include a 1951 profile of Judge Adrian Curlewis,
one of the early surfboard riders at Palm Beach and long-time
President of the SSLSA.
Melbourne, 2 January 1951, page 5.
Miss Faye Osborne, of Elwood, Miss Gene Mew, of
Carnegie, and Miss Annette Hampton, of Bendigo, rest
against their gay surfboards
as they talk with Miss Norma Eastwood.
1951 'TORQUAY SURFERS', The Herald (Melbourne, Vic. :
1861 - 1954), 2 January, p. 5. , viewed 12 Sep 2019,
South Coast Express
Surfers Paradise, 19
January 1951, page 7.
Kirra had its worst weekend for sharks for quite some
time but they did not endanger the crowd in any way.
Surf club members
tried to harpoon one on Sunday, but with no success.
A large crowd watched
some of the surf club members giving an excellent
exhibition of the art of riding surf-boards in quite a rolling surf, which was really
an impressive sight.
This season the number
of surf-boards being bought by members is quite amazing
and a count over the
weekend showed that there were 18 boards and several
surf-skis, all the property of members.
This is a definite
advantage because while the club has so many boards out "the
back" it eliminates the chances of a shark getting through to the surfing public.
"Board" patrols are
necessary until Kirra gets a
new shark tower, the old one being wrecked recently, when
it:was pushed over by thoughtless surfers.
1951 'SURF NEWS', The South Coast Express
(Surfers Paradise, Qld. : 1949 - 1951), 19 January, p. 7. ,
viewed 31 Dec 2016,
South Coast Bulletin
Queensland, 24 January 1951, page 21.
ALARMING PRESS REPORTS
Officials of the Kirra Surf Club are alarmed at the frequency
with which distorted reports, in ^j^fcfie:- cases without any
foundation, are appearing in sections of the Press relative to
shark scares and other matters detrimental to the reputation of
the beach and Coolangatta.
The position has reached a stage where it has been found
necessary to prohibit the giving of news over the phone from the
clubhouse by other than responsible -officers in response
to calls from newspaper offices.
It has been found in some cases that the reporter in the
newspaper office gets into touch with some young member of the
club and then practically puts the story he desires into the
boys mouth and publishes it as being authentic.
The addition of two or three feet to the length of a shark,
a similar addition to the actual number of sharks is nothing
unusual and quite recently a sensational story purporting to
report a big battle between 19 members of the club using
surfboards and skis and four or three ten foot sharks was
published with the addition that the terrific battle was watched
by over a thousand people on the beach.
This was a pure figment of the imagination of some
ambitious reporter and had no foundation fact.
The large number of surfboards and skis mentioned were
engaged in the club's weekly points score competition during the
morning of the day quoted whilst "the brush with a shark took
place during the afternoon the,-surf, boat crew and one
surfboard rider participating!
This report was a joke amongst local residents and visitors
who were on the beach that day.
Two sting rays which were reported on the same day were
made to appear as two ten foot sharks when the report was
The life-savers have a lot to contend with besides-grey
1951 'BORDER NEWS', South Coast Bulletin (Southport, Qld. :
1929 - 1954), 24 January, p. 21. , viewed 31 Dec 2016,
Australian Women's Weekly
February 1951, page 17.
Judge Curlewis has grown up with the century
He is a
"Federation baby" who has lived 50 eventful years.
FRIZELL, staff reporter
1901, most Australians were resolutely celebrating Federation.
Ahead lay one
hundred unspoiled years, full of promise for an infant
But for Mr.
and Mrs. Herbert Curlewis, of Mosman, N.S.W., January, 1901,
meant not only the birth of a nation, but the birth of their
CURLEWIS has grown up with the century.
He is one of
those who have
seen the horse
replaced by cars and aeroplanes, the old fuel stove superseded
by pressure cookers hissing over electricity or gas.
Gone is the
plentiful supply of domestic help in the home, and the days
are vanished when no gentle- woman would wear lipstick.
century marked the end of an era and brought two world wars,
the great depression, and the atomic age.
