IT WASN’T always easy to surf at Tathra Beach.
Graeme Ennis, who has written a history of the Tathra Surf Life Saving Club, believes it was in 1909 or 1910 that the Tathra Surf Life Saving Association was formed.
At that time “all persons over the age of eight years bathing in any waters exposed to public view shall be clad in a costume covering the body from neck to knee”.
There’s a photo of club members with a home-made reel dated 1912.
In December 1914, the need for having a life-line on the spot was demonstrated when a Mrs Bouquet, venturing within the swirl of an undertow, lost her equilibrium and foothold.
Seeing this, Miss Pearl Parbery hastened to the rescue, but soon got in a similar condition.
“Mr CJ Cunningham (solicitor in Bega) hastening to the former lady’s assistance, found it a more difficult undertaking that looking on, in that the lady, much excited, clasped tight hold of her would-be rescuer.
“Not allowing Mr Cunningham to save her in a legal orthodox fashion, the gentleman called lustily for a rope, but while Mr Parbery was recuing his daughter, Mr F Sturah went to the assistance of Mr Cunningham and the lady, all of whom in joint effort reached terra-firma once more as the life-line was brought on the scene.”
In the 1920s, when it is thought the above photos were taken, Tathra had about 26 houses, a few of which were holiday homes.
Most of those who came to Tathra for the surfing rode bikes or horses and would camp there for the weekend.
During World War 1 the editor of the Bega District News, WA Smith, and Jellat farmer John Taylor kept the club going.
Later on another Jellat farmer, Jack D’Arcy, played a leading part in the club.
Regular beach patrols were thought to have been held in the 1920s.
According to WA Bayley, the surf club pictured was built in 1928 and another historian said it cost 84 pounds.