A brief look at NORTH AVOCA SLSC

The Club’s history, written by our Club Historian Rick Parsons

Captain Cook sailed past in 1770, named Cape Three Points and recorded the presence of Aboriginal people in the area who were thought to be the Nora people, part of the Darkinjung Tribe.

The earliest settlers in the 1820s were not very successful until John Davis built his timber mill and blacksmithing shop in 1870. A wooden tramway up from the lake (now known as Tramway Rd) allowed bullocks to drag timber including cedar, coachwood, turpentine, blackbutt and iron barks. From the Haven they would be transported to Sydney and overseas.

The CBA bank in 1900 began to subdivide the former Davis landholdings throughout the area and was not very well planned, as is obvious to this day.

Terrigal went ahead but North Avoca remained the preserve of Aborigines, fishermen and adventurous children.

Henry Ferdinand Halloran, a wheeler dealer par excellence, built Avoca House and in the 1920s and 30s commenced subdivisions. The Second World war slowed down progress but in the late 1940s and 50s things picked up and little fibro houses started appearing in the area nearest the beach. Caravan parks grew up at both ends of the beach and a general store was established. Initially there were few permanent residents, but after a while the population began to grow.

In the 1950s all the old farms and orchards back from the beach were bought up and subdivided, again with no town planners. A legacy of awful roads with no footpaths and parks was the result.

In recent times North Avoca has been mainly made up of permanent residents apart from many of the expensive beach side properties. It has a small shopping centre, has a regular bus service and a very proud local community.

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View looking back to South Avoca from North Avoca Headland. Circa 1950

The Club

North Avoca Surf Life Saving Club was unofficially founded in 1952 in the garage of Don Davies from a desire to prevent any more tragic deaths as was experienced that same year when the two young men drowned during their after-lunch swim.

The two men got into trouble in rough waters and a third attempted to save them from drowning to no avail. Soon afterwards Joan and Don Davies left their garage for a walk and on seeing these troubled swimmers rushed to help. Applying resuscitation methods in use, “mouth to mouth” was not then practiced; Don endeavoured to revive one of them, without success.

‘The need for a Club was obvious.’

North Avoca’s Surf Life Saving Club was officially established in 1956 with Lance Dyer as its first President, Bill Shepherd as Secretary and Vivian Greer as Treasurer.

Balmain Leagues Club inspired the North Avoca Club’s black and gold colours after a donation was received from them. Our club now boasts over 500 members who still proudly wear the Black and Gold colours today.

The first Club House was an old wooden shed situated next to Ian Morrison’s garage.

The local council gave the club two vacant blocks where our club now stands and in 1963 work on the original clubhouse commenced. A contract price for 4850 pounds (approx. $9500) was awarded and the officially opened on 9th March 1966, it was valued at $25,000 at the time.

In 1964 the “Sand Crabs”- predecessors of today’s Nippers was formed. This was the first junior life saving group of its type on the Central Coast and we were the only Club from the Coast to compete in the First State Titles at Bulli Beach in 1966.

Numbers remained small over the next decade and the Club had its first surfboat donated by North Narrabeen SLSC. It was later used for a great bonfire on the beach when members couldn’t sink it! It was a little heavy needing about 20 to lift it!

The 70-80s saw an era of development and change within the club. Members from the Blacktown Swimming Club migrated each week to help with patrols…. Paul Johnson, Gordon Crabb and John Roderick were some of these travellers who eventually stayed on and are still here today, patrolling 50 years plus later.

In the early 80s with numbers still short a team from Mt Penang youths regularly mounted a patrol on NA beach on Saturdays led by Mick Kendall.

1981-82 saw the Club purchase its first IRB at a cost of $4000

The Nipper program was reintroduced under Steve Veness’s guidance in 1990 and numbers in the Club began to grow.

In the 90s the old building was condemned and North Avoca was the first club to be rebuilt with a $50,000 grant from Council . The new Club was opened by Mayor Chris Holstein on 4th Dec 1999.