In 1951, the
Jubilee of Federation, Judge Adrian Curlewis, who has just
celebrated his 50th birthday, looks back at his life.
To-day he is
straight-backed and suntanned from his favorite relaxation-
drawing his face would show a sharply defined nose, crinkly
hair, and a high forehead.
evenings Judge Curlewis leaves the New South Wales District
Court in the City of Sydney, picks up his car, and drives over
the Harbor Bridge on his way home, thankful that the slow
ferry to North Sydney has been replaced.
he calls in to say good-night to his mother, who is known to
and loved by Australian
the novelist Ethel Turner.
white-haired Mrs. Curlewis, widow of Judge Herbert Curlewis,
still lives in the rambling slate roofed house where her son
Curlewis and his family live a mile away, in a modern cream
house which overlooks the sparkling waters of Middle Harbor
and the white sand of Chinaman's Beach.
CURLEWIS, 18 year-old Philippa, and 21-year old Ian have heard
Judge Curlewis speak of the changes in the district where he
In 1907, when
he was six, Adrian Curlewis used to walk down to the beach
(where he still swims before breakfast) among wildflowers and
house was the only one standing.
Now it is just
one of many large homes perched on the hillside.
"I learnt to
swim at Chinaman's Beach and the Spit Baths," says Judge
Curlewis, now president of thc Surf Life Saving Association of
Jean, who died in 1930, and I used to dog-paddle from one end
of the baths to the other."
not then a popular sport, but devotees were conquering
The first Life
Saving Clubs had just been formed.
authoress for a mother did not seem a novelty to the young
"I think we
took the books for granted," says Adrian Curlewis.
mother giving Jean and me 5/- each when she finished a book.
It was a sort
of celebration, and reward for good behaviour on our part."
In those days
5/- was wealth to a child.
For a penny or
ha'penny you could buy enough sweets to keep chewing for
local boys, Adrian Curlewis enjoyed riding in the milk-man's
cart, and meeting the electric tram which ran once an hour to
Adrian Curlewis went to the Mosman Preparatory School, then to
Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore).
At Shore young
Adrian Curlewis went on to stroke the First Four, captain the
Rugby Union Firsts, and to win the Headmaster's Cup for
He also became
Senior Prefect in the middle of World War I.
"The war made
a great impression on us all," says Judge Curlewis.
there was a chapel service for old boys killed in action.
Many of these
soldiers had been at school only a few years before, and we
knew them well.
As a prefect I
took my turn at reading the lesson from the Bible, and felt
moved at the solemn and very beautiful service taking place "
that these services conjured up in the mind of the young
Curlewis were later to take on harsh reality when, as a
captain in the 8th Division, he was taken prisoner by the
Japanese in Malaya.
Curlewis wanted to enlist in World War I, but his parents
would not give their consent until he was 18.
By then the
war was nearly over, so he went to Sydney University to do
strike of 1917, with hundreds of other schoolboys, he took an
emergency job as an engine cleaner.
He was forced
to give it up when his father became Presiding Judge at the
undergraduate was a young man with plenty of enthusiasm.
included playing the flute in the University orchestra,
hockey, rowing, and swimming.
He revived the
University Law Society and enjoyed himself riotously on
Up to 1921 the
Sydney Town Hall had been the place where Blues were
presented, where undergraduates shouted their faculty songs,
where mothers and the girls of the moment came along to watch
"We were not
allowed to use the Town Hall after '21," says the Judge
Curlewis of to-day.
happened to the Town Hall organ, and the undergraduates footed
were hurled down from the galleries, and hundreds of the cane
chairs were broken.
"We weren't to
blame for the chairs.
The women did
that when they stood on the chairs in their high heels."
In the 1921
procession law students of Adrian Curlewis' year satirised the
Sydney Telephone Exchange.
