pods for primates : a catatogue of surfboards in australia since 1900
home catalogue history references appendix

kuhn : coffs harbour slsc, 1983 
Charlie Kuhn  : Coffs Harbour SLSC, 1923-1983.

Extracts from
Kuhn, Charlie:
Coffs Harbour Surf Life Saving Club - The First 60 Years, 1923-1983.
Coffs Harbour Surf Life Saving Club, NSW, 1983.

There is no metion of surfboard use by the Coffs Harbour club at any stage and the they did not acquire their first surf-skis until 1974, page 53.

Note there is certainly no mention of surfboard riding at Town Beach in 1908 as reported by Newcastle surf lifesaving historian, Chris Conrick:
"Reports of surfers using planks of wood on which to ride waves were not unknown at this time, as evidenced in the following newspaper report in 1908:-
"Board Riding Noted on Town Beach - Riders were observed using 10 feet lumps of wood to ride the waves and in this there appeared an element of danger."
[3] Coffs Harbour Advocate 22-1-1908.

- Conrick: Northern Lifesaver (1989) page 95.
In the 1920s, club member, Jack Bridges used his canoe as the duty boat at carnivals and some Sydney boardriders and surf canoe riders did appear at a carnival in 1923, pages 10 and 11.

John Bloomfied was a successful competitor for the club and after his transfer to Newcastle, page 36.
He published Know-how in the Surf in 1959
Angus and Robertson, 89 Castlereagh Street, Sydney 1959.  Reprinted 1961.

Page 10

This poster advertises a magnificient event put on by the surf club as a fund raising publicity show.
Though it was held under a gloomy sky, a total profit of (pounds) 52-7-2 was reported, a very impressive result for the period. 
Note the details of events.

Above, detail from Carnival poster, note:
"Remarkable Feats of BOARD AND CANOE RIDING of the Royal Life Saving Societies' Representative from Sydney."

Page 11

Coffs Harbour R & R team at Boxing Day Carnival 1923.
R. Moses, W. Anderson, H. Thompson, G. Smiles, J. Bridges with paddle,
R. Shanahan, W. Hoschke, E. Smiles, H. Riding.
Jack Bridges and his canoe were duty boat.

Page 19
In the early 1930-s a new surf club was started at Woolgoolga.
Coffs Harbour Club sent two demonstration teams to assist with the formation of this club.
It also assisted and encouraged the formation of a surf club at Sawtell.

At the time, the national depression was beginning to really bite and with no work and nowhere to shelter a considerable number of people camped under the forest canopy behind Park Beach.
Many joined the surf club as it was the cheapest recreation around with membership at five shillings a year and a pair of Speedo costumes - which would last almost four years and turn white from the salt water - another five shillings.

The total population of Top Town and The Jetty was about 2000, but the travellers swelled the surf club membership to 50 or so.

There were some 15 club members who lived west of Top Town, beyond Shepherd's Lane.
A few had bicycles to ride to the beach, but the majority walked down to the clubhouse and home again after their day's patrol.

Page 26

In 1936 the club secretary was authorised to investigate the purchase of a surf boat.
He found one, and on September 25 that year Clarrie Williams was requested to visit Cronulla Club and assist in the negotiations for the boat.
It cost twenty pounds, plus freight, but including oars, etc.
The surf boat arrived at Coffs Harbour as deck cargo on a steamer and was lowered into the harbour, with its club crew, who rowed her around to Park Beach.
It was the first time in a surf boat for most of the crew.

Launching Miss Park
Beach I, 1936. 

Crew at launching were: 
Alec Buchanan sweep, 
Bob Morrow, Alf Herdegen, Clarrie Braithwaite and Frank Bastian.

The boat was named "Miss Park Beach" and so began the club's entry into the surf boat arena.
The craft was a double-ender, hard chine boat, clinker on top, carvel below the chine, and painted blue and white.

A quote for a new set of oars and sweep received by the club from Mr Wattie Ford, of Balmain Road, was: Sweep; three pounds 15 shillings, oars two shillings and three pence per foot, cartage to steamer, nine pence per oar.
The first boathouse used by the club was 30 ft long, 6 ft high and 8 ft wide, made of galvanised iron.
It was a real oven and "Miss Park Beach" suffered in it.
The shed was moved to a sheltered position under some trees when the creek changed its course. Later the boat was stored in Gaffs Greek opposite Mr Deproe's home.
It was always a problem to find members to lift the boat from the water to put her away.
It was not so bad in the morning, but in the afternoon everyone seemed to have "gone home".

Page 32

(From 1945 Onwards) ...
The club did not have a boat at that time as Miss Park Beach had finally fallen apart, in spite of all that Bill King did to keep her in one piece.

Following the demise of "Miss Park Beach"; the club accepted the offer of the Mills family of the use of their fishing boat to lay the competition buoys on Sundays.
A new surf boat was ordered and the old boat shed was sold to John Lawler for twelve quid.
Mr. Humphreys, of Newcastle, built the new boat at a cost of 190 pounds.
It was delivered in October 1946, and named Miss Park Beach II.

Page 35

The main problem then - as it is today - was that the best educational and employment opportunities were in the cities, and surf clubs in the country consistently lost their members to city clubs. Amongst our club's losses were: John Mills, to Freshwater; John Loader, to ...

