A Chronological outline of the history of Henley Surf Lifesaving Club

Many thanks to Mr Barry Duhne, whose input provides for this consolidation of the history of our club   


The club enters its eightieth year of operations and it was fitting that it should also win  the State Patrol efficiency competition during this year 

Looking back we can now see the many benefits of a strong Junior section in the club. 

Many past members have returned with their children and they, along with some of the other Junior parents are now taking administrative, officiating or coaching roles within the club. Many parents have also received their Bronze medallions, and now take an active role in both patrols and competition. There is also a stream of former nipper members who have stayed with the club over many years and now play an active role in the club’s administration 

Mark Travers, Jane Dewar, Lindy Foureur, Anthony Tammita, Michael Domarecki, Matteo Simone, Sam Fielder, Tony Tammita, Lee-Anne Folkers, Chris Sheehy, Mike Ruygrok, Aaron Lewis, Shelley Nelson, Jamie Butterfield, John Foody, Phil Hogan, Scott Mather, Michael Finnis, Ken Heaver, Gary Davis and Steve Moore are just a few that are helping to now shape the future of our club. 

Greg Fletcher was appointed a Life Member of the club 


The Henley Surf Lifesaving Club was founded following a meeting in the Henley Town Hall on the 1st October when a motion was put by Mr. Dan Dineen that the club is called "The Henley Lifesaving Club". This was to become the first lifesaving club in South Australia and Mr. H. Hannan was elected to be the first President and Dan Dineen the first Club Captain.

Control of Lifesaving in those days was with the Royal Lifesaving Society of SA and the clubroom was a small disused old concrete boat shed just North of the Henley jetty.

The official opening of the club and the clubrooms was conducted on the 21st November 1925 by the Chief Secretary the Hon. J. Jelley MLC.




Mr. Cyril Chambers was presented with the Club's first Life Member's certificate and Malcolm Clode received a medal for meritorious performance.

The following is an extract from the Register News printed in February 1930.

"There is something almost God-like about the ability to restore life to someone who is apparently dead. Who would not envy the feelings of Malcolm Clode, the Henley lifesaver whom, having rescued a boy from the sea on Sunday was able, by means of artificial respiration, to bring him back to life. There was no miracle about it, but the effect of what Clode did was just as good as though a miracle had actually been performed. In other words, the boy would almost infallibly have died if there had been no one at hand to apply to him the proper means of resuscitation. In that sense, quite apart from the fact that he had already saved him from certain death in the water, Clode was able almost literally to give the boy back his life. This sort of thing is happening almost every day. It was Clod’s eleventh rescue, and a mere incident in the great work of life-saving; but cases like this ought to drive home the lesson that the ability to swim, and to save those that cannot swim is worth learning. There is nothing else so altogether worthwhile which it is easier and more pleasant to learn."


It was following a holiday by Alan Banister in Sydney, where he was successfully examined for his Surf bronze, that an examiner was sent from Sydney to successfully examine 14 Henley club candidates for their bronze medallion. Those candidates were Bruce Christian, Gordon Elliot, Jim Fischer, Jim Doherty, Maurie Oliver, Lance Calnan, Keith Coulter, Jack Manning, "Punch" Matthews, Fred Hill, Beau Fuss, Alan Hallett, Ced Hele, and Jim Carpenter. Alan Banister gained his instructors certificate.




The first record of the club competing in Surf, when an invitation was extended to the club by SLSA-A to send a team to the Australian Interstate and Interdominion Championships held at Manly and Bondi on February 19th and 26th of that year.

The following members were elected for the competition. Cedric Hele (Capt.), Alan Banister, Clive Calnan, Lance Calnan, Keith Coulter, Jim Doherty, Beau. Fuss, Gordon Elliot, Alan Hallett, Bob Lucy, Fred Hill, Alan McDonough, Don McGarry, and Ross Strang (Manager). Five more members gained their bronze medallion and another two their instructors certificate whilst in Sydney.

Prior to the trip to Sydney on January 22nd the Club christened the first surfboat to come to SA "A.W. Jolly" in honour of the club's Patron, a gentleman who had supported the club financially from its earlier days. This craft gave excellent service until she took an unauthorised, misguided trip through the jetty and was declared unseaworthy in 1946. It was sold to a fisherman for the equivalent of $2.10.


The club had a set back resulting from an agreement between the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia and the Royal Lifesaving Society which denied the clubs affiliation with the SLSA-A and gave sole lifesaving administration in SA to the Royal Life Saving Society.