On top of a
float a "telephone girl (alias Curlewis) worked frenziedly at
a switchboard, in company with the present Mr. Justice
Mansfield, Mr. Justice Herron, and Judge Holt.
In January of
the previous year Adrian Curlewis had decided to become a
life-saver after seeing a drowning fatality while on holiday
at Palm Beach, New South Wales.
then was not the luxury resort it is to-day, but an informal
bush settlement where a cluster of doctors' holiday homes
marked Pill Hill.
Curlewis started the Palm Beach Life Saving Club with the late
Since then he
has seen many changes in life-saving methods.
used to be carried from the water face up, and the limbs were
rubbed to restore circulation," Judge Curlewis says.
life-savers carry patients face downwards, and the rubbing
method is obsolete.)
old-timers, I prefer the original surfboats," says Judge
Walker class surfboats were more solidly built, and were
capnble of tackling seas which would swamp the light, fast
boats of to-day."
Curlewis learned surf- board riding from John Ralston, who had
the first surfboard at Palm
bought his own surfboard for £5.
belonged to Manly swimmer Claude West, who put an ad. in the
paper reading: 'Surfboard for sale.
hospital through using same'," Judge Curlewis told me.
riding was only six years old in 1920.
Duke Kahanamoku had introduced it to Australia in 1914.)
mastering the surfboard and being able to ride it on either
feet or head, Adrian Curlewis started teaching pretty Betty
Carr, whom he had met at a Palm Beach house-party.
came from Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, learned surfboard
Curlewis was through Law they were engaged, and were married
at St. Philip's, Church Hill, in December, 1928.
Up to date
with the fashions, the bride was photographed wearing a short
wedding dress, with her hair caught up in a bandeau.
A week before
Australia entered World War II, Adrian Curlewis enlisted.
1941, he sailed for Malaya in the Queen Mary.
fell the future Judge Curlewis, with thousands of other
Australians, was captured and was sent to Changi.
He was put to
work on the wharves, and in April, 1943, was sent to the
dreaded Thailand railway.
In the New
Year, on January 26, 1946, Captain Curlewis was discharged
from the Army.
He is proud of
the fact that he became a civilian at 4 o'clock and was in his
chambers half an hour later with a brief for the next day.
appointed a District Court Judge in 1948.
is a typical family man.
Son Ian is now
doing second year Law and is keenly interested in life-saving.
Philippa has just left school after winning the All Schools'
Senior Swimming Championship last year.
is a man of wide civic interests.
president of the Surf Life Saving Association, chairman of the
National Fitness Council of N.S.W., and chairman of the Red
Cross Appeals Committee.
touch with old school and Army friends, Judge Curlewis is on
the Shore Council and the 8th Division Council.
CURLEWIS at the age of nine.
picture was taken in London when Adrian was travelling
with his family.
nearly all small boys were dressed in sailor suits by
BLAZER, Adrian Curlewis posed for group picture of Shore's
was 1919, when boys wore serious expressions and long
fringed scarves with their blazers.
Captain Curlewis returned home after three years in Changi
Thailand railway as a member of the 8th Division.
at the age of 50, Adrian Curlewis is a judge of the New
South Wales District Court.
He has a fine record of achievement.
Sydney, 11 February 1951, page 13.
Coogee surfboard rider Peter Wilson won the
metropolitan championship from a strong field at
1951 'SURFBOARD WIN', The Sunday Herald (Sydney, NSW
: 1949 - 1953), 11 February, p. 13. (Sports Section),
viewed 12 Sep 2019,
Hobart, Tasmania, 23 February 1951, page 16.
Flap" Not So Flippant
TASMANIA took a season
to catch up with other States, Mrs. ft. Turnbull, a
Sydney visitor, said at Launceston.
Turnbull was referring to the introduction to Tasmania
of the frogmen's feet or flippers for the use of
flippers were introduced into Australia by Mrs. Turnbull
and her husband only in 1949, but already were "the
craze" in other States.
