Our History

The origins of Surf Life Saving can be traced back to the actions of Mr William Gocher at Manly Beach in September 1902. At that time, bathing during daylight hours was prohibited, but many people defied the rules. As surf bathing became more popular, its many dangers also became increasingly apparent, and thus forced the laws to be changed.

It was Mr Gocher and a small group of experienced surfers, concerned with the rising incident of drowning in the surf, that formed the first life saving club, to assist those who required rescue from an unfamiliar environment.

Surf Life Saving in Queensland (SLSQ) began in 1908, when an old line and belt was brought to Tweed Heads by Sydney dentist Harold Bennett for the purpose of forming a life saving club. Not long after, the first qualified surf lifesavers practiced at Greenmount Beach.

On February 21, 1909, the first recorded rescue using a lifesaving reel was performed in surf off Greenmount. Lifesavers rescued four young women and a young man, who had been swept away by a rip.

SLSQ was formally established in 1930 and is the governing body for surf lifesaving in Queensland.

From these very humble beginnings, SLSQ has now achieved world recognition for the outstanding courage and service of its members.

Over 100 Years of Saving Lives

2016 – The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service Queensland celebrates its 40th anniversary
2015 – Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park’s Kristy Mitchell raises a record $232,832 as Summer Surf Girl entrant
2011 – Volunteer surf lifesavers assist during the Brisbane Floods
2010 – SLSQ secures funding to operate a second helicopter service in South-East Queensland
2009 – Centenary Celebrations, re-enactment of first recorded rescue on a Queensland beach (Greenmount Beach)
2007 – National Year of the Lifesaver, 100 years of surf life saving in Australia
1991 – Edie Rowe (nee Kieft) issued her Bronze Medallion, 68 years after completing the examination requirements
1980 – All SLSCs welcome female active members
1976 – Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter starts in Queensland
1965 – Kurrawa’s Joy Chambers is the inaugural Summer Surf Girl
1960 – Expired air resuscitation, otherwise known as ‘mouth to mouth’, adopted
1935 – SLSQ introduces the red and yellow flags
1923 – Miss Edie Kieft qualified for the Bronze through Tweed Heads & Coolangatta but medallion was not issued because she was female
1909 – First recorded rescue using a line and reel at Greenmount Beach
1908 – Old line and belt brought to Tweed Heads by Sydney dentist Harold Bennett
1902 – William Gocher forms first lifesaving patrol at Manly Beach