BEHIND THE NAME, MOANA
Situated some 35 km’s south of Adelaide on the Fleurieu Peninsula lies a stretch of sandy beach.
In the early days it was known as “Dodds Beach” named after Thomas Dodd, who owned some of the surrounding land. Later, a competition was held to select a more suitable name to help real estate agents to promote the sale of land. In 1928 “Boon Boona Beach” was selected as the original winning entry, but a few years later recommendation changed it to “Moana”, a Maori word meaning, “blue sea”.
The Moana Life Saving Club was formed in January 1938, and patrolled Moana Beach until 1952 under the auspices of the Royal Life Saving Society of South Australia. The club went into recess during the war years, but in 1945 was back on the beach, only with one piece of patrol equipment, a borrowed surf reel.
In September 1952, the Moana Surf Life Saving Club was formed and affiliated with Henley and Grange Clubs to form the South Australian State Centre, which in turn affiliated with the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia. The majority of the members were also active players for the West Torrens Football Club; hence the Royal Blue and Gold colours were selected. On our competition caps, two parallel gold stripes are there to represent tyre tracks on our sandy beach.
Operating out of an old Bathing Shed just south of our present location, the club grew up in strength, under the guidance of President Mr. Colin Clements. In the summer of 1956-57 the present clubhouse was built, due to dedication and tireless efforts of club members. In 1966, an annex was added on to the northern side of the building, funded with money raised by the Ladies Auxiliary.
Our first surfboat was named “Braemar”, which was a double ender bought from N.S.W. Later on in 1957, we purchased the “Good Samaratan” from South Cronulla S.L.S.C. Several years later, the “Nashwauk” arrived (duly named after a shipwreck on our beach). The junior crew had won both State and South Coast titles in 1966-7,1967-8. Once this boat had served it’s purpose, it was donated to the City of Chicago, USA. “Nashwauk II” the proud workmanship of Mr. A.H Wallace was purchased and delivered in 1971, the last wooden surfboat to be made in South Australia.
In the mid – late 60’s, early 70’s methods of resuscitation, rescue techniques and equipment were being developed, tried and improved, so did Moana keeping up with changes, enter our first I.R.B. and 4WD. In 1979-80, the new generation of life saving has begun, for Moana.
Moana Beach has successfully hosted 3 Australian National Titles in 1961, 1982 and 1986, assisted with manpower from our neighbour clubs, several State Senior and Junior Titles as well as normal carnivals.
The fortunes of Moana ebbed and flowed during the 60s and 70s, by the late 70’s the club was beginning to drift. Fortunately with the introduction of females into surf life saving, a junior division being established, a renewed interest had developed and the club hasn’t looked back since.
Quote made by member in 1970, “The reason we do not compete at carnivals is through lack of members, the club has only 10 active patrolling personnel, who are required on our beach as their number one priority”. Today’s fortunes are now totally different, membership has escalated, we train and compete in all areas of surf life saving and we still patrol the beach successfully without loss of life.
SPECIAL ITEMS OF INTEREST
The Moana SLSC has two items of special interests kindly donated by the Late Chief Patron, Mr. Jim Ingoldby:-
DUKE KAHANAMOKU’S Surfboard
I have been led to believe that both the late Duke and Jim Ingoldby were best of life long friends who met at a surf carnival in N.S.W. in 1915. On leaving Australia, he gave a board to Jim for his use, and has since been donated to the Moana S.L.S.C.
1915 was a special year, because this was when a famous Hawaiian Olympian, Duke Kahanamoku arrived on Australian soil and introduced the Hawaiian form of surfboard riding at Freshwater Beach. He saw good surf running so he decided to have a 9-foot long board made by a Sydney timber yard.
At the time he was staying at Freshwater and was asked to stage a demonstration of his skills to the local crowds and lifesavers who lined the beach for a local surf carnival. He eventually did. There was a boat and a crew waiting to take him out beyond the break. They had know idea of how he intended getting this massive hunk of floating wood out to sea. He declined the offer, laid on the board and paddled it out.
The good surf on the day allowed Duke to angle-ride, standing up across the bay, all he was doing was riding the same way he would back in Hawaii.
Those who later got into the boardriding craze, even after seeing the duke’s exhibition, rode the heavy 40 or 50 pound boards straight in, as they had no idea of turning a solid board around in the surf, until years later.
Duke also introduced the interests of surfing on the Californian and Atlantic coast beaches of the U.S.
DOROTHY H.STERLING’S Steeringwheel
Once seen resting beneath a pergola at McLaren Vale, but has now been donated to Moana S.L.S.C.
The six masted schooner was built in 1920 in Portland, Oregon, USA The wooden hulled vessel of 2526 gross tons measured 81.4m in length, 15.3m breadth, 7.7m depth. Originally named Oregon Pine.
The vessel’s name was changed in 1927 when it was purchased by Captain Sterling who decided to change the name to Dorothy H.Sterling after his wife.