Turnbull said that frog men's feet were useful to
swimmers, surfers, and for spearing fish under
time next year, Mrs. Turnbull said, the flippers would
be very popular in Tasmania, too.
for their non-appearance in large numbers in Launceston,
she considered was that the swimming pool was closed and
beaches were so far from the city.
In Sydney and
Queensland flipper races had been introduced, and in
Queensland many lifesaving clubs had made the flippers
part of their standard equipment.
aid of the flippers, the lifesavers had much greater
speed in reaching those to be rescued, Mrs. Turnbull
1951 '"Flip, Flap" Not So Flippant', The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.
: 1860 - 1954), 23 February, p. 16. , viewed 02 Feb 2020,
Noted at, and recommended: http://www.pittwateronlinenews.com/max-watt-history.php
Hobart, Tasmania, 1 March 1951, page 3.
LETTERS TO THE
Lindisfarne; V. E. CHAMBERS.
It is stated
for swimmers were introduced in Australia by Mrs. Turnbull and her husband
Towards the end of 1941 or early in 1942 I saw flippers used at St.
In 1942 and 1943 I saw them in Sydney and Adelaide.
1951 'LETTERS TO THE EDITOR', The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860
- 1954), 1 March, p. 3. , viewed 02 Feb 2020,
Sunday 25 March 1951, Sports Section page 9.
Byron Bay Surfer Takes Belt Title In Rousing
- Byron Bay
surfer G. Timperley won the Australian belt championship in a
desperate finish at Scarborough to-day.
a powerful field which included national belt champion Don
Morrison, of Western Australia, and N.S.W. champion, Alan
Williams, of Queenscliff.
The Byron Bay
swimmer was only second N.S.W. nominee for the event.
had had a swim in the qualifying heat, unlike his four
opponents in the final.
leaders in the final -Timperley, Morrison, Williams, and
Wilkes, of Queensland-remained in line for almost the whole of
the swim, finishing in that order.
competitors filled the first three places in the national
Winner was R.
Callan (Coogee), with K. Hurst (North Bondi), second, and D.
Trumper (Coogee), third.
saw surfboard racing for the first time were amazed at the
expert handling by N.S.W. and Queensland entrants.
The flat surf
at Scarborough disappointed competitors.
heats swimmers found conditions slow, but despite the flat
water, a heavy swell made swimmers disappear at times.
A choppier sea
later made referee V. Besemo order the buoys to be brought
closer to shore.
Montgomery (NSW), 1; Moir (NSW), 2; Scott (WA), 3.
Okulich (NSW), 1; Whyte (NSW), 2; Lazarus (NSW), 3.
First heat, Freshwater; second heat, Cronulla; third heat,
Swansea-Belmont; fourth heat, South Curl. (sic)
Cronulla, 1; South Curl Curl, 2; Swansea-Belmont, 3. Curl
Teams: North Wollongong, 1; Freshwater, 2; Cottesloe (WA), 3.
South Narrabeen, 1; Scarborough (WA), 2; City of Perth (W A ),
Championship: S. Wilkes (Qld), 1; G. Timperley (NSW), 2; R.
Hartley (WA), 3.
ski: NSW, 1.
final: G. Timperley (Byron Bay, NSW), 1; D. Morrison (WA), 2;
A. Williams (Queenscliff, NSW), 3.
race, final: R. Callan (Coogee), 1; K. Hurst (North Bondi), 2;
D. Trumper (Coogee), 3.
resuscitation: Bondi, 1; Queensland, 2; North WoIIongong, 3.
McPhee (NSW) 1, Hounslow (WA), 2; Mooney (NSW), 3.
North Bondi, 1; Merewether, 2.
The Daily Telegraph
Sydney, 2 April 1951, page 6.
philosophy of a happy beach "boy"
"I live pretty good ... nice
apartment , no wife , and a 1951 convertible"
By DUDLEY OSBORNE
Looking forward to visiting Australian
beaches this year with a team of Hawaiian surf champions is a
Waikiki "character" — Mr. Charles K. Baptiste.
