Our New Clubhouse

Proposed design

Mona Vale SLSC

Life on the Northern Beaches is characterised by a strong surf, beach and sporting culture with a deep affinity for the land and seascape.

The Mona Vale SLSC is an integral part of the local community and is intertwined in it’s physical surrounds. Our ‘home base’ provides a training ground for new lifesavers, monitors a large expanse of coastline patrolled by existing members, offers a social gathering space for all ages and is a focal point for many community projects in and out of the water.

With an ever-increasing population and bulging membership, the promise of our new clubhouse with new state-of-the-art facility provides solace to the Mona Vale SLSC membership that we will be able to continue to offer the highest standards in surf lifesaving and stay true to our mantra.

Mona Vale SLSC

Inclusion | Respect | Community
Safety beyond just the water’s edge.

Our New Clubhouse VisionOur new clubhouse building will meet all the practical requirements of a modern functioning surf club and be flexible for a wide range of uses as a focus for community pride.

A world-class but genuinely local design will redefine the concept of a traditional surf lifesaving club, providing a space for all beachgoers while engaging the wider community with new social spaces.

The building is designed to feel inclusive and accessible to a broad cross-section of the community. Facilities will be family-friendly with spaces and amenities catering to all generations of lifesavers. Particular consideration will be given to welcoming migrant communities, who are a principal target for water safety campaigns.

The new clubhouse will be open and active on all sides, with a cafe at ground level and sightlines through to the water, linking both park and beach. Materials including timber and textured raw concrete were chosen to reflect the natural environment and withstand exposure to the elements.

Elevated glass pavilions will house a restaurant, lounge bar and function room, angled to capture the spectacular views and outstanding natural beauty.

The functional space will be doubled almost within the footprint of the previous structure. New revenue streams will be established, including cafe and restaurant tenancies and flexible function spaces for private hire. Sustainable design elements serve to minimise water and energy use and long-term maintenance requirements.

We invisiage our new facility will exceed all expectations in its scope to boost membership revenue, secure the club’s future and create an enduring legacy for the community.

Some of the new features include large storage areas, workshop areas, cafe, restaurant, function rooms and Members’ bar and lounge.

Humble Beginnings

The first attempt to form a Surf Club at Mona Vale was during the 1913-14 season, but due to the commencement of World War I the Club was not formally created until 1922-23 when The Mona Vale Surf Bathers’ Life Saving Club was established.

Soon after the ‘Bathers’ moniker was removed leaving the Mona Vale Surf Lifesaving Club as we know it today.

1922: A Year of Firsts
Mona Vale in September, 1922, was a smallish outpost of Sydney, with hills occupied by farmers and the occasional holiday house. Club members in the earliest years were mostly locals with the initial Club President, Freddie Lane, also holding Australia’s first swimming Olympic Gold Medal.

The first clubhouse was built next to Darley Street and was a wooden structure consisting of a large room and two smaller rooms. Unfortunately private ownership of the land was lost as it was resumed by the NSW State Government.

The Old Boys
During 1930-31 the Club was reinvigorated by a group of G.P.S private school ‘old boys’ and the Club’s name was changed to - The Mona Vale Alumni Surf Life Saving Club - with most of the members residing on the lower North Shore and commuting each weekend for patrols and social functions.

The second clubhouse was constructed by Warringah Shire Council in 1934 and was a two-story brick structure located about 70m southeast of the present building. This building underwent a number of subsequent renovations over the years and was well and truly past its prime when replaced by the existing structure in 1969.

World War II
During World War II, the Club was maintained by members until Australia fell under threat and barbed wire entanglements were placed on the beach by Defence Authorities. Many members were recruited for armed service and during 1942 the local armed forces took command of the clubhouse and remained there for the duration of the war.

Our first Life Members were endorsed in 1945-46 – R.A. Dickson and G.R. Wray and the word ‘Alumni’ was dropped from the Club name prior to the 1949-50 season.

The 70's
During the 1970s, patrols consisted of mandatory surf reel, line and belt - the normal rescue equipment, and a three-sided patrol area. Compared to current practices many more rescues were affected due to a lack of surf awareness education and the absence of leg ropes for surfers.

In 1973-74, the Club received its first IRB (inflatable rescue boat) courtesy of the Lion’s Club, but it was nothing compared to the speed machines used in modern day surf patrolling. The Club celebrated significant success in IRB competition in the 1990s, becoming Branch, State and National Champions.

In 1977-78, our first Marathon Ocean Swim from Warriewood was held with 20 swimmers and years later it continues as one of our biggest fundraising events. Named after founder and Life Member, Don 'Doc' Jenkin, it was one of the first organised ocean swims held in Australia and has been replicated by many other clubs to assist with their own fundraising events. MVSLSC also runs the ‘Cold Water Classic’ Winter Solstice swim as a popular additional fundraiser.

Ladies and Gentleman
In 1979-80, women were admitted into the Club (a hotly debated topic), and like other surf lifesaving clubs, MVSLSC initially struggled to adopt the cultural change. It was not long before the members realised the benefit of greater patrol strengths and a more family orientated direction with women on board as active patrolling members.

Another important milestone was establishing the ‘Nippers’ program which was first formed in 1965 and ran until 1972. It was re-established in the 1977-78 season and is one of the fastest growing community programs the MVSLSC operate.

Read more: 1922 to 1997 Mona Vale SLSC Glimpses of First 75 Years