The History of Cudgen Headland SLSC Juniors

This short report has been compiled by club historian Keith Kennedy titled, from his book “Cudgen Headland SLSC 85 Years of Service 1922 – 2006”.

Cudgen Headland Juniors –

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The suggestion of forming a ‘Nipper Club’ at Cudgen was first mentioned at the 1966/67 Annual Meeting. Just a couple of meetings later the Junior Club was formed in 1966 accommodating age groups from under 8’s to under 13’s. Jack Julius was the first elected Junior President and the Kingscliff Lady Lions Club presented each of the members with a competition cap.

Neighboring Clubs at Tweed Heads & Coolangatta and Ballina followed forming Junior Clubs and on the 8th January 1967 a carnival for Nippers was held in conjunction with the Senior Carnival at Kingscliff.

By the end of that season several other clubs on the Far North Coast and in South East Queensland followed the lead and began forming in the next couple of seasons.

The Far North Coast Branch was formed in the season of 1967/68 with Noel Bulmer as founding President. Through Noel’s leadership the Nippers competed in several carnivals at Palm Beach, Byron Bay, Broadbeach and Kingscliff. Membership was growing and in the 1967/68 season Cudgen Juniors had 125 members. T shirts were ordered and made available for $1.00.

Our Junior Club flourished as did Nippers throughout the Country. In 1973/74 a National Affiliation called the National Junior Association of Surf Life Saving was formed. Minutes from that meeting indicate, “During the 1960’s responsible club officials in the various States decided to gather boys together and mould them into an organized club within their respective clubs with emphasis being placed on activities associated with Surf Life Saving”.

The Junior Surf Clubs soon became very popular and the methods and activities rapidly spread throughout Australia, resulting in the formation of Branches and in turn, State Organisations.

Our Junior Club has remained strong for 44 years. We now have generations of families that have attended Cudgen Nippers going on to patrol ours and other beaches as surf life savers.

Cudgen Nippers

Tracking our history through the Annual Reports compiled each season by the Junior President, a number of things quickly stand out, notably how proud each of the committees have been of the children and their achievements. These Junior Club reports have been received from 1968 onwards and I would like to highlight some quotes;

1969 – 70 “The juvenile section of our club continued to function with top class efficiency due to the enthusiasm of officials controlling them. Many hours of beach work and coaching has paid its dividends and all youngsters and those responsible were to be congratulated for their efforts.”

1970 – 70 “The season started with a record number of nippers attending the beach for weekly competition – the nipperettes also had a carnival at Cabarita.”

1971 – 72 “The season saw the inaugural NSW v QLD junior competition take place.”

1972 – 73 “Enrolment for the season totaled 87 boys. The foam nipper boards were introduced to carnivals this season.”

1973 – 74 “There was an increase in membership. Through the generosity of various organisations and the public a purchase of six coolite boards was made.”

1974 – 75 “Membership rose to 144 with good attendance on Sundays.”

1975 – 76 “With membership of 105 everything augered well for a successful season. A small team travelled to Bondi for the State Carnival.”

1976 – 77 “Champions were: Sub Junior Brett Jones, Junior Simon Winkler, Senior Murray Fitzpatrick, Clubman Steve Spence.”

1977 – 78 “The clubs greatest regret is that there isn’t a swimming pool at Kingscliff.”

1978 – 79 “The club registered 73, slightly down.”

1979 – 80 “… with the Kingscliff pool opened, boys who could not previously swim entered water events and came home strongly.”

1980 – 81 “The National Junior Award of Surf Life Saving was introduced in 1980. It was a graduated learning process from 7 years to 13 years to gain the Qualification Certificate SLS.”

1981 – 82 “It was to be a particularly busy season with the hosting of the NSW Titles… the first in the Far North Coast Branch… more than 3000 youngsters invaded the Kingscliff Beach.”

1982 – 83 “The Kingscliff Lions Club took over the running of the Hotel raffles for the junior club which enabled it to be in a sound financial position at the end of the season. The club continued to dominate FNC carnivals.”

1983 – 84 “Tweed Shire Council approved the extensions to the clubhouse to accommodate the junior club. However the Public Works Dept refused the application because the site was covered by the Coastal Protection Act. They said by relocating the dormitories and squash courts it would allow the existing building to accommodate the junior members. This of course was not an option.”

1984 – 85 “The Country Titles were held at Warrilla-Barrack Point and the team came home with quite a lot of medals.”

