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A new roof for Etty Bay Surf Life Saving Club

25 May 2022

Etty Bay in Far North Queensland is renowned as a great spot to see wild cassowaries on the beach.

It’s also a popular locals’ beach.

About 15km from Innisfail, the beach has been patrolled by the Etty Bay Surf Life Saving Club since 1936 – making it one of Queensland’s oldest surf lifesaving clubs.

The club has a strong and vibrant community feel – with several generations of the same families serving as life savers.

The club was the first club in North Queensland to run a Nippers program – in 1970.

It has over 155 members and is one of five clubs that are part of the North Queensland Branch of Surf Life Saving Queensland, along with Mission Beach, Cairns, Ellis Beach and Port Douglas.

Given its location, the club has been at the receiving end of two of North Queensland’s most notorious cyclones – category five’s Larry in 2006 and Yasi in 2011.

Both of which caused significant damage in the region – Larry causing $1.5 billion in damage and Yasi $800 million.

The roof on the club’s outdoor education and training area took the brunt of the cyclones and badly need replacement.

As part of an election commitment, the Queensland Government provided over $114,000 to the club in 2020 to replace the roof.

The construction of the new 196 square metre roof involved seven workers – six from Innisfail-based Sultana Constructions and one electrician.

Past Club President and Life Member Brian McElhinney said the new roofed area means that the club can once again host events, such as carnivals, as well as undertake training and education courses for club and community members.

“The area can also be hired out to local community groups and schools as well as for private functions, such as weddings and birthdays,” Mr McElhinney said.

“The funding received from hiring allows the club to purchase necessary equipment, such as rescue boards, life jackets, defibrillators and first aid and medical supplies.”

Surf Life Saving Australia is the nation’s largest volunteer organisation and one of the largest volunteer movements of its kind in the world.

It has over 176,000 members with 314 affiliated surf lifesaving clubs nationwide.

According to a Deloitte study, for every $1 invested in Surf Life Saving Australia, a return of $20.20 is achieved for the Australian community.

It’s estimated that over 1300 lives and over 800 critical injuries are prevented each year because of our surf lifesavers.

Since 2015, the Queensland Government has committed $3.9 million in support for Surf Life Saving Queensland.