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It is with great sadness that Surf Life Saving NSW advises the passing of Life Member Dennis O’Sullivan.

Friends knew him as ‘DOS’, a surf lifesaver who put his heart and soul into building communities and uniting clubs.

DOS gained his Bronze Medallion on Australia Day in 1963 at Wanda SLSC ahead of an incredible 57 years of service across three branches.

Just two years after joining Dennis gained his training officers certificate and later his assessor qualification on top of the many management positions he held across his clubs, branches and the State body.

Professionally, DOS was a successful civil engineer and very community-focused.

A long-time and distinguished member of the movement, he demonstrated sustained commitment with his clubs Wanda, Ocean Beach, Tacking Point and Port Macquarie, said Robert Smith who nominated him for SLSNSW Life Membership in 2010.

DOS held many high profile roles within all his clubs. “He was a great leader and worked hard,” said long-time friend and club mate Ken Wilson. “He was my first patrol captain at Wanda and everywhere he went he would take up positions to help better the club.”

He contributed to grassroots development and was a strong voice and representative as club and branch delegate, president and was admired for his dedication. He spent seven years as SLSNSW Director of Finance between 2007 and 2013 with Tony Haven as President.

Dennis O'Sullivan
Dennis O'Sullivan receives his Surf Life Saving NSW Life Membership from President Tony Haven.

“He was a forward thinker and went out of his way to gauge the feelings of the membership,” said Tony Haven.

“DOS worked hard to ensure the successful purchases of the SLSNSW properties at Belrose and Port Macquarie and set up the futures fund for emergency funding.

“He was very much for the membership and did so much for the clubs and branches, always thinking about their development and future,” said Tony Haven. “He was a great man, he knew everyone and I’ve never heard a bad word spoken about him.”

Not only a leader, DOS played a part in surf sports as both a competitor and official. He won a State Title in Rescue and Resuscitation (R&R) in 1963 and in 1972 he won a national silver medal in the Pillow Fight event at Swansea Belmont.

He was also a competitive surf boat rower who raced in the Open division in some very heavy seas, recalls Tony Haven. “I remember one carnival at Kempsey-Crescent Head in the ‘70s when the surf was huge. DOS and his crew were one of the only crews to make it out to the cans and back,” he said.

Dennis O'Sullivan
Wanda SLSC 1968/69 Pillow Fight Champion Dennis O'Sullivan - His most prized trophy. 

Dennis is survived by three sons Paul, Andrew and John, grandchildren Sam, Ashley, Danielle, and great-grandchildren Jy and Tino.

Paul said, “As his family, we all highly respected and appreciated the effort and compassion he put into Surf Life Saving and the people within the clubs.”

The memory and legacy of Dennis O’Sullivan in Surf Life Saving will be enduring.

The memorial for Dennis O’Sullivan is 10am Wednesday 26 February at Port Macquarie Crematorium and Memorial Gardens.

Dennis O'Sullivan
Dennis with his surf boat crew. 


Thursday 20 February 2020