Waimairi Surf Life Saving Club (Inc) Early History

The First Twenty Five years

For half a century Waimairi beach has been popular with bathers and as early as 1929 a surf club was established here. This was known as the Waimairi Beach Life Saving Club. It operated for about twelve years and went out of existence during the war. Vandals destroyed the Club premises.

Our Club

After the war, so popular did Waimairi Beach become, that a need was felt for a surf club there. This need became urgent one Saturday in 1948 when a few of the regular bathers had difficulty rescuing a young man caught in a rip.

Two Waimairi County Councilors, who had witnessed the struggle, reported the urgent need for a surf lifesaving club on the beach, with the result that the council approached the Canterbury Surf Life Saving Association and offered assistance in establishing the premises. A public meeting was called for the 7th July 1949, at which an attendance of fifty interested people discussed the formation of the club. The meeting chaired by the President of the Canterbury Surf Life saving Association, a Mr Alec Stokes, unanimously decided to establish a club and elected the first officers.

These were:
  • Patron: Mr W W Laing, Chairman of Waimairi County Council.
  • President: Mr B B Blackmore
  • Vice-presidents: Messrs. J G Ironside, D J Fyfe, E C Gough, W S McGibbon
  • Club Captain: Mr V B McKeague
  • Secretary-Treasurer: Mr A M Palmer
  • Committee: Messrs. P Church & L Voller

The First Club House

At the Club’s first meeting, a plan of a proposed pavilion was submitted by Mr George Griffiths, Patron of the Canterbury Surf Life Saving Association – a true friend of all Canterbury surf Clubs. This was, of necessity, a very modest building. The meeting also prepared a draft constitution.

When a suitable site for the new club had been chosen, a working bee was held to level it. This was attended by club and association members. Shovels, barrows and planks for the barrows to run the barrows on were used to such effect that by noon we had a base prepared for our building.

With a grant of $150 from the Waimairi county council, a donation of $10 from the Waimairi beach golf club, $100 from the Surf Association, the result of the sale of the assests of the old club and the near certainty of a grant of $200 from the Internal affairs dept, we decided to go ahead with the building. This consisted of 1 room with a shower in the corner. It was no palace, But Jim Sutherland built it for us for $347 (less than $700 in today’s money). It was “ours”, dept free and our very own. We were very proud of it, and when we had installed seats, clothes hooks, water and electric light, we had a credit balance of $6. !!