Lawrence F. Bond is a life member of Fairy Meadow Surf Lifesaving Club. Better known by members as ‘Lou’, Lou joined our club in the season of 1957/58 and has remained an active member since. The following is a history of Fairy Meadow SLSC according to Lou Bond.

A History of Fairy Meadow Surf Lifesaving Club according to Lou Bond.

Fairy Meadow Surf Life Saving Club was founded in 1950 by a group of local residents, to safe guard the people of Fairy Meadow and the Balgownie areas, that swum at our beach. They, the members, walked each Sunday to North Wollongong beach to borrow a surf reel and take it back again in the evening. Their first surfboat was an old Clinker built double-ended boat also acquired from North Wollongong Club.

In the off-season this boat was left submerged in Fairy Creek to prevent the boards from shrinking so when it was pulled out at the start of summer it didn’t leak. It weighed a ton and took around ten or more blokes to lift it.

The first president was Mr. Edwin Dennet, who after a couple of years’ service suffered ill health and resigned. Mr. Bill Grimshaw then was made President with Mr. Leith (Snowy) Herbert and his wife Secretary. The Treasurer was Mr. Terry Murphy and Club Captain was Mr. Barry Fletcher. That’s how it was when I joined one sunny summer Sunday morning 1957/58 season.

The clubhouse was an old brick and corrugated iron boat shed with two swinging doors and it had a very small canteen attached to the southern side. It could fit one boat and some oars in the roof struts and had one small shower up the back right hand comer. It was situated on the edge of the beach on the right hand side of the walkway that runs down to the beach directly in front of our present day club. It was a sad day when we knocked it down.

Our first Ambue Mannequin for resuscitation training was donated by the Balgownie Migrant Hostel in 1959/60 at a formal function. Bill Grimshaw, Leith Herbert, Barry Fletcher were present and were handed the Mannequin by the secretary of the hostel committee Mr Tom Matthias. It was later used by chief instructor Peter Pirnke to train bronze squads.

In the season of 1960 BP ran a patrol competition with a Surfboat the BP Princes as first prize. With only about seven or eight active members Fairy Meadow managed to win their first ever-decent competitive surfboat. The branch official was Mr Milton Stoyles. The Patrol members last quizzed were Peter Pimke, Lawrence Bond, Milton Turk and Howard Grimshaw. Bond was asked the last three questions. They were answered correctly and Fairy Meadow won on a count back by half a point from North Wollongong. Bond also received Clubman of the Year that season.

The following year Fairy Meadow once again won the competition receiving another boat called The BP Prestige. The year after that they were runners up, winning a blazer, which was presented to Mr. Barry Armstrong for winning Clubman of the Year 1963, and I’d say he still treasures it.

In 1962, sweep Barry Fletcher trained the junior boat crew of Ron (Mick) Patrick, Ray Sampson, Hans Kampen, and Allan Hammond using the BP Princes and had eleven wins and two seconds out of thirteen starts for the season. At the nationals in Warrnambool, that year, they were leading the semi by a mile on the way back but were interfered with by a tail ender and knocked out of the final. A protest did no good.

Over the next fifteen or twenty years numbers fluctuated up and down, at one stage down to about four or five members possibly Barry Armstrong, Les Herbert Harry Droken, Jeff Banks and Lawrence Bond. In that time three serious rescues were preformed needing resuscitation. A little baby girl, Sheryl Grimmer, was abducted from the beach in the late sixties but even after many hours of searching by many people she was never ever found.

Though through the years numbers weren’t always big, camaraderie was, and many sand dances and kegs were held in the old boat shed. Some amusing events that happened at these times I’ve immortalised in a number of poems I’ve written. (We hope to share these poems with you soon).

Some of the members that helped shape our club back then and over a number of years were Milton (Milo) Turk. George Ovens, John Woodbury, Terry, Robbie and Steve Dowel, Mick Smithson, Keith (Leaky) Murray, Johnny (Mo) Split, Keith Guy, Bob White, Paul (Speed )Parkinson, Peter and Howard (Piggy) Grimshaw, Peter Simpson, Brian Easterbrook, Ray, Barry and Bruce Sampson, (Sambo), Peter (Stinky Pinky) Pirnke, Terry McGovern, Ron McKinnon, Hans Kampen, Ron (Mick) Patrick.

