THE HISTORY OF WARILLA-BARRACK POINT SLSC
During the late 1950’s Warilla and surrounding areas experienced much growth and development with many new homes being built and this of course brought with it an increase in population. Warilla Beach was also becoming very popular with the local community and following a couple of drownings which happened in the late 1950 ‘s it was identified that a Surf Club was required to carry out Patrols at Warilla Beach for the benefit of the community and especially for the benefit of the increase in people using and swimming along Warilla Beach.
It should be noted that Warilla Barrack Point SLSC was not the first club to be located on Warilla Beach. The publication “Surfing in Illawarra” which is a history of Surf Lifesaving in the Illawarra from 1900 to 1962 makes reference to previous times that surf clubs were in operation on Warilla Beach. Reference is made to when the bridge across Lake Illawarra opened on the 2nd, April 1938 and Lake Illawarra So]uth became a popular area and it was felt that a Surf Club was required. The Illawarra Branch SLSA Officers at this time assisted with forming the Lake South SLSC in the 1937/38 Season. Not a lot is known about this club’s activities but it is known that the outcome of the war seen the termination of this club and its activities.
In December 1951 the Illawarra Branch SLSA again assisted with a club being formed on Warilla Beach. This club was known as Warilla SLSC. In fact on the 1st, December 1951 the Illawarra Branch accepted Affiliation of this Club, which was located on the present site of Warilla Barrack Point Club, and they operated from a Building that was built on private property with the assistance of a Holiday Camping Area Proprietor. This didn’t prove to be very successful. Several members did gain Life Saving Awards, Patrols were carried out at the beach, they held two surf carnivals, but unfortunately following disagreements over the control of the building the club ceased to function and the club was terminated.
During 1958 suggestions that a Surf Club was needed on Warilla Beach were raised. These suggestions continued and in the early part of 1959 these discussions became more serious to the point that local residents were becoming involved and this led to a Steering Committee being formed to look at what was needed to form a surf club and to ensure that it would be able to operate and develop for many years ahead. A driving force in those early years with the formation of Warilla Barrack Point SLSC was Lod Leggett. Lod was well known and respected throughout the Surf Life Saving Association and was well supported by his wife Gloria and their family with the formation of Warilla Barrack Point SLSC.
Throughout 1959 Lod and a small band of local residents met regularly in various homes to discuss and plan for the formation of a Surf Club to carry out Patrols and other various Life Saving Duties. As these meetings progressed the need for a Surf Club became more apparent. Lod Leggett at this stage was a member of Shellharbour SLSC, and with nine other members from the Shellharbour Club, plus the local residents involved became the foundation members of the proposed new surf club.
As meetings continued and towards the later part of 1959 it was decided to convene a Public Meeting to gauge the support and also discuss with the local community the proposal to form a Surf Club on Warilla Beach. This meeting was held on the 24th,Feb, 1960 and following an enthusiastic meeting it was resolved that a Surf Life Saving Club be formed to patrol the Southern end of Warilla Beach. Attending this meeting also were representatives of the Illawarra Branch SLSA. These representatives were Mr. W. Carr, Branch Superintendent and Mr. Don Moir, Hon. Secretary.
This meeting was well attended and a Steering Committee was formed to conduct the preliminary arrangements regarding the formation of the club.The members of this Steering Committee were;
Allan Williams, Tom Strong, Ben Williams Snr., Jack Kelly, Dr. Bruce Sheldon, Ben Williams Jnr. and Lod Leggett.
Much credit is due to these gentlemen, and others who assisted, for their foresight and valuable efforts in the formation of Warilla Barrack Point Surf Life Saving Club. The Steering Committee was given the task of making the necessary arrangements to convene a General meeting of intending members, to elect Office Bearers and to apply for affiliation with the Illawarra Branch SLSA and to formally start the club of on an active footing.
This very important general meeting was held in the Oakliegh Park Hall, Warilla on Thursday, 7th April 1960. The meeting was very well attended. It was resolved at this meeting that the Club be called the Warilla Barrack Point Surf Life Saving Club and the club colours be Grey, Tangerine and White
The President of the Illawarra Branch, Mr. Ern Lynch together with the Branch Secretary, Mr. Don Moir and Branch Superintendent, Mr. W.Carr were in attendance and our thanks were extended to them for their helpful guidance and assistance they gave the club during the period of formation. Mr. Lynch said at the time that with the formation of Warilla Barrack Point S.L.S.C. the Illawarra Branch had become the largest Branch in Australia. Various important matters were discussed at this meeting including the task of preparing the club for its first active season in 1960/1961. This duty was to be carried out by the following office bearers elected at this meeting.
Patrons – Ald. Keith Grey, Dr. Bruce Sheldon.
President – Ken Vance.
Sen. Vice President – Ben Williams Sen.
Jnr. Vice President – Tom Strong.
Hon. Secretary – Ron Higgins.
Hon. Treasurer – Stan Fletcher.
Club Captain – Lod Leggett.
Vice Captain – Allan Williams.
Chief Instructor – Ron Strong
Gear Steward – Allan Smith.
Asst. Gear Steward – Ron Wynn.
First Aid Office – Gordon Alley.
Hon. Registrar & Pub. Officer – Robert Arnott.
Hon. Auditor – Ben Williams Jnr
Junior Captain – John Cable.
Hon. Solicitor – L. Duncan.