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The 2019 past and present club members reunion was held at the club on Saturday 26 October and was well attended by approximately 120 people. The gathering was addressed by Club President Sam Archer who welcomed everyone and gave a brief update about the club generally.

Club Captain and Life Members Committee Chairman Neil Grimshaw also addressed the reunion and talked about the current Surf Girl Sonita and Life Members Bursary Scholar Lani Pallister.

People traveled from Bundaberg to the Gold Coast and a good cross section of members from the past and present membership enjoyed the afternoon of reminiscing and reflection. The reunion was themed around the Bronze Medallion and past bronze squads.

A raffle was conducted with funds raised going toward the Life Members Youth Bursary and our Surf Girl Sonita.

Five past Presidents including Horrie Robertson, Dr Kevin Barker, Noel Kelk OAM, Nev Huxley and Ron Rankin AM as well as a number of past club officers attended the event.

BM was the only award in surf lifesaving for many years and the first BM was awarded to Bill Buhk Snr. in 1924. The second BM was awarded to Fred Wilkes in 1928.

Since 1924 the Club has awarded a total of 2672 BM’s to members involving many hours of instruction and examination. The early years were slow but numbers started to increase after WWII during the 1940’s.Growth continued in the 1950’s but only 1 BM in 1954. Membership became an issue during the 1960’s and 70’s with only 4 awards in 1962, 6 in 1964, 11 in 1966, 3 in 1972, and numbers generally were below 20 in most years during this period. In 1981 Ron Rankin became President and worked with Terry McLardy and others on recruitment resulting with 58 BM’s being processed, a record year since 1924.

Membership has seen steady growth ever since and the annual number of BM’s has not been below 50 since 1998.Best year was 2000.2001 with 106 BM’s awarded. Club today has over 1300 senior members and 600 juniors. It is not hard to imagine how much was done by very few members during the first 60 years of our history.

The oldest living BM holder attending the reunion Horrie Robertson gained his BM in 1948. A Past President and Life Member. Also in attendance was Lewis Menary who gained his BM in 1946.

Other notable members who attended and gained their BM prior to 1960 included Ted Browning 1953, Lyle Gibson 1953, Don Waldon 1955, Hayden Kenny OAM 1956, Noel Kelk OAM 1956, Len Matthews 1956, and George Graham 1958. Photographs were taken of the BM groups from past decades and special thanks to Janelle Pallister for her help.

Special thanks to the Life Members Committee and in particular a small band of helpers in Neil Grimshaw, Lorraine Buhk OAM, Graeme McIntyre, Ben Day and Carmel Carnegie who made the reunion very enjoyable and successful.

Also a special thanks to General Manager Ashley and the Club Staff for their assistance with the reunion.

Ron Rankin AM

Life Governor

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