Page 36

... Tamarama; and John Bloomfield, to Newcastle.
John Bloomfield came to Coffs Harbour from the Kiama area with the Australian junior belt title to his name.
In his first year as a senior with our club he won the NSW senior belt championship at Byron Bay and again next year at "The Caves".
In 1953 he was 3rd in the senior belt race and a member of the R & R team that finished 3rd at Terrigal.
John won the senior belt race at the Royal Carnival at Bondi in 1954; toured with the Instructional Team to Hawaii in 1951; and was a member of the Australian team that toured South Africa in 1954.

Page 41

At a committee meeting held at the Plantation Hotel on November 3, 1955, M. Bartlett and B. Seccombe moved "that boat builders Bailey Bros. be asked to supply one cedar tuck stern surf boat with spruce oars and an Oregon sweep oar at a cost of four hundred and sixty pounds; delivery by January 5, 1956."

The new boat was delivered in March and named Miss Park Beach III.
Boat captain Boyce Seccombe was delighted with his new craft.

Page 53

Introduction of Skis.
The Paddlers.
In 1974 Peter Kennedy was appointed Club ski captain and coach and when the club purchased its first skis, champion paddler Murray Braund was engaged to conduct a weekend coaching clinic. Garry Bourne, Steve Spencer, Graham Snowden, Tony Lulham and Phil Hartmann were our first ski competitors.
Garry and Graham won NSW Country championships in their first season and Tony won NSW Country championships medals and a State silver medal during the 1976-77 season.

In 1975 Ted Janus came to Coffs Harbour from North Bondi Club and introduced some new ideas into our training methods.
It was Ted who started John Olive on his highly successful ski paddling career.

Page 57

Mike Mills-Thom was a top competitor as a cadet and junior.
His main achievements were a silver medal at the State titles in 1978-79 and a gold medal at the 1980-81 State championships.

As a cadet in the 1978-79 season John Olive won a silver medal at State level and a gold at the Australian championships in the single ski.
Phil Hartmann was John's main training partner for his first two years. In the 1980-81 season John won two Australian silver medals and two gold and one silver at State titles.

Page 58

Paul Denne proved his ability when tie won a gold and silver medal at the State titles in the 1980-81 season.

Wayne Clare, having his first season with Coffs Harbour, won three gold and one silver medals at the NSW Country Championships and three gold at the State championships.
He represented Country NSW to tour NZ, 1983.

Nick Kuhn won the Branch and NSW Country Championships in the cadet class in his first season as a ski paddler.
He has made the State final for the past two seasons and was placed 6th in the National Championships in Tasmania in 1983.

Our club has won the junior ski relay three years in succession at country championship level and two years in a row at State level.
It has also won the junior double ski three years in a row at Country level.

Page 60

First in Cadet Single Ski
Second in Junior Single Ski
Second in Junior Double Ski
First in Junior Double Ski 
First in Junior Single Ski
John Olive
John Olive
John Olive, Paul Denne
John Olive, Wayne Clare 
John Olive
Second in Junior Single Ski
Second in Junior Wave Ski
Second in Cadet Single Ski
Second Junior Single Ski 
First Junior Single Ski 
Second Junior Single Ski 
First Junior Ski Relay
First Junior Ski Relay 
First Junior Wave Ski 
First Junior Double Ski 
Tony Lulharn
Mike Mills-Thorn
John Olive
John Olive
John Olive 
Paul Denne 
John Olive, Paul Denne, Mike Mills-Thorn 
Wayne Clare, Stuart Ogilvy, John Olive
Wayne Clare
Wayne Clare, John Olive

The club's current stars are Phil and Wayne Clare, John Olive, Stewart Ogilvy, Phil Hartmann and Mike Mills- Thom in the senior ranks and Nick Kuhn in the juniors.
Wayne, John and Stewart won gold medals in three events at the Curl Curl State titles, and John won the National junior ski and with Wayne, the National junior double ski championships at Moana 1982.

Placings in major events by Coffs Harbour ski paddlers ... (not included).

Page 71

Miss Park Beach 
Miss Park Beach II 
Miss Park Beach III 
1936-44 (ex Cronulla)
Feb. 1968
Coffs Lady 
Greater Pacific 
Fairbairn Motors 
Hoey Moey Aug. 
Nov. 1973 
Sept. 1977 
1982 (ex Dixon Park)
A. Buchanan 
A. C. Bastian 
A. C. Bastian 
G. Cunningham 
J. Lawler 
J. Lawler 
J. Lawler 
R. Smith 
R. Smith 
R. Goodenough 
A. White 
W. Pearce 
G. Pike 
J. Emery 
J. Bartlett 

B. Seccombe
H. O. Bloomfield 
B. Seccombe
K. Hoschke, D. Healy 
D. Healy
J. Petersen 
I. Aldridge 
P. Makinson 

P. Makinson 
C. Cunningham
G. Thorn 
C. Cunningham 
C. Cunningham 
A. Maxwell, D. Pickering 
C. Prescott 
J. Petersen 
J. Petersen 
A. Maxwell 
G. Thorne 
G. Thorne 
J. Rasmus 
J. Rasmus 
76- 77
78- 79
IRBs - Jaycee Joe 1974. Vogels Invincible 1982.

Kuhn, Charlie:
Coffs Harbour Surf Life Saving Club - 
The First 60 Years, 1923-1983.
Coffs Harbour Surf Life Saving Club, NSW, 1983.


Return to Surfer Bio menu
home catalogue history references appendix

Geoff Cater (2008) : Charlie Kuhn : Coffs Harbour SLSC, 1983.