I met him last month on my way to San Francisco on Pan American
Airways' inaugural Stratocruiser flight from Sydney.
Both to his friends (whom he claims to have in high places all
over the world, as well as in low) and to his enemies (of whom
he professes to have none) Mr. Baptiste is known only as
Panama is the doyen of Waikiki beach "boys," with more than 30
years' service in and around the rolling surf at this fabulous
A smiling Hawaiian of 46, with a torso of a muscular 30, Panama
told us confidentially that he has "the game by the throat."
He indicated the "game" with a sweep of the hand which embraced
the beach, Diamond Head in the back ground — we were drinking
beer on a beach hotel terrace — and half the horizon.
Panama is a "character" because he says he has discovered the
elusive secret of a problem which drives men ragged— how to be
"I am probably one of the few really happy men in the world,"
said Panama with the ait of a man who states a pro found truth.
"I come from a very good family.
My father, he was a French-Kano, that's French- Canadian, and my
mother was of one of Hawaii's oldest families.
"My mother was very ambitious.
'Doctors,' she says, 'that's what all my sons must be.'
"And so it was— for my eight brothers.
Today all doctors.
But not Panama."
A man in rather bulging flowered trunks passed by.
"Hi, Panama," he said.
"Hi," Panama acknowledged.
When "flowered trunks" was out of earshot, Panama leaned over
confidentially and said:
"See that guy.
Owns a big grocery chain on the mainland.
Works like mad for all the year to come here for a month.
Me, I got it for nothing."
Panama said the only things which ruled his life were the
sunshine, or lack of it, the state of the surf, and his own
"I come down to the beach sunup to sundown, seven days a week
while the malihinis come," Panama said.
Malihinis is the Hawaiian word for strangers, as distinct from
It is not a disparaging term, for do not the dollars flow from
"I teach them the surf boards, and take them out in the
They pay good and we give them good teaching," said Panama.
"Old people, young people, I like to make them all happy."
At the current rate of three dollars a period, Panama said that
some days he earns as much as 30 dollars a day (£A13/8/).
"I live pretty good," he said.
"Got a nice apartment, no wife, and a 1951 convertible."
During the winter Panama goes travelling.
"I've got friends all over the world.
In 30 years anyone who is anyone has been to Waikiki.
They give me their cards and make me promise to come and see
So I do."
He said that this year Duke Kahanamoku, former champion swimmer
and now sheriff of Honolulu, is hoping to return the visit made
about 12 years ago by an Australian surf team.
Panama is greatly impressed by the way Australians handle surf
"I reckon we can beat you guys at anything else in the surf," he
said, "but with those boats, brother, you're on your own."
He is patriotic about the respective merits of Sydney and
"We get waves here, big stuff, but they start way out and keep
rolling, like they want you to enjoy yourself," he said.
"We can get those outrigger canoes going at 70 miles an hour,
and no one gets hurt.
"You get a big sea at Sydney, and the waves lift you up, knock
you down and break your neck.
What kind of a sea is that?"
I asked Panama if he had ever entertained more conventional
"I used to be a boxer, then I did a bit of wrestling — before I
I was always runner-up, though," he confessed rather
"Now I want just nothing else in the whole world.
The malihinis, and a lot of people here too they'll get the
"For me, there's always the sunshine, and the Waikiki surf ... I
got it by the throat all right."
1951 'The philosophy of a happy beach "boy"',
The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1931 - 1954), 2 April, p. 6.
, viewed 12 Sep 2019,
17 May 1951, page 30.
AID TO SWIMMERS.
Novice surfers and still-water swimmers will be able
to gain added assistance next summer with, a new
"gadget" known as the "hand flipper".
flipper manufacturer, Mr. M. D. Turnbull,
thinks his new hand flipper will catch
on just as the leg
flippers have done in the past two
As Mrs. Turnbull
illustrates in the picture above the hand
flipper is made of rubber and fits over the
Tests in Sydney have shown that it gives the
swimmer much greater pull through the water,
thereby increasing speed tremendously.
production will begin before the summer and
special sizes will be produced for women and
manufactured three sizes of leg flippers
last summer - junior, medium, and senior.
