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.