At Play

Swimming, surfing, sailing, rowing and other water sports abound on our rivers and nearby beaches. Rowing regattas were once the highlight of local sporting and social calendars with annual events on the Manning, Hastings, Macleay and rivers further afield. The regattas attracted a large number of spectators and professional scullers competed not only for trophies but also prize money. Swimmers and surfers add colour and spectacle to our riverside parks and beautiful beaches and sailing boats still catch our eye today with their graceful and seemingly effortless movement.

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Click to view Community Supporter

Community Supporter

This celluloid and tin button badge is one of a small number of surviving button badges associated with the Port Macquarie Regatta. Button badges were very popular in the early to mid 1900s and were used during World War I…

Click to view Saving Lives

Saving Lives

Surfing became part of our national culture in 1902 when a local Manly resident defied the law of the time which prohibited surf bathing during daylight hours.  As others followed and daylight bathing grew in popularity, the dangers of the…

Click to view On My Honour I Will Do My Best

On My Honour I Will Do My Best

The Scout uniform is a widely recognised feature of Scouting and the same uniforms have been worn worldwide since the Scouting Movement began in the early 1900s. This maroon neck scarf with its yellow stripes has been part of the…

Click to view From the Bottom Up

From the Bottom Up

These two scaled half model hulls were made for German Verge, a pioneering son of the Macleay Valley. The hulls are of the racing dingy Shadow, which won many regattas in the 1880s on the Macleay and Hastings rivers. The…

Click to view The  Scull of a Champion

The Scull of a Champion

This restored wooden single scull ‘Seven Oaks 2’ was used by dairy farmer Tom Saul from Bellimbopinni near Kempsey to win numerous local sculling competitions and in 1924 the Australian Heavyweight sculling title and NSW Lightweight sculling championship held on…

Community Supporter

Community Supporter

Circa 1936 / Learn more on Ehive
Regattas were held in Port Macquarie from as early as 1882 with the local regatta possibly taking its origins from the Sydney Australia Day Regatta first held in 1837

This celluloid and tin button badge is one of a small number of surviving button badges associated with the Port Macquarie Regatta. Button badges were very popular in the early to mid 1900s and were used during World War I to generate income and improve morale through their nationalist designs and sentiments. The practice of selling badges continued after the war for all kinds of fund raising activities in support of charities, sporting events, clubs and societies.

Regattas were held in Port Macquarie from as early as 1882 with the local regatta possibly taking its origins from the Sydney Australia Day Regatta first held in 1837. This badge was used to raise funds for and promote the 1936 Port Macquarie Regatta and features a photograph of the Australian champion sailing boat Tangalooma. This badge was purchased by a Telegraph Point woman who it seems often purchased fund raising button badges for worthy causes.

Fund raising and donations played an important role in providing the necessary prize money to attract entrants in the regattas. The Port Macquarie Regatta Club was assisted for many years by the Sydney Flying Squadron who provided boats, competitors and officials for the Hasting River regatta. Regattas were also common on the Macleay and Manning Rivers and included important rowing competitions.

Saving Lives

Saving Lives

Circa 1954 / Learn more on Ehive
The first surf club to be established on the Mid North Coast was in Port Macquarie in 1910. It was known as the Port Macquarie Surf Bathers’ Club

Surfing became part of our national culture in 1902 when a local Manly resident defied the law of the time which prohibited surf bathing during daylight hours.  As others followed and daylight bathing grew in popularity, the dangers of the surf became evident, so small groups of experienced and regular surfers began to form themselves into groups to assist those who needed to be rescued from their unfamiliar environment.

The first surf club to be established on the Mid North Coast was in Port Macquarie in 1910.  It was known as the Port Macquarie Surf Bathers’ Club and operated on Town Beach for a number of years, but it was not until 1923 that formal instruction in surf life saving methods, and examinations for Instructor’s Certificates, were conducted.  The present Port Macquarie Life Saving Club was formed in 1929 and examinations for Awards and Instructors’ Certificates have been held regularly since that time.

This 19th edition of the Handbook of Instruction and Examination, known as the “Blue Book,” was issued in 1954 by the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia and was owned by a local Port Macquarie resident, Ronald Bruce Meehan who obtained his Surf Life Saving Instructor’s Certificate in 1956.Bruce was an active member of the Port Macquarie Surf Club for many years, serving as an Instructor and as Club Captain from 1964 until 1966.

The first Handbook, issued by the Surf Life Saving Association of New South Wales was printed in 1921 and subsequent Handbooks have been regularly revised as new procedures and equipment have been developed.  The current “Blue Book” is known as the “Public Safety and Aquatic Rescue 34th Edition Manual” and was updated in July 2014.

