Sandringham Beach circa 1915

Sandringham Life Saving Club celebrated our centenary in 2017.

The first committee meeting of Sandringham Life Saving Club was held on the 18th of January 1917 in the Supper Room of the Sandringham Hall. More than 100 years later, the club is still providing a volunteer service that is aimed at keeping members of the Sandringham community safe in the aquatic environment.

Sandringham Life Saving Club was formed following a motion made by Mr G. Cole and seconded by Mr Turnbull, with the club to be affiliated with the Royal Life Saving Society, Victorian Branch. The members of the first committee of Sandringham Life Saving Club (elected on the 24th January 1917) were:

  • Patron: Sir John Madden
  • President: Dr. G. Leary
  • Vice Presidents: Vr Snowball, J Boyd, Dr. Adam, Dr. Christian, H. Hetherington, Mr Sayle, Mr London, Mr Weston, Mr Fortune, Mr Farrant, Cr Eggleston, Mr Matthews, Mr Toohey and Mr Simpson.
  • Hon. Secretary: G. Cole
  • Assistant Secretary: F. Walker
  • Hon. Treasurer: Mr Grieve
  • Commitee: Mr Turnbull, Mr Marsh, Mr Bromley, Mr Solomons, Mr McGain, Mrs Bromley and Mrs Robinson. 

Thank you to the Sandringham & District Historical Society for providing these Vintage photos of our club.

Early History

As provided by the Sandringham & District Historical Society.

The Sandringham Life Saving Club is said to have been started by seventeen year old Johnny Ziegler and twenty-one year old Bill Neylan. It was a hot January day in 1917 when the cry went out, “People drowning!”. Johnny raced out of Tom Jones Barber Shop in Melrose Street and across the Road to the beach where he helped to save three lives. 

A public meeting was held to discuss forming a lifesaving club and by August 1917 an enthusiastic band of volunteers were busy building a clubhouse under the planning and supervision of Mr Harold Pumphrey. 

By September 1918 at the 2nd Annual Meeting, it was reported that the club had 399 members. The new clubhouse was valued at £450 and was the best in Victoria. A piano had been purchased to help with the social life of the club and 20 members had secured awards from the Royal Life Saving Society. It was compulsory for each member to join classes and instruct duties. Those not able to do water work could be instructed in resuscitation.  

The Club held water carnivals and gave lifesaving demonstrations on Boxing Day each year and by 1921 the CLub won the Victorian Championships. By July 1922, the Club had a large lecture hall and three dressing rooms with showers. They had first aid equipment, stretchers, surf reels and a diving stand, all which had been acquired by the voluntary efforts of members. 

On the 30th of August 1923, the phenomenal success of the Sandringham Life Saving Club was acknowledged at the Melbourne Town Hall, where the Governor General presented Junior Surf Rescue Championship awards and the Premiership Certificate, awarded by the Royal Life Saving Society for the highest number of awards during the season.

By the 1950s, Sandringham Beach had bathing boxes.