Lower North Coast Surf Life Saving
After the formation of the first surf lifesaving clubs in the seaside suburbs of Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong, the association spread quickly throughout those metropolitan areas. Surf clubs here were slower forming as the Mid North Coast was tremendously isolated with a much smaller population. The lack of adequate road and rail systems contributed to this isolation.
The first recorded Club in the Mid North Coast area was Port Macquarie, which was formed in 1910. South West Rocks was established in 1919 and soon after in 1921 a Club was formed at Kempsey-Crescent Head. Originally members of the MNC Branch, Blackhead formed in 1925, followed by Taree-Old Bar in 1928. Tuncurry was established in 1931 and while some reports of a surf club at Forster in 1925 exist, little is known of that club until they reformed in 1945.
The Clubs had originally affiliated directly with Surf Life Saving Australia, then with the Northern Branch of the Association at Newcastle until 1929, when the Mid North Coast Branch was officially formed.
The Branch grew in 1936 when the Macksville-Scotts Head club was formed, and was again strengthened by the formation in quick succession of Camden Haven and Hat Head, in 1947 and 1948 respectively.
In June 1955, the Mid North Coast Branch met and decided to form two Branches to overcome the traveling that was necessitated by so many carnivals – at that stage from Scotts Head to Forster. The move was to have the new Branch from Forster to Port Macquarie, leaving the Macleay Clubs on their own, but the decision went south of Camden Haven to Cape Hawke.
This meant that the four southern Clubs (those being Taree-Old Bar, Blackhead, Forster and Tuncurry) would separate from the Mid North Coast and become foundation members of the newly formed Lower North Coast Branch.
Lower North Coast Surf Life Saving is currently the smallest Branch within the state and is made up by Pacific Palms, Cape Hawke, Forster, Black Head, Taree-Old Bar and Crowdy Head SLS Clubs. The role of Branch is to provide financial, administration, education and operational support (through support operations) to clubs within the branch.