Undaunted by this set back, in 1941 another 14 members obtained their bronze medallions and another two their instructor’s certificates following a trip to Sydney.


Due to World War II in the period 1939 to 1943 competition between clubs was suspended to allow members to volunteer for service. Thirty-eight of the club's active members enlisted in the fighting forces.


During this season the Henley Women's Lifesaving Club was formed and affiliated with the Royal Lifesaving Society

The Club's 25th Annual Report reported the purchase and christening of its second surfboat "A.W. Jolly II", the cost of which was just less than 290 pound ($580). Plans were also in hand to raise money to build a new two-storey clubroom.


A great achievement during this season saw the Henley club gain more awards than any other club in Australia.




It followed that The SA State Centre was formed on 1st October 1952 and simultaneously the Royal Lifesaving Society relinquished control of all lifesaving clubs along the South Australian coastline.

In this same season, Frank Tucker, Laurie Bailey, Len Tucker and Clive Calnan become the first members to be selected in a "Surf" lifesaving state team to represent South Australia.


1953 saw Tom Jennings selected to be South Australia's first representative in an Australian Instructional Team when he toured Hawaii.

That same year the building plans were put on hold as the donation of a 35ft. x 16ft. Nissen hut by the Henley & Grange Council was accepted and become the new home of the club during November 1953


This season celebrated 30 years of saving lives at Henley Beach and the following letter from the club's founder, Dan Dineen expresses his pride at the Surf Life Saving movement in SA.

‘On the 21st Nov. 1925, the official opening of the Henley Life Saving Club was conducted, and we had the pleasure of having the Chief Secretary, the late Hon. J. Jolly in attendance. Questions were asked about the efficiency of the members and the gathering was told that it was our aim to become as efficient as the Lifesavers of N.S.W.

Now 30 years later I am proud of, and thankful to see, a club affiliated with the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia, not only this, but for the State to have its own State Centre is more than the realisation of my dreams.

To the forming of the State Centre, and the affiliation of the club to the Surf Life Saving Ass. I wish to pay tribute to the work of the Henley Club and in particular to Messrs. C. Fielder and M. Butterfield. It was through their very great efforts that this State has been recognised by the National Council of the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia.’ 

The club moved its new home (the Nissen hut) from the northern side of the jetty to a position south of the swimming pool. This site did not last long and during the season the shed was demolished and the foundations were laid for the new clubrooms, which are still being used today.


The Mayor of Henley & Grange, Mr. D.J. Newlands ESQ. JP opened the new clubrooms.on the 18th November 1956.

Len Tucker represented Australia at an international championship at Torquay, Victoria.


Murray Garretty, representing Henley, won the Australian open Surf Race Championship at Bondi making him the first South Australian ever to win an Australian title.


Tony Park was selected in the Australian team to visit New Zealand.


Club Founder Dan Dineen passed away during the 1962/63 season having continued to be involved with the club since 1925.




Henley won a silver medal in the Australian R & R competition in Collaroy coached by David Hemsley.

Members Merve Butterfield, Charles Fielder and Norm Tucker were appointed Life Members of the Surf Life Saving Association - SA State Centre


Graham "Butch" Payze was selected in the Australian team to tour the United States of America and Phil Carter set a new record of patrolling the beach for 102 hours in a season.

The number of lives that had been saved since foundation stood at 630.

Henley 3rd in the Australian R & R blue ribbon event in Western Australia.


Barry Duhne was selected in the Australian team to tour New Zealand


Ten members were called up to do Military service in Vietnam, and sadly one of our members, Errol Noack became the first South Australian to be killed in action.

Hot showers and toilet facilities were built into the men's changing rooms.


During this season, a roof was built over the sun deck thus giving the members a recreation area above the change rooms. The "Top Room" was opened on 6th December 1969 and became the first licensed bar facility in any life saving club in Australia. John Davis was the first Top Room Manager.


Henley won the Open Boat title for the first time at the 1969/70 State Titles


A system of portable look out towers was used for patrolling at Henley and Laurie Bailey retires after 14 years as club Treasurer..


Henley wins the Wales patrol efficiency competition for the first time and David Hemsley is appointed a Life Member of the Surf Life Saving Association - SA State Centre.




Darryl Walker toured South Africa with the Australian Surf Life Saving Team.

Henley wins a new surf boat "Golden Jubilee"

Jim Doherty is appointed a Life Member of the Surf Life Saving Association - SA State Centre.

