Tannum Sands Surf Lifesaving Club life member John Shiplick, with his treasured life membership pin, is looking forward to seeing old faces at Saturday night’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
Tannum Sands Surf Lifesaving Club life member John Shiplick, with his treasured life membership pin, is looking forward to seeing old faces at Saturday night’s 50th anniversary celebrations. Chrissy Harris

Devoted to the club

THIS weekend there will be more stories told than waves hitting the beach at Tannum Sands, as people come from far and wide to celebrate a milestone.

For one member in particular, the reminiscing will be a night to remember for years.

John Shiplick feels privileged to have been a member of the Tannum Sands Surf Lifesaving Club for many years. The club is celebrating its 50th anniversary on Saturday night at the Boyne Community Hall.

Shiplick is full of praise about the camaraderie, sense of spirit and good, old-fashioned mateship at the club.

“For me, the night will be catching up with the old guys. I haven't seen some of them for years,” he said.

On December 10, 1961, “Ship”, as he is known around the place, joined the club, which had changed its name the year before, and he soon became entrenched in the organisation.

“I got my bronze star in 1962, and went on to get my instructor's, my crewman licence and then my duck licence after that,” Shiplick said.

He recalled the first duck the club purchased.

“She was an old navy duck, which was a fair step up from what the club had used off the coast,” he said. “Before that we had an aluminium tinny, about 9-foot long.”

One memorable day, Bernie Scott and Shiplick, seated in the crewmen's position, were taking the boat out when, just out from shore, they had a slight mishap. Scott alerted his mate to what had just happened with a call.

“He called out, ‘Hey Ship, I think we just lost the motor out the back',” Shiplick chuckled.

“We had to reverse it back, get the motor back and then get it repaired.”

Peter “Pig Dog” Smith, Ray “Porky” Deacon, Darryl Prest and Trevor Craig were just some of the fellow stalwarts at the club from the 1960s to the 1980s. All were influential in making the club the successful organisation it became.

Fundraising was a big part of the club's activities, and Shiplick and other members spent many a weekend selling raffle tickets and delivering prizes.

The same crew would gather on a Friday night, for a few ales and a chat.

In 1980, Shiplick received his most treasured keepsake, Tannum Sands Surf Lifesaving Club life membership. To this day it remains his best memory.

“It was an honour to get it, I can tell you that,” he said.

“To me it's the greatest award you can be given by a club. I felt very humble.”

The club hosted the state championships in the mid-1980s and members worked furiously in the lead-up to the event, constructing a grandstand as part of the preparations.

“She was a work of art,” Shiplick said.

It has been an enjoyable journey for Ship, and being able to provide a service to the community and beach-goers has left him with a great sense of achievement.

“This is my 48th year tied up with the club. It's been a good lifestyle.”



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