Australian Surf Lifesaving Handbook, 19th Edition; Kenny & Watson; 1954; 2014.03


Port Macquarie Museum


Australian Surf Lifesaving Handbook, 19th Edition

About this object

This 19th edition of the Handbook of Instruction and Examination, known as the “Blue Book,” was issued in 1954 by the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia and was owned by a local Port Macquarie resident, Ronald Bruce Meehan who obtained his Surf Life Saving Instructor’s Certificate in 1956.

Ronald obtained his Bronze Medallion in Surf Life Saving in 1950 when he was a member of the Crescent Head Surf Club. He moved to Port Macquarie in 1956 and was an active member of the Port Macquarie Surf Club for many years, serving as an Instructor and as Club Captain from 1964 until 1966.

The first Handbook, issued by the Surf Life Saving Association of New South Wales was printed in 1921 and subsequent Handbooks have been regularly revised as new procedures and equipment have been developed. The current “Blue Book” is known as the “Public Safety and Aquatic Rescue 34th Edition Manual” and was updated in July 2014.

Surfing became part of our national culture in 1902 when a local Manly resident defied the law of the time which prohibited surf bathing during daylight hours. As others followed and daylight bathing grew in popularity, the dangers of the surf became evident, so small groups of experienced and regular surfers began to form themselves into groups to assist those who needed to be rescued from their unfamiliar environment.
The first official Surf Life Saving Club, the first in the world, was founded at Bondi Beach in 1906, then in 1907 the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia was formed and groups were quickly established in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong.

The first surf club to be established on the mid north coast was in Port Macquarie in 1910. It was known as the Port Macquarie Surf Bathers’ Club and operated on Town Beach for a number of years, but it was not until 1923 that formal instruction in surf life saving methods, and examinations for Instructor’s Certificates, were conducted. The present Port Macquarie Life Saving Club was formed in 1929 and examinations for Awards and Instructors’ Certificates have been held regularly since that time.

In order to keep our beaches safe, lifesavers patrol most of the accessible beaches along the NSW coastline from September to April. They provide an invaluable service to beach goers who experience difficulties in the surf, and it is imperative that they have the appropriate skills, knowledge and training to provide assistance and comfort to those in trouble. This small textbook illustrates the breadth of knowledge required in order to qualify for Life Saving Awards and Instructors’ Certificates, and gives an indication of the high level of commitment that volunteers, such as Ronald Meehan, devote to the training of others in order to ensure the safety and well being of residents and visitors who enjoy using our beaches and surfing the waves.

Margaret Blight
30 October 2014


Kenny & Watson

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Medium and Materials

Paper, ink


180mmL, 125mmW, 80mmDeep

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