The club is presented with the original Ampol shield in recognition of having won this perpetual trophy for R & R competition on 20 consecutive seasons.


Club members have been patrolling the beach at Henley for fifty years.

During this time no life had been lost while members were on duty. 654 lives have been saved.

Lloyd Harvey retires as club President after seven years at the helm.

Henley wins the Wales patrol competition again. A three-wheeled motor cycle is donated to the club and Henley becomes the first club in the state to use mobile patrols.


Rodney Hill passes the 1000 personal patrol hour milestone and is chosen as the state's inaugural "Life Saver of the year".


Female change rooms were finally built in the northwestern corner of the hall.


Jan Duhne became the first female to gain her bronze Medallion.




Major building extensions began on the northern end of the old clubrooms. The extensions, costing in excess of $160,000 encompassed a new boat shed, patrol and first aid room, gymnasium facilities and an open-air entertainment area. The gymnasium was dedicated to the memory of Bob Barnes.


The official opening of the building extensions took place on the 11th December 1982.


The club completed its 60th year of voluntary service and Jim Doherty reached the milestone of having given 50 years service to the club.

The death of Sir Adrian Curlewis was recorded during this same year after having served the Association for 62 years, 42 as the National President.

"Super Sid" donates the first IRB (Rubber Duckie) to the club.

Barry Duhne is appointed a Life Member of the Surf Life Saving Association SA State Centre.





The hall section of the clubrooms was declared unsafe and the Henley & Grange Council rejected any proposal for the club to repair or rebuild on the beachfront. Several sites were inspected but considered unsuitable for the Club's relocation.

The following season Sally Trodd is elected as the first female Club Captain and the Henley & Grange Council has put forward a relocation plan for the club to move to the Henley square area just north of the jetty.

Council reneged on the relocating plan during the following year and other options were being pursued as a matter of urgency.


The ‘Nippers’ are back training at Henley after a ten-year absence.

Bulldozers move in and demolish the hall section of the club.





It was still to be another two years before news of a Government building grant bought to fruition the further building extensions, which were opened on the 22nd October 1995.

1995 was also the year that Jim Doherty celebrated 60 years of continuous service to the club.


At the 1996/97 State titles 15 year old Lindy Foureur wins the under 16, under 18 and open beach flags event.

The Junior section continues to expand.

Twelve months later and the Henley swimming pool are demolished and a rock wall is positioned in front of the clubrooms.

The family of one of the club's founding members donated funds, which allowed the upstairs kitchen to be fully equipped.

The Kitchen was dedicated to the memory of Cedric Hele, Life Member and Club Captain from 1928/29 to 1931/32, Vice Captain 1933/34 to 1934/35.





The year 2000 bought with it the 75th Anniversary of the club and celebrations were planned for the weekend of 30th October. The main function was a dinner at the Woolshed at West beach which was attended by over 200 past and present members. The book "First to the Buoys" A history of the Henley.

The book "First to the Buoys" A history of the Henley Surf Lifesaving Club was also released on that occasion and is now available at $25.00 a copy


After the successful 75th year celebrations the club entered the new millennium with added vigour, under the leadership of new club captain, Bill Hoey. President Gary Kirwan had been transferred to Victoria and was replaced by Joe Bayer. Membership continued to grow as a result of the revitalised junior section and had reached 170 by season end. There were 17 new bronze medals awarded during the season.

1930 patrol hours were undertaken and there were two major rescues, 70 of a minor nature and 166 preventative actions taken by patrols on the beach. Trading in the Top Room reached an all time high due to Dave Hemsley's management and by having the room open 6 days a week Teresa Daveron was appointed a Life Member


The season saw the purchase and christening of the new surfboat, the "Fitzy" and also the purchase of three new skis to add to the craft fleet. The club was recognised during the season as the 2002 champion ski club of SA

Danny Hall undertook 131.25 hours of patrol duties. Life Memberships were bestowed on Lloyd Oaten, Gary Fazzalari and John Foody


Neville Fielder was appointed Club President and immediately he needed to tackle the on going problem of the location and future of the clubrooms. The City of Charles Sturt has suggested amalgamation of the clubs in the area and the removal of the current building,

Again the junior section continued to grow under the leadership of John Foody and his band of helpers and their efforts were shown in the success that they had at inter club competitions

Mike Finnis gained his Bronze Medallion, Level 1 Surf Coach award, Advanced Resuscitation Certificate, Training Officer - Bronze Medallion, Training Officer - Resuscitation, Examiner - Bronze Medallion, Examiner - Advanced Resuscitation, and the Senior First Aid Certificate. Had he not broken his leg during IRB training the day prior to the examination he would also have gained his IRB Drivers Certificate

Skye Davoren - Searcy was selected in the State Development team, and Kate Barclay was selected in the National Kayak Squad. David Fourier was appointed coach of the Australian Junior Kayak Team and Jason Burton was selected as the Junior Club Lifesaver of the Year.

