This weekend I decided to take my family for breakfast on the beach at the Alex Head’s Surf Club. I’ve been meaning to give it a go for a long while now, ever since I noticed its breath taking position overlooking the beach and the view it awards, but didn’t realise just how beautiful it would be, or how incredible this club’s history truly is. After looking into its past I discovered this particular Surf Club to be one of the forerunners and to be rather progressive, from pioneering lifesaving techniques to gender equality on the beach.
The origins of the Club can be traced back to a group of young Woombye men in Mooloolaba SLSC, who were asked to assist in forming a Surf Club at Alexandra Headland. The club was officially formed at a public meeting at Woombye School of Arts in 1924. Mr Evan Eyre McNall was elected the club’s first president and held this position for a dedicated thirty years. Volunteers then proceeded to contribute their weekends to building a 2.5 metre by 5 metre clubhouse at a cost of 10 pounds. Today’s clubhouse stands in the same position as the original.
The next challenge was to buy lifesaving equipment. A reel and line unit was bought at a higher cost than the clubhouse (13 pounds). As the members were from Woombye, it seemed appropriate to adopt the Woombye Rugby League colours of a black stripe and gold background, which symbolises a black snake and the golden wattle.
Significant contributions to Surf Lifesaving took place over the years, such as Alexandra Headland SLSC being the first Club in Australia to host a Surf Carnival for women in 1990. Further, the Club was the base for the first Helicopter Rescue Service on the Sunshine Coast and Alex was the host for the Radio Command Centre for all Lifesaving Clubs from Redcliffe to Rainbow Beach.
Alexandra Headland continues to show initiative with the Club’s introduction of the Inflatable Rescue Boat pick up technique. Alex also employed professional lifesaving staff. Community Education and Training is an adoption of a pro-active approach with a ‘prevention’ philosophy to beach and aquatic safety’.
My kids of course snored through my recitation of these historical facts, but my wife seemed just as impressed as I was by the stories of these hallowed halls. The morning we arrived it was unusually quiet, but that’s probably because at heart we’re still city slickers, and haven’t fully adjusted to the more relaxed life style of the Sunshine Coast. We were warmly greeted at the door as we entered the large entry hall filled with memorabilia and an impressive slew of photography of history’s past. Quickly seated, we placed our orders – big, hearty breakfasts for the lads with ice cold chocolate milkshakes in tall metal containers, just as they should be – a lighter choice of poached eggs on toast and tea for the girls. Anyone can cook an egg, but to get a poached egg just right takes some skill. To get that beautiful drippy, gooey yoke to burst and ooze out of that lovely little white sack and cascade down some golden slices of toast in just the right way is the sign of a good breakfast, made so much better with some crispy bacon rashes. It was beautiful.
I knew the view would be breathtaking, but I wasn’t quite prepared for this. The window section faces out to the seemingly endless gold and white sandy beach of Alex Head, topped off with the ‘cherry’ that is the crystal clear waters of the ocean beyond, its depths obscured only by the fluffy white breaks of surf, peppered with surfers and swimmers alike enjoying some time in the water and sun.
After some time to digest our more than generous portions there was nothing else for it, we had to join in with those down there on the sand for a post-feast dip in the cool blue waters that the Sunshine Coast is so famous for. If you’re interested in its history, becoming a member or even just curious about them, see the Alexandra Headland Surf Lifesaving website.