1985 – 86 “At the AGM Joyce Buchanan stood down as Treasurer after occupying that position for twelve seasons. Life membership of the Junior Club was conferred on Joyce and Eddie (Junior President for many years) Buchanan for their many years of service. Amalgamation of the Junior and Senior Club this season was still a debated question. There was nothing to stop this on a club basis with 50% of NSW clubs having done so.”

1986 – 87 “With a membership of 152 and an energetic workforce of parents and instructors everything augered well for a great season. National Award Certificates for the previous season were distributed and pool swims for the ‘S’ Badge conducted. During the season, 71 juniors gained Surf Life Saving Awards.”

1987 – 88 “Membership for the season was 86. The club made the trip to Shellharbour for the Country Titles and finished 3rd…”

1988 – 89 “The Branch Titles were hosted by Kingscliff where the club performed well..”

1989 – 90 “…the name change to Board of Junior Activity from Nippers was made nationally.”

1990 – 91 “Membership was high with 104…attendance at the Dance Club at Kingscliff High School absorbed a lot of junior attendance on Sunday mornings.”

1991 – 92 “Capitation fees were introduced by Branch…set at $8 per member.”

1992 – 93 “Kingscliff Lions made a donation of $2000 (this was an ongoing generous donation) towards travel…”

1993 – 94 “Memberships declined to 75… financial support continued from the Lions and Kingscliff Hotel.”

1994 – 95 “Club membership numbered 120.”

1995 – 96 “Again the Tweed Banana Festival was used as a means of promoting with a colorful float. Membership increased to 180. A record number of 9 were selected in the Branch Team.”

1996 – 1997 “The State Titles were held on 22-23 February… the crowd was estimated at 8,000 with 3,300 competitors.”

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1997 – 98 “…in May the club officially changed its name to Cudgen. The inaugural Kingscliff Classic was held as part of the Kingscliff Main Street Festival on the 25th October.” The Cudgen Classic was organised by a small band of workers lead by Lyndel Small, Bill & Vogue Aitken and Ken King.

1998 – 99 “The second Cudgen Classic attracted 200 starters… The senior club commenced the conversion of the squash courts which gave us space on the ground floor for storage…”

1999 – 00 “…Cudgen Classic boasted prizes to the value of $10,000. Club membership numbered 112.”

2000 – 01 “The team was returning home when the board rack snapped on the equipment trailer and the weight of all the gear forced the back doors open, spilling all the gear onto the road. This was unknown until a car flagged the bus down. After back tracking for half and hour searching both sides of the road, some of the boards were found. Unfortunately the large brand new tent worth $4000 was nowhere to be found… the club continued to compete using borrowed equipment.”

2001 – 02 “Bill Julius became the 14th person to lead the club and followed in the footsteps of his father Jack who was the inaugural president. …membership reached a record 179. Capitation fees had risen to $25 which was a big strain on finances.”

2002 – 03 “…the club dominated the Branch Championships… The club placed 1st in the country point score.”

2003 – 04 “…the Cudgen Classic, skillfully organised by Andrew Illingworth attracted record entries with ‘Infront boards’ from Shane McIntosh again the principal sponsor. Whilst the club has long been champion in beach based events this season it was proving just as unstoppable in the water. The club retained the Country pointscore.”

2004 – 05 “146 members, the Cudgen Classic now in its ninth year attracted more than 300 competitors from NSW and QLD. Marikki Watego…. named as the NSW Junior Female Lifesaver of the Year.

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2005 – 06 “The Country Championships were conducted at Woolgoolga… A squad of fifteen contested the State Titles at Cronulla. Another former Cudgen Nipper Steve Spence takes over as president from Bill Julius.

2006 – 07 “Cudgen Juniors take delivery of the best ‘Nipper Trailer’ on the FNC.

2007 – 08 “…record numbers in the younger age groups, under 6 and under 7’s.

2008 – 09 “…major reconstruction of the club including the Nipper room and canteen. Record number of junior members. Andrew ‘Mr Classic’ Illingworth hands over the Cudgen Classic after another successful event. Renovations are complete. Kaitlin Smith wins the NSW State Junior Female of the year.

2009 -10 “With renovations a distant memory the new facility is put to the test at the Cudgen Classic headed by Stuart O’Neill and Peter Gyory in perfect conditions. Cudgen Headland will host the 2010 – 2011 State Titles.”

I hope you enjoyed reading a little of the Juniors journey