On summer days in the early 1960s, Torquay surf beach was crowded and many people were walking around the point to the back beach, or Fossil Beach, as it was then called. Due to the tricky conditions that prevailed, many swimmers got into difficulties and then the locals would dash to Joe Sweeney's home on the hill behind the dunes, because they knew he was a Torquay clubbie. Joe would arrive with his mal in the ute to perform a rescue.
In the Beginning
Joe's rescues became a more frequent occurrence as the beach became more popular. He tried to get some interest with the locals to donate some cash to purchase a reel and line to be housed on the beach in a shed. No interest was shown in this plan, until one hot day in January 1963, with a large crowd on the beach, there was a drowning. Two locals, Tom Trevaskis and Dick Garrard, swam out to sea and kept the patient afloat until Joe was called from his home to paddle him back to shore. He could not be revived.
This unfortunate situation stung the locals into discussing some rescue arrangements and a committee was selected to form a lifesaving club. Some of the committee members were Melbourne businessmen who had weekenders in the area. They had good contacts, lots of energy and skills in revenue raising to finance a building to house the lifesaving club. Once active members were recruited to get patrols going it was time to give the club a name. The area in the vicinity was known as Golf Links Estate. Four suggestions were put forward – Fossil Beach, Jan Juc, Sweeney and Barrabool. Jan Juc, the Aboriginal name for the iron bark tree and the creek that flows onto the beach was chosen.
Now the area has a club to be proud of and a safer beach to enjoy over the summer period. The first Annual General Meeting was held on the 24th August, 1963. The first official patrol roster was organised on the 1st May, 1964.
50 Years On
2013 was the 50th Anniversary of the Jan Juc Surf Lifesaving Club.
We have come a long way since its inception, but the spirit and the camaraderie of the club remain the same. With little Government assistance, our club has grown with the hard work of its members and supporters in working bees, fundraising and organising special events. Ongoing battles with public liability overheads, environmental opposition to our expansion, occupational health and safety issues and funding puts a strain on our membership. Luckily, we have enough conscientious people willing to give up their time and expertise to develop and maintain tomorrows surf lifesavers to continue patrolling Jan Juc Beach, one of Victoria's most dangerous beaches. Not only that, we provide a safe, healthy environment for our young people to develop first aid, leadership and social skills while, at the same time, keeping traditions alive with our older members.
– View photos from the 50th Anniversary Commemorative Dinner
Our Alumni Community, is a great opportunity for past members to reconnect with the Club and fellow members, both past and present. You can also keep up to date with the various developments and activities within the Club. Membership is free.
If you would like to join, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will include you on our mailing list. We look forward to hearing from you.