March 19, 1914 - The official opening for the St Kilda Life Saving Club
Affiliating with the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS), the St Kilda Life Saving Club was accepted to become a life saving club held at 227 Collins Street, Melbourne.
1914/15 Season - Going for Gold
Immediately, the St Kilda LSC Reel and Line team won their event at the St Kilda Shore Committee Surf Rescue Challenge Shield.
1925-28 - Back to back success
St Kilda LSC went on to win the Surf Rescue Championship for the Reel and Line at the RLSS Victorian Titles in 1925, 1926, 1927 and 1928.
1928 - Pioneers causing controbery - the rebel tour to Manly
In 1928 St Kilda LSC caused huge controversy within the ranks of the RLSS by applying for permission to be the first RLSS Club to compete in ‘Surf Life Saving’. The team was refused permission to compete at Manly in the Surf Life Saving Championships – but they went anyway!
The papers in Sydney of the day praised the St Kilda boys for their outstanding efforts in the surf and commented on the “resplendent attire of the team, with sky blue blazers, hot ties and faultless brushbacks”.
The RLSS however, was did not take the rebellion lightly, with the club remaining out of favour with the society for some time after the Manly tour.
1929 - Promoting our success
Several members of the team that won the 1929 Championships pose for a “bathing costume advertisement” for the Melford Knitting Company.
1929 - Ladies holding their own
Whilst it was many decades later that women were finally accepted into the Surf Life Saving fraternity, the RLSS was open to women from very early on.
The St Kilda West LSC team were the winners of the 1929 Ladies Surf Rescue Championship in a swim and wade event. The trophy related to this event is to this day an award for the Open Women’s belt race known as the Hazel Pierce Trophy. St Kilda West did not carry the same colours as St Kilda LSC dark and light blue, their cap colours were red, black and white.
1940's - Service during War Time
St Kilda LSC stayed open during the war despite many young men and women leaving for war.
1950's - Growing prosperity
During this decade St Kilda LSC grew substantially, with carnivals attended by huge turn outs of club members and many successes achieved as a result, many of which are still hanging in the St Kilda LSC clubhouse today. Dances were held at the Clubhouse once a month, with the fire place (one of the last indicators of the original clubhouse) the centre point accompanied by a 3 piece jazz band that would set up next to it.
1960's - Decline and Fire
During the following decade the clubs former prosperity began to dwindle, further hampered by the 1967 fire which all but destroyed the clubhouse. At this time, the Esplanade LSC offered a merger – this was refused with the reason cited that St Kilda LSC had much better crockery. During this time, the Frost and Cox families were crucial to the clubs survival.
1970's - Mandering along
A less than eventful period for St Kilda LSC the club continued to provide lifesaving services despite another fire causing damage to the clubhouse. At this time the club was slightly expanded in the rebuild.
1986 - Falling on hard times
With volunteer participation at a low, the club dropped in membership and even closed its doors for a day. The Doncaster swimming club had joined the club and internal issues brought the club to the verge of collapse. At that time a group of remaining members and some South Melbourne, Elwood, Williamstown members came to assist. The club grew with further members joining and approximately 12 members from South Melbourne to assist including Don and Carol Kay, Daryl & Ian Maybourne, and John Matthews.
Early 1990's - Revival through IRBs
A new batch of young members joined the club and took the mantel from the South Melbourne members (with their blessing) who had saved the club. These new members were strong competitors winning numerous National medals in Royal Lifesaving Competition in both the mens and womens divisions. This supported recruitment and the club membership grew with a diverse range of members.
1998 - Beginning to think about the future
The City of Port Phillip conducted a review of Life Saving Club assets within the municipality.
2001 - The decline of IRB competition
Whilst St Kilda LSC was at the peak of its IRB strength, Life Saving Australia made the national decision to suspend IRB competition, a decision supported shortly after by Royal Life Saving. This decision caused St Kilda LSC a loss of many members who were involved in the IRB area.
2001 - Dual affiliation
St Kilda LSC lead the way as one of the few clubs to dual affiliate with both Surf Life Saving and the Royal Life Saving Society prior to their amalgamation and the formation of Life Saving Victoria.
2002 - Embracing a new frontier - Surf Boat Competition
A few hardy members from the IRB area turned their skills towards a new sporting challenge in the area of surfboats. St Kilda LSC were one of the first clubs on the bay to take on the surfboat challenge competing in their first surfboat race during this year.