The vessel arrived in Port Adelaide in 1929 loaded with more than two million feet of lumber from the United States. After discharging it’s cargo the vessel lay idle – a victim of the Great Depression.
The owners had made no provision for wages and other necessities and so the captain and crew were forced to abandon the schooner. In an effort to recoup harbour costs, it was decided to sell the boat, the only bidder being the local shipbeaker, subsequently it was cut up and sold in useful ways.
Today the remains are still visible in the North arm grave-yard at Port Adelaide.
Moana’s Migrant Ship NASHWAUK
The beach at Moana, always crowed with surfers and swimmers on summer days, is the scene of a major shipwreck. In 1855, the sailing ship Nashwauk was wrecked at the mouth of Pedler’s Creek, becoming a total loss. The vessel was a three-masted full rigged ship of 760 tons built in Nova Scotia during 1853. She left Liverpool on February 13,1855 carrying 300 Irish migrants and general cargo bound for Adelaide, South Australia. During the early hours of Sunday, May 13, the ship was tacking up St.Vincent Gulf in variable winds, after making it’s way through Investigator Strait.
Just before dawn, the Nashwauk went aground at Moana after her lookouts mistook the low sandy coast for a cloud in the darkness. By dawn she was abandoned as a total wreck. The ship’s passengers and crew were all landed and taken to Adelaide, but storms soon destroyed the Nashwauk. Before serious salvage work could be carried out. Her cargo and remains were quickly buried under drift sand which ebbs and flows along the coast.
For most of the time, the wreck is under 1.5m-2m of sand. There are two visible reminders of the disaster today. An anchor from the ship has been erected as a memorial in the caravan park, and 50m offshore, just South of the Moana S.L.S.C. clubrooms a fragment of one of the ship’s mast rests on the bottom.
MOANA 1961 AUSTRALIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS
‘They were still talking about Merewether 20 years later at Maroochydore but in 1960-61 it was back to calmer waters in South Australia. ‘
(Extract taken from Gladiators of the Surf 1984)
When the National Council decided to stage these championships at Moana Beach (the same site in following years) on Saturday and Sunday, 11 and 12 March 1961, there were, according to the late Tom Meagher (writer in the Bondi Surfer), “the usual number of stodgy old critics” who advanced a great number of reasons why this was a very unwise decision. However, the young, active and virile State Centre decided to show the critics how much they really did not know.
The Adelaide News of that time quoted Bob Brydon, the Carnival Referee, as saying it was the best organised in 53 years history, adding, “like our president, Judge Adrian Curlewis, I am going away happy with the whole Moana carnival.”
The Advertiser said a crowd estimated at nearly 80,000 watched the carnival along one and half miles of beach and the 56 hectare paddock had 30,000 cars parked there. Fourteen police controlled the crowd.
Three clubs, Moana, Henley and Christies Beach formed the organising committee and the Carnival Organiser was Chook Fielder.
For this season there were two name changes- the Interstate Championships became the Australian National Championships and the Australian Championships became the National Inter-club Championships.
It was certainly an event to remember, they were conducted in one of the flattest surfs ever seen at Australian Championships and this certainly helped the swimmers.
MOANA 1982 – 75th ANNIVERSARY OF LIFE SAVING & AUSTRALIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS
The 1981-82 Australian Championships at Moana could be best described as very competitive. The crowds clapped politely but without the roar of Maroochydore in 1980 or Wanda in 1981.
Even when the finale song “The Carnival is Over” was played there were few people who joined in the singing. There was little of the sentimentality of some of the previous years, but maybe the weather had something to do with that. Over the three days of 26,27 and 28 March, the weather seemed to change four seasons a day and the constant wind, interspersed with the sun and some rain, dampened spirits.
Moana had been the site of the 1961 championships and among the people who were again in 1982 were some of the stars of the previous carnival.
It must have had great memories for Jon Donohoe who was working on the ABC telecast with Norman May. He had won the Senior Surf Championships here in 1961, beating Barry Rogers, of Maroubra. Barry also was back at Moana swimming in the Veterans.
Hayden Kenny, of Alexandra Headland, was there again to help his son, Grant, make history again in the Senior Ironman, but also must have been thinking back to 1961when he was second in the Senior Belt.
Co-hosts were Moana, Port Noarlunga, South Port and Christies Beach clubs, with the main sponsors being Gadsen, Pepsi, Rigby Group, Speedo, Total and Ansett.
The beach itself at Moana was ideal for an interstate carnival and this was evident in the grand parade of march past teams on the Sunday.
The surf was a different matter, changing dramatically over the three days. However, this was for the better because it brought a new competitive edge into the contest, which many had expected would be held in flat conditions.
Everybody expected the usual flat surf, and it was there on the Thursday and most of the first day when the Interstate Carnival was being held. But the weather changed and the sea was unpredictable, sometimes choppy and at other times with long runs to the buoys.
One official from Queensland, said “ he had never seen the weather change seasons four times in one day”, as he walked off the beach with frozen feet.