Club Collections

Please note that if you would like to view our collections held at Waverley Council Library you will need to organise an appointment as our items are held 'behind the scenes' in the archives. Phone 02 9386 7777.

Read below to get an overview of two reports that are a significant part of the process towards better management of the Club's collections: Significance Assessment, and Preservation Needs Assessment.

1. Significance Assessment

Currently the Club has no formal system of managing its collections. In a first and important step to rectify this a grant application was submitted and in late 2012 the Club was very fortunate to receive funds to undertake a significance assessment of the Club collections. Thanks to the ‘Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme’, supported by the Australian Government through the Australian National Maritime Museum we engaged Significance International. The assessing began in February 2013 and was completed in April; without a published Club history or any formal documentation of the Club collections it was challenging.

The exciting news is we have unique items of national significance! Highlights from the report include:


  • Early letters of correspondence regarding matters concerning Tamarama Surf Bathing and Life Saving Club (1908- 1912) and handwritten and typed TSLSC minute books (1909-1927) and (1927-1948) and (1948-1959) including annual reports from 1929-1946. Other correspondence between TSLSC foundation president & Waverley Council alderman George Philip and Thomas Jessop MLA for Waverley with regards to public access to Tamarama Beach - there was a time when the beach was private property. These objects document the club’s early role in the emergence of surf life saving in Australia - as one of only nine clubs included in the formation of the New South Wales Surf Bather’s Life Saving Association (the precursor to today’s Surf Life Saving Australia) in 1907 and the unique circumstances under which the club was formed and its foundation members’ role as the leaders of the first successful community protest for the public ‘right’ to access Sydney’s ocean foreshore in 1906/7.


  • Items reflecting the club’s long link to Jack 'Bluey' Mayes, one of Australia’s earliest surfboard riders and considered the best (toothpick) boardrider in Australia from the 40′s to the 50′s. Known as the original Bondi Bodgie he was a unique juxtaposition of discipline and larrikinism and combined active membership of the Club with a wild and experimental surfing career. Widely regarded as an outstanding waterman he led the Club to numerous competition victories as sweep of the club’s surfboat and performed a number of notable rescues at Tamarama while on patrol. In his later years he was known as the Mayor of Tamarama due to his combined role of President and caretaker in the 1990s. His ashes are interred in the rocks of South Bondi.

Numerous recommendations were provided and the Management Committee supports the spirit of those recommendations which essentially address:


  • Introducing policies and procedures to manage the collection;
  • Guidelines for researching and developing the collection;
  • Developing strategies for targeting collecting;
  • Better storage and conservation of the collection;
  • Interpretive uses for the collection; and
  • A Club Member being responsible progressing for the above

As noted in the report the ‘Tamarama SLSC collection is significant because it tangibly reveals the long history of connections between the surf club, its members (both past and present), the beach they patrol and the community they serve’. The Management Committee recognises the importance of our collections and this essential journey will continue.

2. Preservation Needs Assessment

The Club is very fortunate to again receive funds via the ‘Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme’, supported by the Australian Government through the Australian National Maritime Museum. International Conservation Services have undertaken the assessment which builds on the recommendations of the Significance Assessment (above). The assessing began in January 2014 and was completed in March; the report was well received by the Management Committee.

The Preservation Needs Assessment gets down to the nitty gritty and makes numerous recommendations including immediate preservation requirements:

  • STORAGE. Improve storage shelving and housing for the items in storage at the Clubhouse. The shelving may be re-used once the Clubhouse is re-furbished.
  • POLICIES. Write and implement clear collection policies on what items should be kept, as well as future acquisitions, conservation, security and display etc.
  • INVENTORY. Create an inventory of all items at the Clubhouse and at the Waverley Council Library and establish a system where this is kept up to date.

Once these recommendations are implemented, the Club will move to the next phase of consolidation and ongoing maintenance of the collection. Gaps in the collection will be identified so the Club knows what to collect, and plans made for conservation treatments and displays.