Les (Herbo) Herbert -served a spell as President, Robert Rich- President a number of years, Billy Pender, Gordon Pender, Richard (Chop-Chop) Errey, Robby (Scotty) McPherson, Mick Browbank, Ernie (Spider) Kurtz, Donny Tweddle, Warren Cram, Stan Woods, Barry (The Slug) Western, Will Pierce, Neil (Boong) Morgan, Geoff (Bluey) and Ricky (Camel) Dennis, Barry (Army) Armstrong, Harry (Safari) Droken, Rex and Baden Perkins, Dave (Surfer Dave) Fetters, Max Belfour. Kerry Turk, Barry, Terry and Kevin Strangman, Barry was President through the sixties to the early seventies, Peter Watson- Club Captain a number of years, Ian Errey, Des Hampson, Evan and Susie Stillwell, Jack Dawson (came from Woonona), Craig and Kevin Delaney, Garry (Java) Goward, Hector Frigo, Peter, (Buster) Bob and Mick Boyle, Katrina and Glynn Forbes, John, Scott and Louise Allen, Allan (Tex) Morton, Allan Hammond, Rob (Tic) Latter, Gus Viscos, Saba (Sash) Manolavic, Brian and Mick Homes, and Barry Adams- President for a time.

Young Brad Poland came in later and now is our current President and has held that position for a number of years (Brad Poland held the position of President until 2011 before handing over to Ermes Raccanello, who remained in the role for 4 years. Tony Chapman became our next president holding the position for 5 years before handing over to Bill Kuiper in 2020), and of course Lawrence (Lou) Bond who served as club delegate for many years, as well as Honorary Coach, Publicity Officer and Gear Steward plus a term as Vice Club Captain in 1983 and Club Captain in 1984 Was made a life Member 1990 and along with wife Jeanette was Junior Chairman from 1990 to 2000. Has patrolled for an unbroken fifty-five years being presented with the fifty years patrolling award by the National Board of Surf Life Saving’ in 2008 and has competed and marched for forty seven years with the club banner. (Still at it) In those years Meadow’s march past teams at Branch have won five bronzes and one silver. Some other junior chairmen over the years have been Mrs. Hazel Poland (who first started with the help of Les Herbert and Lawrence Bond, the Fairy Meadow Seals Junior Club), Bruce Allan, Kevin Locke, Jeff Banks, Hamish Brown, Vicky Sawyer and Bill Kuiper. Our present day Junior Chair Person is Michelle Franklin who is doing a great job handling around a hundred Juniors-boys and girls (Since then the role of Junior Chair Person has been held by Scott Allan, Graeme Eagleton, Craig Warburton and is currently run by Glenn Turner with the assistance of Craig Warburton).

Through the nineties we had some great junior competitors. Rachel Sawyer did well in the flags winning, I think, one or two golds at the Branch Championships. Angela Romanovski, also in the flags, won four gold and one silver at Branch over five years. Andrew Brown won the flags and the sprint at Branch, as well as, gold in the flags at the State Championships on Thirroul Beach. Greg Lynch won gold at the McDonalds Carnival in the sprint, as well as, gold in the flags and the sprint at the Branch and was in the relay team with Andrew Brown, Cory Lesso and Natalie Watson that won gold at the McDonalds.

Due to the persistent efforts of Barry Strangman, Leith Herbert, Terry Murphy, Barry Fletcher and a number of dedicated building committees, the first floor of our new club was opened in nineteen sixty-four. It was opened by Judge Sir Adrian Curlewis, who was patron of Australian Surf LifeSaving

Some years later, nineteen eighty, the club was widened, then once again due to a number of keen committees and the dogged persistence of one man, the then secretary, Michael Bate, our second story and our club was completed. It was opened in nineteen eighty-three this time by Politician and the then speaker for the House of Representatives Laurie Kelly. Judge Adrian Curlewis was again in attendance as was the Wollongong Lord Mayor Frank Arkell. Some months after this event sadly Judge Adrian Curlewis passed away-a great man.

