100th anniversary – Kirra Surf Life Saving Club

2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the Kirra Surf Life Saving Club. The formation of the club was precipitated by the death of 47 year old Brisbane accountant, Robert Doran. Doran was carried away by the undertow while swimming at Kirra on January 6, 1916, despite the valiant efforts of his swimming companion, John George, head teacher of Gatton State School.

Kirra Surf Life Saving Club Kirra Beach ca. 1946. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 203635

Kirra Surf Life Saving Club, Kirra Beach ca. 1946. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 203635

To prevent further tragedies, a public meeting was held at the old Coolangatta Town Hall the following day where the decision was made to form the Kirra Surf Life Saving Club. Chairman of the meeting and mayor of Coolangatta, John Lanham was appointed President ex offico. The Brisbane Courier newspaper provided further details of the meeting –

“Two life saving reels, complete with life-line and belt, have been ordered, to be placed one on either side of Kirra Point, and, pending their arrival, the committee has made arrangements to place a temporary reel at the western side of Kirra Point at once, being enabled to do so by the courtesy of the Tweeds Heads and Coolangatta Life Saving Club, which has kindly furnished a spare line and belts.”

Surf lifesaving display, Kirra Beach 1920. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 8536

Surf lifesaving display, Kirra Beach 1920. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 8536

Scene at inspection of lifesavers Kirra Coolangatta ca. 1922. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg  202985

Scene at inspection of lifesavers, Kirra, Coolangatta ca. 1922. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 202985

Crowds of holiday makers at Kirra Beach, Queensland ca. 1923. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 185355

Crowds of holiday makers at Kirra Beach, Queensland ca. 1923. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 185355

Lifesavers from Kirra Surf Lifesaving Club 1934. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 202996

Lifesavers from Kirra Surf Lifesaving Club 1934. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 202996

Lifesaver (Max Annand) from Kirra Life Saving Club competing in a belt surf race on the Gold Coast 1940s. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 19660

Lifesaver (Max Annand) from Kirra Life Saving Club competing in a belt surf race on the Gold Coast 1940s. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 19660

State Library of Queensland hold several items related to the Kirra Surf Life Saving Club. One of the most interesting is the Arakoon magazine produced by the club between 1943 and 1948. In the first edition, dated December 25, 1943, the editors make it clear why they decided to create their own magazine, instead of contributing to the Sydney based Surf in Australia magazine, which was produced by the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia.

Cover of Arakoon. Magazine produced by the Kirra Surf Life Saving Club

Cover of Arakoon. Magazine produced by the Kirra Surf Life Saving Club

“It has been decided, by the promoters of this publication, that, since news of Qld clubs rarely appears in the Journal “SURF IN AUSTRALIA“, a magazine such as this should be produced to satisfy our needs in that direction. We cast no aspersion on the good faith of “SURF” who evidently has no space for Qld news, or the interest of our publicity officers who have not the time to send items for publication to that organisation; but we believe that a local magazine should be produced to encourage the interest of members of the Surf Movement here in Qld.”

From Arakoon. Produced by the Kirra Surf Life Saving Club

From Arakoon. Produced by the Kirra Surf Life Saving Club

Advertisements in Arakoon

Advertisements in Arakoon

The magazine contains local club news and biographies of former and past members. You can browse collection items related to the Kirra Surf Life Saving Club via our One Search catalogue.

Myles Sinnamon – Project Coordinator, State Library of Queensland