2002 - Lobbying begins
In the winter of 2002 Matthew Culka became president of St Kilda LSC and commenced a campaign for a new clubhouse by lobbying the City of Port Phillip.
2003 - First State Titles in Surf Boats
St Kilda LSC attend the State Titles in surfboats for the first time with a mens crew in Reserve Grade. Unfortunately, their 20 year old donated boat from Seaspray suffered damage in the warm up and they were unable to compete in the championships.
2004 - First open women's surf boat crew
Won their first carnival at Mordiallic 2004/5 season with Stu Cassin sweeping. In addition, the mens crew had improved and also wrapped up their first victory. Stu Cassin came across to St Kilda from Woolami with sweeping knowledge that helped build the boat section in partnership with the clubs president Matthew Culka. At this time, Stu Cassin, Matt Culka and Barton Roberts set their minds to building the club to a point where it was strong and financially viable.
2004 - Working with Council
The 1998 Lifesaving Clubs Review report becomes the basis for discussion regarding the direction for future lifesaving clubs and the need for future facilities in the City of Port Phillip.
2005 - First Open State Gold
St Kilda wins Gold in the Open Male Champion Lifesaver Event (Matthew Culka) as well as its first masters medals in the 30+ male tube race, male surf race and the ironman.
2006 - Australian Surf Rowers Champions
St Kilda builds on its earlier success in the surf boat area by winning the national title at the Australian Surf Rowers League Open in the 160 Years Male surfboat race swept by Stuart Cassin.
2006 - A focus on active patrolling members
Review found the facility had a purpose, but did not meet the functional requirements for lifesaving services. At this time, St Kilda LSC chose not to offer nippers programs due to the constraints related to the facility. This was a bold decision to go against the broader thinking at the time that the way to rebuild a club was through nippers. Instead, St Kilda focused on a mature active patrolling membership recruiting through competition which has resulting in much success at a masters level.
2008 - Further building concerns
Asbestos review was conducted highlighting that the club was largely constructed from materials containing asbestos. Despite the facility concerns the club continued to grow during this period with the hope that a new facility might be in its future.
2010 - Future feasibility options
Coffey Feasibility studies were conducted that informed a concept design for the clubhouse that allowed the club to apply for State Government Funding through LSV.
2010 - Embracing tradition
At some point in St Kilda’s past, the St Kilda LSC competition cap had evolved from an 8 (or 6) panel cap to a 4 panel design. It is not known when this change occurred, or why, but was likely due to reduced complexity of manufacture. In 2010, based on the oldest known record of the club cap registration (which was somewhat confused between drawing and text causing some discussion on the number of panels), St Kilda LSC reverted to the 8 panel design as per the registered drawing, a design that is unique to St Kilda and not used by any other club in the country.
2010 - First Open Women's win by a bay club
St Kilda LSC Open Women’s crew win the Victorian Surf Boat Rowers League Open, the first open state level event won by a surfboat club from the bay.
2011 - Council commitment and financial stability
Council committed to match state government funding if it was provided to rebuilt the clubhouse. In addition, in this year St Kilda LSV achieved its aim to be financially stable and re-establish a strong active patrolling membership.
2011 - Professional debut
St Kilda Open Womens crew are the first St Kilda members to compete in professional competition in the Ocean Thunder Surf Boat Series.
2012 - Building audits
LSV audit of lifesaving club buildings recognised large amounts of investment required to ensure the building would remain safe for use from OH&S perspective.
2013 - Nationals and World Masters
St Kilda LSC place 2nd overall in points at the World Lifesaving Championships in the Masters surfboat area and were the only Victorian club to win Masters Australian and World Titles Gold. In addition, the Open Women progressed further than any other Victorian surfboat crew at the National Titles.
2014 - Celebrating a New Era
On the 3rd May 2014, as St Kilda LSC celebrates its 100th Year with a Black Tie Ball event, the Minster for Emergency Services announces the confirmation of $1 million State Government funding for St Kilda LSC allocated by LSV for the redevelopment of the clubhouse. St Kilda continues to work with the City of Port Phillip with the planning underway, the appointment of the architect to design the new clubhouse redevelopment with the aim to commence construction in 2015.
2015 - Our new home being built
The dream to re-develop the St Kilda Life Saving Club had only commenced, with plans, drafts and works underway for the new home to come!
23 December 2016 - Our new home
After long waiting periods, the keys were handed over to St Kilda LSC to finally use! The fresh facility has attracted a lot of attention to innovate our lifesaving needs including membership base and to hold more functions.