Other members that have made an impression in more recent years not only as members but also competitors are Rob (Borpa) Belavic, Derek and Gareth Morton, David, Anisa, Karen, Michael and Penny Locke, lan Timbrel, Terry Westblade, Dave Raymond (Fresh Water open surf winner), Lisa Norris (Bronze and silver in national ladies surf), John Russell (silver in the national cadet flags- first ever for the Meadow), Mark Paterson (silver, state junior Iron man at Wanda Beach), John (Coco) Wakeford (won Branch champs junior beach sprint at Stanwell Park), Les Herbert (long time boat sweep steers his B crew to a win in branch final on Fairy Meadow Beach), Shaun (Double-0) Connolly, John Wiseman and Brian Holmes, train R&R teams that win nine branch gold’s in two seasons.

But, one man who joined around 1961 Jeff (Golly) Banks is undisputedly the best and most consistent competitor Fairy Meadow has ever produced winning numerous medals in open carnivals and in more recent years in masters’ events. At the 1990 East Coast Masters with Lou Bond He won the 0/45 board rescue Lou winning the 0/50 surf- Jeff the 0/45 tube and silver in the 0/45 surf. Then in 1997 at the state Masters at Mollymook Jeff and Lou managed silver this time in the 0/45 board rescue. Since then in masters events Jeff Banks has gone from strength to strength winning a number of gold, silver and bronze at branch, state, national, and world championships in surf, ski, board, tube, and board-rescue with Noel Gracie and iron man races. He’s also won medals competing in Royal Life Saving events and in 2004 /5 season he was awarded the Masters Competitor of the Year by the Illawarra Branch of Surf Life Saving.

Golly Banks & Lou Bond

In 1989 he competed around the national triathlon circuit winning the national 0/40-point score, contested the Foster Tuncurry triathlon and qualified for Hawaii. He also competed in and finished the twenty-six-mile Sydney Marathon. Back about that time in still water swimming he was rated No. 10 in the world for eight hundred free style 0/45 and to this day is still at it (In 2020 Golly Banks continues to train and compete).

The Illawarra Rescue Helicopter was stationed at Fairy Meadow Surf Club for some years but disbanded not long after a fatal crash that killed Towradgi member, Tommy Thompson. The helicopter hit power lines and went down while transporting a seriously ill pregnant woman to hospital.

A few years ago a reunion was held at the Collegian’s Leagues Club organised by Les Herbert, Hans Kampen and Barry Armstrong. A great night was had by all with many old mates meeting up after quite a long absence. A Sports Man’s Dinner was held at The Fraternity Club where champion footballer Wally Lewis was guest speaker.

Over the last five or ten years-maybe because a bloke getting older and doesn’t party as much as he once did – time seems to have just flown by. I’m still though doing laps and cycling twice a week and patrolling Sundays, so I must be still enjoying it.

Our present President Brad Poland for the last number of years has been running a steady ship and also handling house manager’s job, where he handles all the functions that are held in our beautiful function hall – weddings, engagements, twenty firsts, birthdays etc plus the odd ‘Tupper Ware party which continue to bring a steady stream of revenue. In 2011 After seventeen odd years Brad Poland stood down as President and Ermes Raccanello is now Fairy Meadow S.L.S.C President. Jeremy Kuiper Is Club Captain and in season 2011-12 he was awarded Illawarra Lifesaver of the year and NSW Lifesaver of the year. Jeff (Golly) Banks Keeps on competing winning nine gold medals at the world Surf Masters at New Zealand 2017 and was named Illawarra competitor of the year. His team mates Noel Gracie & Bob Hodges also won a number of gold silver and bronze. Jeff also won a number of medals at the state and branch championships as well as clubman of the year at our club Fairy Meadow for the umpteenth time in 2018. Ermes Raccanello retired as president and Tony Chapman took on the job. Scott Allan and his wife Karen handle the reception room weddings and party’s etc. Lawrence (Lou) Bond was presented a gold Lapel Badge by the national Surf Life Saving Association of Australia for sixty years of beach patrol and He’s still doing it.

In 2021, June 14. Lou was awarded a Queens Birthday Order of Australia Medal. Recognising his outstanding contribution to Surf Lifesaving and his local community. Below is an article from the local Newspaper detailing Lous achievement.

Illawarra Mercury Monday 14th June 2021

So, when having a hot shower or using the gym or having a VB upstairs at the bar or using a board, ski or rowing a boat, give a thought to all those blokes above that went before. And look after and enjoy our great Club- Fairy Meadow.

Lawrence Bond OAM. Picture taken from the Illawarra Mercury 2021