Members honoured at national Awards of Excellence

November 6, 2023

Two longstanding members from Queensland were honoured with esteemed recognition at the SLSA Awards of Excellence in Sydney over the weekend.

Arthur Parkyn OAM from Mooloolaba SLSC was posthumously inducted into the SLSA Hall of Fame which displays, commemorates and recognises members and teams who have achieved outstanding accomplishments and exceptional contributions to the development of surf lifesaving in Australia.

Arthur joined the Mooloolaba SLSC in 1925 at the age of 14 and was still integrally engaged in its activities until his death in 2008 at 97. Although his first loyalty was to his home club, he made significant contributions beyond it. Arthur believed the most important and effective lifesaving strategy of all was prevention and hundreds of children became water-safe as a result of his initiatives.

Where appropriate to his postings as a school teacher, Arthur also worked to develop and promote surf lifesaving generally and encouraged many promising pupils to become lifesavers. He served both Bundaberg and Moore Park SLSCs as a chief instructor while working in the region and helped set up the South Barrier Branch which he served as Superintendent from 1954-56. In 1953 Arthur was selected as Vice-Captain of an Australian Instructional Team sent to the United States. During this trip he taught Australian surf life saving techniques to Pearl Harbour Marines and to members of the Hauula and Laie Bay lifesaving clubs, which both later honoured him with life membership.

Arthur was a great champion of the Nipper movement and played a pivotal role in the establishment of Mooloolaba’s Junior Club in 1968, ensuring it became a well-accepted adjunct to the MSLSC. He was closely involved in its weekly training sessions and organised its first school holiday Nipper camps. In 1970/71 he served as President of both the Junior and Senior Clubs. In recognition of Arthur’s long service to Lifesaving, he has received the following awards: Life Member Mooloolaba SLSC, Life Member North/Sunshine Coast Branch, Life Member SLSQ, Life Member SLSA, Life Member US Surf Lifesaving Association, Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), and the Australian Centenary Medal

Arthur epitomised the aims and ideals of the Surf Life Saving movement in both action and influence for more than 80 years, selflessly serving his Club, Branch, State and country and was also influential in the international arena. He was an inspirational and revered figure for many generations of lifesavers whom he schooled in those same ideals and led by humble example.


Also recognised at the Awards was Alexandra Headland’s Andrew Buhk who was awarded Life Membership of SLSA.

Andrew joined Alex as an U7 Nipper, a third-generation family member of the club who became a patrolling in 1980 and gained Life Membership of the club in 2002.

Andrew’s sporting prowess as a youth competitor stretched across the many sporting disciplines of SLS. Later Andrew went on to coach within his club, Sunshine Coast and State areas, frequently touring representing Australia in Japan, Great Britain, and Canada.

Andrew commenced officiating in 1990. Since that time, he has officiated at every Australian Championships since 1991. He was the Kellogg’s Nutri Grain Referee for 16 years, spent eight years as Aussies Sectional Referee, seven years as Deputy Referee and six years as Aussies Referee from 2012-2017.

Andrew sat on the National Education and Development Committee for four years, was the National Event Advisor for two years, and is the current SLSA Chair of Sport, a position he has held since 2017.

Andrew is known for his dedication, sustained and distinguished commitment to surf sports. His focus on the strategic direction, grassroots development and sustainable financial strategies have seen national surf sports continue to prosper. Andrew’s knowledge of events, stake-holder engagement and innovation have seen SLSA separate the Australian Youth titles into a stand-alone event. During the tragedies of 2010 and 2012, Andrew’s conspicuous leadership was responsible for the cultural shift at surf sports events and was instrumental in SLSA’s approach to safety.

Andrew instilled in our Officials the principle of presumption of ‘good intent’ a philosophy under-pinned by all voices being heard, ensuring that any concern raised on the beach from a parent, competitor or spectator be addressed and managed within SLS due process. Andrew is an innovative and transformative leader within surf sports.