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As fire raged through the idyllic seaside town of Tathra on the state’s Far South Coast in March this year, local surf lifesavers rallied to play their part alongside hundreds of other members of the community.

That dedication, resilience, and extraordinary skill was formally recognised at the 2018 NSW Surf Life Saving Awards of Excellence in Sydney last weekend with the call-out teams from Tathra, Pambula and Bermagui jointly named the Services Team of the Year.  

The Far South Coast Director of Lifesaving Andrew Holt, himself a Pambula SLSC member, spoke on behalf of the clubs at lifesaving’s night of nights.

“I think the most significant thing was the fact that the Tathra and Bermagui Surf Clubs were both evacuation and community centres after the fires.

“For such a catastrophic event the surf clubs were really good places to be for everyone within the community who needed them.

 “As a team we all worked well despite the many challenges that were thrown at us including not being able to communicate by radio. It was a joint effort of everyone involved,” Mr Holt said.

The events of the bushfire began on March 18 as the Tathra SLSC and Pambula SLSC teams took to the water on the beaches and in the river at Tathra to provide operational support through intelligence gathering and rescue capability, while the Bermagui SLSC call out team responded to a request from NSW Police to open the club house as an Evacuation Centre.

The water crew patrolled until well into the night under extraordinarily trying conditions, not knowing if their own homes were safe, as they kept a watchful eye on the fire.

Bermagui provided shelter for over 300 evacuees from the local community on short notice and no training for an emergency on this scale.

That they did so within five minutes was an incredible testament to those involved. 

The three clubs have been widely praised for their professionalism during the emergency, and are deserved winners of the 2018 Services Team of the Year award.

The 2018 SLSNSW Awards of Excellence are proudly supported by Port Authority of New South Wales with almost 400 of Surf Life Saving’s most outstanding lifesavers, athletes, educators, coaches, and administrators from around the state gathering at Dockside, Cockle Bay to celebrate the season that was.

The Tathra, Pambula and Bermagui call-out teams were the joint winners for the Services Team of the Year award 

For a full list of all the winners, and to see photographs from the night, please visit the SLSNSW Awards of Excellence Event Page or our social media channels


Wednesday 29 August 2018