IN 1945 the Torquay Surf Life Saving Club was formed, making it a pioneer in patrolling Victorian beaches.
Now celebrating 75 years in operation, the club is not only one of the first of its kind in the state but has cemented itself throughout Torquay history.
Marketing director Sarah O’Dwyer said the Surf Life Saving Club had served the community in more than one way over the years.
“The primary objective is providing life saving patrols to the main beach, which is important to the community, but the club also creates a place for people to belong to and to give back,” she said.
At the conclusion of World War II, surfers began to return to the town and the prospect of starting a surf club began.
Off the back of the war came a community push to attract people to the once sleepy town, with a fully functioning surf club identified as a good start.
Now considered the surfing capital of Australia, the history of the club has evolved with the town, experiencing major changes over its long history.
Ms O’Dwyer said the beginning of the ‘Nippers’ program was amongst one of the most significant advancements.
Starting in 1967 for boys and opening to girls in 1975, the program continues to attract young people to a life at the club.
Another huge milestone came in 1980 when women were allowed to join TSLSC and began competing in the 1982/83 season.
“Various occasions throughout the year have been momentous, the first clubhouse burnt down in 1970 and the rebuild was completely financed by members,” she said.
Since its inception, the equipment has drastically changed along with the procedures undertaken by the patrols.
“Equipment has changed particularly in life saving, risky techniques have changed, and we don’t send lifesavers out swimming with a line and reel anymore,” Ms O’Dwyer said.
She credits the club with giving people a strong sense of community over the years.
“TSLSC has provided a sense of belonging for people to be a part of a club and work towards raising money for the community,” Ms O’Dwyer said.
“Essentially it has created a place for people to come together and also raise money that is put back into patrols and keeping the community safe.”
To celebrate 75 years at the TSLSC, community members will be invited to attend an event recognising the achievement of the club and those who have contributed to its success.
The event is scheduled to take place on February 13, with more details to be released closer to the date.
“We invite the community to save the date in your calendar for us all to come together and celebrate the wonderful history of our great club and the pioneers of life saving who made it happen,” she said.