On My Honour I Will Do My Best

On My Honour I Will Do My Best

Circa 1992 / Learn more on Ehive
The shirts were traditionally made from strong cotton and had thick seams making them ideal for use as makeshift stretchers, while the triangular scarves were added so they could be easily used as a sling or bandage for a Scout in need

The Scout uniform is a widely recognised feature of Scouting and the same uniforms have been worn worldwide since the Scouting Movement began in the early 1900s. This maroon neck scarf with its yellow stripes has been part of the uniform worn by members of the 1st Port Macquarie Sea Scouts since the formation of the group in 1933.  The deep red colour was chosen to represent the Port Macquarie earth and the golden stripes represent the sand on the beaches. The colour arrangement is unique to the 1st Port Macquarie Sea Scouts and cannot be used elsewhere in NSW.

However the green khaki shirt was only worn by the Hastings Sea Scouts up until 1992 when the colour was changed to navy blue.  The type and placement of the badges attached to the shirt indicate that it belonged to a member of the Cubs whose ages range from 8 years to 11 years.  The shirt carries a distinctive black badge on the right pocket of a swordfish with the word ‘Hastings’ underneath.  This badge was used by all Mid North Coast Scouts from 1933 till it was phased out in 1994.

Each shirt is unique to its owner and is distinguishable by the number and types of badges attached to it.  The badges on this shirt indicate that the owner had received Achievement awards in swimming, acting, fishing, cooking, craft work and beach activities and had achieved the required level of understanding of the scouting code and law by  being awarded the Bronze and Silver Boomerang awards.  The owner had also made a substantial contribution to raising funds for the group through involvement in the Scouts Jobs Weeks over a four year period and was also a member of a group of six scouts distinguishable by the round blue badge.

Although designed for smartness and equality, the Scout uniform was also practical.  The shirts were traditionally made from strong cotton and had thick seams making them ideal for use as makeshift stretchers, while the triangular scarves were added so they could be easily used as a sling or bandage for a Scout in need.

From the Bottom Up

From the Bottom Up

Circa 1880s / Learn more on Ehive
The Shadow won the Member’s Cup at Port Macquarie three times – 1885, 1888 and 1890

These two scaled half model hulls were made for German Verge, a pioneering son of the Macleay Valley. The hulls are of the racing dingy Shadow, which won many regattas in the 1880s on the Macleay and Hastings rivers. The Shadow won the Member’s Cup at Port Macquarie three times – 1885, 1888 and 1890. She also won the Frederickton Regatta Cup.

The half-model hulls were used as the plans to build the racing dingy and to gain the correct curvature and shape of the hull with minimum wood wastage, for maximum speed through the water. The shaping of the hull was integral to the speed of the boat and its aqua-dynamics. The hulls are made up of four layered sections on a red cedar base.  The sections are pegged and screwed together. One model is an amendment of the original, cut and reduced by 30mm. The hulls appear to have been built by a master boat builder and would have been handed to Verge at the same time as his racing dingy as ‘intellectual property’.

German Verge [1839-1920] was a son of Colonial architect and Macleay valley pioneer John Verge. He had large properties on the Lower Macleay which he farmed and grazed cattle and leased land to small farmers. He also had properties on Upper Macleay and at Tamworth. His wealth enabled him to commission racing boats and he was also instrumental in the formation of the Macleay River Co-op Steamship Co.

The Scull of a Champion

The Scull of a Champion

Circa 1923 / Learn more on Ehive
Tom’s attempt to win a world championship was unsuccessful however his son Jim won the Australian and world professional sculling championship in 1952

This restored wooden single scull ‘Seven Oaks 2’ was used by dairy farmer Tom Saul from Bellimbopinni near Kempsey to win numerous local sculling competitions and in 1924 the Australian Heavyweight sculling title and NSW Lightweight sculling championship held on the Lane Cove River in Sydney.

This scull was built by former Australian and world champion sculler George Towns. His sculls were highly regarded and sought after by professional scullers. Only a small number of them survive today. It illustrates the size and manufacture of a championship racing scull and evidences Town’s craft and scull building skills.

The Saul family had a long association with professional sculling, with Tom’s father John and his brother Jack winning many local sculling races. Tom’s attempt to win a world championship was unsuccessful however his son Jim won the Australian and world professional sculling championship in 1952 watched on proudly by his father and grandfather

Tom Saul’s collection of trophies, sashes, rowing vest and an illuminated address are also in the Kempsey Museum collection and displayed together with this scull. They are a reminder of a time when hundreds of people lined local river banks to cheer on their favourite rowers and when our rivers were the centre of local social and sporting life.