A Brief History of the Arcadian Surf Life Saving Club Inc

HistoryIn 1886 a surveyor by the name of J. G O’Connell named ‘Alma Bay’ after the Pearce family children living in Townsville at the time. The Arcadian Surf Lifesaving Club (1928) and the Alma Den Guesthouse (1921) are both closely associated with the historical promotion of Alma Bay as a place for recreation and relaxation.

The club was formed as the result of the drowning of a nine year old girl in rough waters at Alma Bay in the early half of 1928. It was then that a number of young men headed by Hume Willmett and Ken Gray, formed a life saving club under the title of the Arcadian Life Saving Club.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas 1928, a local bookmaker Doug Canning organise a function raising the amount of 1100 pounds, to help establish the club, which was a mighty effort in those days for it was not long after that the big financial depression set in.

Alma Bay

On the 25th of January, 1929 a young lad named Harry aged 18 with family members were having a swim in Alma Bay and then a nightmare for bathers had come to life. Harry had been attacked by a shark and badly mauled with both arms hanging by a shred and a large hole in his buttock. Harry died that night, from loss of blood and shock. This was the catalyst to make Alma Bay a safe place to swim by erecting a shark proof net across the bay.

Surf Life Saving Logo

On 30 January 1950, the Arcadian Life Saving Clubs new club house was officially opened by the Deputy Mayor Alderman a Smith. This was an additional building to the old clubhouse, which was erected 20 years before, cost in the vicinity of 2000 pounds. The members of the Arcadian club was to be congratulated on the enthusiasm and energy and organizing ability which had resulted in such a fine building the erected and although Magnetic Island was the distinct asset to council and the north generally as a tourist resort its value would be considerably enhanced by the establishment and activities of the Arcadian Surf Life Saving Club.

It wasn't till May 1968 that the club had decided to upgrade its facilities and build a modern clubhouse. This clubhouse consisted of a second storey quite an achievement for the members and Magnetic Island. The new building was opened in September 1968 but only a little over three years later it was all but destroyed in cyclone Althea on Christmas Eve 1971. Damage was estimated then at $30,000. It is something of a coincidence that the work on reconstruction and renovation of the clubhouse commenced on the 44th anniversary of the opening of the original premises on the beach front at Alma Bay.

Life Savers

On 1 December 2002, through generous support from the Queensland Government, Townsville City Council, many local business and private donations The Strand Junior Training Facility was opened. This modern facility is not only used by club members to improve their life saving skills but used by the local community and corporate orginisations for training and functions. The club now patrols at Alma Bay, Magnetic Island and The Rockpool end of The Strand Beach, Townsville. We are a strong family club with excellent facilities for members of all ages. 

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Club House Hire

Planning that something special and need that unique place to hold it in. Well Arcadian Surf Life Saving Club can offer you two rooms for hire, The Steele Davis Room and The Bob Chadd Training Room.

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Phone: (07) 4721 5855 | Fax: (07) 4721 5366 | Email: arcadian@bigpond.net.au | Find us on Facebook

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