Erskineville helped boost Killcare surf club
The inner city suburb of Erskineville played a most unlikely role in the dramatic increase in the Killcare Surf Club's active membership ranks.
On a whim one day back in 1957, John Bourne and a number of his Erskineville colleagues decided to check out the Central Coast as a possible holiday destination.
They chanced upon the tranquil haven of Killcare and a new world opened up.
A routine of frequent weekend visits to the local surf club followed and the new coastal experience even extended to the boys organising raffles at their local Erskineville hotel, with winners transported by bus, through the proceeds of the initiative, for a day's inspection of the club.
Consequently, membership of the surf club at that time escalated.
It could well have been termed The Erskineville Push.
John adapted to an exciting new form of activity and commenced patrols in 1959 when he gained his bronze medallion.
Specialising in beach sprints and beach flags, as well as being a relay team member, his first coach was the legendary John Annand.
John Annand had won three Australian beach sprint titles during a distinguished career and his father had been an inaugural member of the Killcare club's bronze squad in the early 1930s.
John Bourne later married Wendy, John Annand's sister, and became a member of a respected Hardys Bay family.
The newly-weds moved to the area in the early 1960s and in November last year, celebrated their 50th anniversary.
For the past 30 years, occasionally broken by interstate work commitments, John Bourne has been the club coach at Killcare and his mentoring achievements throughout the duration have produced remarkable results.
Those under his stewardship praised his patient approach and an uncanny ability to extract the very best efforts from his charges when it counted most.
Highlights of his career for his teams included five Men's Open Beach Relay victories at the Australian SLSA Championships and four consecutive successes in the World titles between 2000 and 2006.
Perhaps the crowning achievement came when his club's Beach Relay team was inducted into the SLSA's Hall of Fame last August.
"Our team was formed in 1999, mainly to boost patrol members for the club," he said.
"At the time, we only had 20 patrolling members so the new relay team combined with the local winter swimming club in adding much-needed members.
"Within a year we won the State, National and World titles which was an amazing feat by our boys."