In the coming summer he will add a baby
junior model with an adjustable strap.
1951 'NEW AID TO SWIMMERS', Brisbane Telegraph (Qld.
: 1948 - 1954), 17 May, p. 30. (CITY FINAL),
viewed 02 Feb 2020,
4 June 1951, page 1.
DID NOT WORRY THIS TRIO OF SURFBOARD RIDERS
Winter couldn't keep these three surfboard
riders from the water at North Bondi yesterday.
They are (left to right): Jim Rouse, Keith
Goodall and Leo Mayhew.
1951 'WINTER DID NOT WORRY THIS
TRIO OF SURFBOARD RIDERS', The Sydney Morning
Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 4 June, p. 1. ,
viewed 31 Dec 2016,
Sydney, 15 July 1951, page 3.
Sydney Out of Doors On A Sunny
Pam Bass (second from left) took her surfboard out at
Bondi, where she often has an early morning dip.
1951 'Sydney Out of Doors On A Sunny
Winter's Morning', The Sunday Herald (Sydney, NSW :
1949 - 1953), 15 July, p. 3. , viewed 31 Dec 2016,
13 August 1951, page 4.
A trained porpoise towing a surfboard with passengers -
Pat Dale and a dog - in Florida (U.S.).
The trainer of the
porpoise took only a few months to teach it to tow
surfboards, leap through a hoop and ring a bel.
1951 'POWER: ONE PORPOISE; ACTION OF CHAMPION.',
Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1907 - 1954), 13
August, p. 4. , viewed 31 Dec 2016,
8 September 1951, page 17.
Spender is no surfer
CANBERRA: A reference by the United States Secretary of
State (Mr. Dean Acheson) at an important dinner in San
Francisco to the surfing capabilities of .the Australian
Ambassador in Washington (Mr. Percy Spender) has caused
considerable amusement among some of his former
In a gay and somewhat
carefree speech, Mr. Acheson told guests that, some day
next week, "as we see the breakers crashing over my
head, you will see one
figure riding the foamy surf above me — Ambassador Percy
He was really hinting
at the possibility .of Mr. Spender being elected deputy
presiding officer at the Japanese Peace Treaty
conference which began in San Francisco on Tuesday.
What he did not know,
however, was that Mr. Spender, a frequenter of Sydney's
social seaside resort, Palm Beach, had to be rescued
from the surf by lifesavers a few years ago.
As a surfboard rider
he was a trier, but not a success.
1951 'Ambassador Spender is no surfer', Brisbane
Telegraph (Qld. : 1948 - 1954), 8 September, p. 17.
(LAST RACE), viewed 31 Dec 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article21195125
12 November 1951, page 3.
RIDING THE BREAKERS AT NORTH
Two surf board riders catch a wave to
the beach at North Bondi yesterday
In the background thc sun is
reflected off the bonnets of cars parked
along the promenade.
'RIDING THE BREAKERS AT NORTH BONDI', The
Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 -
1954), 12 November, p. 3. , viewed
31 Dec 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18238904
December 1951, page 3.
sailed on a surfboard . . . while the girls
SURF at St. Kilda on Saturday made life worth saving.
And 200 boys and girls competent to do just that
- paraded on the beach for the life-saving
carnival in aid of the Southern Memorial
They came from eight bayside clubs, and put on
an impressive march-past before competing in
swimming and rescue events.
Bruce Bowman (right), Black Rock lifesaver and
beltman, sailed his surfboard
and had a grandstand view of girls
of the Half Moon Bay Life-saving Club (below)
sand-marching their reel towards him.
1951 'He sailed on a surfboard... while the girls
marched past', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. :
1848 - 1957), 17 December, p. 3. , viewed 31
Geoff Cater (2011-2016) :
Newspapers : 1951.