Elwood is a nifty suburb to live in. It is close to fashionable restaurants, bars and it enjoys a festive nightlife culture. Its streets are lined with long established trees and the classic houses reflect the varied styles of its residents. And then of course, there is the beach. In a nation whose history is caught up with sun and surf, where our lives are entwined with activities that happen at the beach whether that be swimming, surfing, or stretching out on the sand to relax, our are hearts and identities are connected to the coast. Fittingly, our surf lifesavers are central to this iconic Australian beach culture. Today’s Chisholm & Gamon blog celebrate 100 years of the local Elwood Surf Life Saving Club making our beach-going lifestyle a safe and happy part of our lives!
For 100 years now, The Elwood Surf Life Saving Club has been a fixture at the beach and within the community, serving generations of Elwood beach goers. The Life Saving Club commemorated its centenary with a gala dinner, a collection of memorabilia on display and a book launch.
The book Elwood: A Club for Life provides a photographic glimpse of the Life Saving Club across the decades with stories from the early days of lifesaving to more contemporary lifesaving activities. Compiled by historian Stella Barber, the book was launched on Friday 4th May at the Elwood clubrooms. The celebrations came to a climax with the gala dinner on the Saturday 28th April, held at Life Saving Victoria’s centre in Port Melbourne. Our own Managing Director Torsten Kasper conducted an exciting auction to raise funds for the club. He commented that it was a privilege and a wonder to hear the stories of four generations of club members under the one roof. One of the special guests at the event was clubhouse champion Jean Beckett, who at 98 years young, can recount events from when she was first involved with the club in the 1920s.
While fulfilling its role within the community to serve and protect beach goers, alliance with the club has amounted to much more than a civic contribution, with many social lives based around the club. During the 80s the Elwood Surf Life Saving Club held a Friday night dance called The Bullfight which was run by a prominent nightclub at the time. As club president, Graham Thomas noted to the Melbourne Weekly Port Phillip, “…people met their husbands and wives at the club.” Romantic AND safety conscious – we can’t fault them.
There has been a resurgence of interest in surf lifesaving and new members are getting involved with recruits as young as four. At this tender age, they aim to create an awareness of the water, but as children grow there are plenty of squad activities they can participate in. The Elwood Life Saving Club recently held an ironman style event for the Nippers that was purportedly a big success, promoting junior involvement with a mind to improve the level of competition within the club. For those interested in surf lifesaving or ordering a copy of the book Elwood: A Club for Life, click here.