The Dave "Happy" Hemsley surfboat was christened.


2003 – 2004

During this season the club developed a strategic plan that set goals, and mapped out the direction the club should travel over the next 10 years in regards to finances, membership, competition and of course the clubrooms 

Membership continued to grow both at senior and junior levels. 

There are now 137 registered Juniors (Nippers) and they finished fourth in the State Titles. 

Zoe Duffy was selected in the SA Junior Representative team. 

Kate Barkley was selected in the Australian team to compete in Kayaks at the Athens Olympics and David Foureur was appointed the National Kayak Coach 

George King was elected a Life Member of the club. 



The club proudly celebrated  the completion of its 80th year of service to the community A  dinner was held to mark the occasion at AAMI stadium and over 200 past and present members attended. 

The highlight of the evening was a video message from Alan and Bob Lucy who had joined the club in 1925 and 1926 respectively. 

We took the delivery of a  Yamaha all wheel drive vehicle early in the season allowing patrols to more affectively cover the area from the Torrens Outlet in the South, through to Reedie Street in the North. 

Building plans for a new building have been drawn up and an estimate of the cost is around two million dollars. 

There were 82 awards gained during the season of which 27 were Bronze Medallions.  

Barry Duhne was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his service to Surf Lifesaving in SA 


New clubrooms are moving closer to fruition with the announcement that the Council had approved $75,000 in its budget to assist with preliminary design and specifications. 

The club organised a boat row from Stansbury, across Gulf St Vincent to Henley Beach. Called the BENDIGO BANK HENLEY SLSC BIG ROW it proved to be a huge success, raising in excess of $40,000 which was allocated to the building fund 

Jim Doherty was recognised during the year for his 70 years service to this club and also for his 50 years service as an official at a National level 

A record 129 awards were gained during the year which was a testimony to the many hours put in by Tony Tammita, Paul Leonard, Cec Owens and Leah Panakera–Thorpe, who shared the instructing roles. 

The HET programme (Henley Extreme Team) which was established and led by Andrew Hall has been very successful. This is a group of teenagers’ in transition between Juniors and Seniors that compete together at carnivals and have organised camps and learn the responsibilities of leadership.  

Neville Fielder was appointed Life Membership of the club.


Participants, after completing the Bendigo Bank Henley SLSC Big Row


A record 39 members gained their Bronze Medallion this year. 

While the City of Charles Sturt has budgeted $900,000 towards the cost of the new clubrooms, there is now concern being expressed by some authorities  the club’s location and the affect that rising tides may cause in the future. 

Another Bendigo Bank Big Row was held during the years, raising a further $44,000 towards the building fund 

Daniel Sheehy and Miles Davis were selected in the State Team  

Tom Jennings retires from the position of Club Patron after 15 years of invaluable service in that role. 

Barrie Cole was appointed Life Membership of the club.



After so many years it has finally been announced that the Clubrooms will soon be demolished and a new building will be built on the current site. 

Plans have now been finalised and submitted to the appropriate authorities, and it is expected that next season will see the club operating from shipping containers and make shift premises. 

A site has been leased on Henley Beach Road where equipment can be stored while the 12 month building programme takes place. 

There were many other highlights during this season, our patrols having recorded 40 successful rescues. 

The club welcomed new leaders taking on major roles in the club like Roy Menner, Mark Frances, Tom Lanyon and Dean Woods. 

In total, 174 members undertook patrol duties during the summer 

The Bendigo Bank Big Row continued to be an outstanding success and over $50,000 was raised on the third crossing of Gulf St. Vincent 

Andrew Lanyon won a Gold medal in the Tube Race and a Silver Medal in the Iron Man race at the Australian Championships in the 50-55 year age group 

Daniel Sheehy was selected in the State Team winning the beach sprint and the U19 crew of Kevin Fitzgerald (sweep) Daniel Travers, Daniel Murdock, Jake Fitzgerald and Jack Foody were selected in the State Team for surfboat rowing.