The Club has continued to prosper since the opening with numbers constantly growing . The Nippers section provides a great program and continues to be a nursery for patrolling members.

The local community has always been a wonderful supporter particularly financially, thus enabling the Club to provide great facilities and support for all its endeavours.

Look back in time at some of NASLSC results as a club and North Avoca members in surf competitions

Year Event
1964 ‘Sandcrabs’ (known as Nippers today) introduced into the club as the Junior Program.
1966 First NASLSC Australian Medal – awarded to John ‘Shamus’ O’Reilly in 1966, Silver for the Pillow Fight.
1966 First NASLSC State Medal- awarded to John Morrison in 1966, Bronze for the Pillow Fight.
1967-1968 Paul Johnston & M. Chadwick were selected in the Branch Representative Team.
1972 Steven Yeo awarded Central Coast Cadet of the Year.
1974 Shamus O’Reilly awarded a Certificate Merit after being involved in a rescue which resulted in loss of life off the rocks at North Avoca.
1982-1983 Paul Johnston won gold medals in open belt, restricted surf & veteran surf races at the Branch Titles and was selected in the Branch Team to tour the USA.
1991-1992 First junior State Medallists: Silver to Bianca Johnston & Nathan Justin.
1992 Club Captain, Gordon Crabb is selected in the Branch Team touring Canada & USA.
1992-1993 North Avoca awarded 2nd place in SLSCC Club of the Year.
1995 Chantelle Veness awarded the Central Coast Cadet of the Year.
1996 Jeremy Veness awarded Central Coast Champion Lifesaver.
1996 Steve Selby, Steve Veness & Chantelle Veness all selected in the NSW State Team touring South Africa.
1996 North Avoca wins SLSCC Club of the Year and receives a new IRB.
1997 Steve Selby awarded Central Coast Surf Life Saver of the Year.
2000-2001 Andrew Pinnock wins an Australian Medal.
2001 Paul Johnston awarded Australian Sports Medal.
2006 Julie Jowett wins gold at World Champs for Beach Sprint & Flags.
2005-2006 North Avoca placed 3rd in SLSCC Club of the Year.
2005-2006 Les Sinfield wins Assessor of the Year (Central Coast Awards.
2006-2007 Julie Jowett current Club/Branch/State/Australian & World Champs holder for the beach sprint/flags in her age division.
2009 Julie Jowett wins CCSLS Master Competitor of the Year.
2010 Matt Slattery was awarded the Meritorious Award – Bravery Award for a heroic rescue in incredibly dangerous surf conditions.
2013 Matt Slattery was awarded Central Coast Surf Lifesaver of the Year.
2014 Rick Parsons was awarded Central Coast Senior Volunteer of the Year.
2015 Rick Parsons became a Life Member of SLSCC.
2016 Jodie Walker awarded SLSCC Trainer of the Year.
2017 Paul Johnson received a SLSA 50 years National Patrolling Award.
2018 John Roderick received a SLSA 50 years National Patrolling Award.
2018 Matt Slattery was awarded SLSCC, SLSNSW and SLSA Lifesaver of the Year.
2018 Darren Hutton was awarded SLSCC Patrol Captain of the Year.
2018 Paul Johnson Central Coast Council Community Volunteer of the Year.
2018-2019 Emma and Lachlan Duggan were selected for the SLSCC Interbranch team.
2019 Jodie Walker awarded SLSCC Assessor of the Year.
2020 Gordon Crabb received a SLSA 50 years National Patrolling Award.
2020 Rick Parsons received a SLSA 30 years National Patrolling Award.
2020 Kale Puata and Brooke Gillet received the SLSCC Junior Lifesaver of the Year Award.
2020 Kale Puata received the SLSNSW Junior Lifesaver of the Year Award.
2020 North Avoca SLSC was awarded 2nd place in SLSCC Club of the Year.
2020 Trina Cansick, Maggie George, Kim Findlay and Colleen Harrison were awarded SLSCC Sports Team of the Year.

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