW (SBANSW) was founded – with 9 clubs and affiliated associations. This body later became SLSA

2/1/1910– 5 members from Bondi, North Bondi and Coogee clubs received Bronze Medallions becoming the first surf lifesavers to ever to receive this award

3/4/1910– 20 North Steyne SLSC members became the first team to pass the Bronze medallion

1912– New President: Charles Davidson Paterson

1915–First Association Titles, Bondi Beach

1919– Meritorious Award system introduced

1921- Surf Lifesaving Qualifying Certificate and Proficiency Certificate introduced into the membership award system

1922– First Meritorious Awards issued

1923/24– Signs developed to be placed on all patrolled beaches: safe areas to be marked with blue and white flags, dangerous areas with red flags

1925– WA State Centre formed

1930– QLD State Centre formed

1932– Australian Championships held at Bondi Beach to coincide with and celebrate the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

1934– Adrian Curlewis became President of SLSAA. With the exception of 4 years when he was serving in World War 2, Curlewis remained President of the Association until 1975, making him the longest serving President in our history.

24/11/34– Special Carnival held at Manly to honour the visit of the Duke of Gloucester, and surf lifesavers helped police line the route of the Royal procession

1935– Red and yellow flags introduced, although the colours were divided diagonally, not horizontally

1937– First Australian representative team to tour overseas went to New Zealand

6/2/1938– Black Sunday, Bondi Beach

1941– Roy Doyle became interim President while Captain Adrian Curlewis served in 8th Division of the AIF

1945– World War 2 ended. Captain Curlewis resumed SLSA Presidency upon return to Australia after almost four years in Changi POW Camp, Singapore.

9/1/1947– Victorian State Centre formed

1947– Australian Championships held in Southport, QLD. This was the first time the ‘Aussies’ were ever held out of Sydney

1948– Tasmanian State Centre formed

1949– NSW State Centre formed (as a separate entity to SLSAA)

1950– Use of Ross Belt mandatory

1950/51– Approximately 164 affiliated clubs

1952– South Australian State Centre formed

1952– Shaeffer method of resuscitation replaced by Holger-Nielson method

1954– Royal Carnival, Bondi

1956– International Carnivals held at Torquay to coincide with the Melbourne Olympics. International Council of Life Saving was formed.

1957- First recorded use of a power craft by Australian surf lifesavers took place on Queensland beaches

1960– Expired Air Resuscitation (EAR – otherwise known as ‘mouth-to-mouth’) adopted

1960/1961– Approximately 226 affiliated clubs

1960s – Trial testing of Jet Rescue Boat (JRB) and IRBs

1966– Ironman race held at Australian Championships at Coolangatta for 1st time

1966- New design launched for the Surf Lifesaving Bronze Medallion

1966/67- Helicopter surveillance and rescue service trialled on Gold Coast

1970- Major changes in the Bronze Medallion examination introduced

1971– World Life Saving (WLS) founded

1973– Introduction of Advanced Resuscitation Certificate

1973– National Junior Association of Surf Life Saving formed

1973/74- Introduction of Helicopter Rescue Service in Sydney

1975– Alan Whelpton became SLSA President

1980– Females became eligible to be active patrolling members of SLSAA for the first time

1980- Red and yellow flags became standard Australian water safety symbol according to 'Australian Standard'

1980/81– 236 clubs, 13,900 ‘active’ members

1983– Australia Japan Foundation funded annual trips of Australian lifeguards to Japan to help develop lifesaving and train lifesavers in Japan. This occured for five years.

1984– First ‘Coolangatta Gold’ event, won by Guy Leech

1986– SLSAA incorporated

1986/87– Inaugural Nutri-Grain Ironman Grand Prix

1988– Rescue ’88 held at Southport, QLD

1990-1991– 254 clubs

1991– The Surf Life Saving Association of Australia (SLSAA) changed its name to Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA)

1994– WLS and Federation Internationale de Sauvetage (FIS) merged to form the International Life Saving Federation (ILS)

2000– Rescue 2000 held at Manly Beach

2000– SLSA became Registered Training Organisation (RTO)

2001– 273 clubs

2001– Ron Rankin AM became SLSA President. A QLD member, Ron is the first non-NSW surf lifesaver to be made President of the national organisation

2004– SLSA awards became ILS accredited

2006– Rescue ’06 held in Lorne, Victoria

2007– Year of the Surf Lifesaver

2009– Australian Championships held in Perth

2014– 311 clubs