History of Terrigal Surf Club

Terrigal Surf Life Saving is charged with the responsibility of providing a safe surfing environment on one of the most popular beaches on the Central Coast of NSW used by an estimated 70,000 guests each week.

The club was established in 1920 by a small dedicated group under the leadership of the late Alistar Macarthur – Onslow. The Central Coast was one of the first regions to embrace the surf lifesaving movement and Terrigal was one of the first clubs on the Central Coast.

The Club first came into the news in 1938 when it’s boat crew was award the Royal Humane Society Certificate of Merit when attempting to rescue two people swept off the rocks into treacherous seas near the Skillion.


In 1942, with 72 of its 76 male members of the Club on military service, a group of 15 members of the Ladies Auxiliary banded together to provide water safety on the beach. Their efforts were recorded by the Daily Telegraph “To Terrigal falls the honour of having the first squad of girl lifesavers in the Commonwealth, notwithstanding the fact that they are not officially recognised by the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia”.

The Club operated initially from a shed then a one storey building until the first two storey clubhouse was constructed in 1956 near the current site. In 2001Gosford Council replaced the earlier building with the current clubhouse.

The highly popular and respected Nippers operation is an integral part of the Club which was established in 1966 as the “Sea Lions” and renamed “Nippers” in 1978. It today caters for the needs of 400 children from 6 to 14years of age.

By 1985 the number of women patrolling the beach peaked at a third of the active membership and Terrigal that year provided the Central Coast with its first all ladies patrol.

The club played host, as part of the Australian Nation’s Bicentennial Celebrations in 1988, to the Royal Surf Carnival patronised by their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales.

In 1992, Darren Borg a local young member and policeman was awarded the Royal Humane Society Bronze Medal by His Excellency The Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair for his heroic rescue of 3 fishermen off the Skillion.

Over the years the Club has been the home of many branch, state and national champions and has provided substantially to local and national representative competition teams and Surf Life Saving administration.

Terrigal Surf Life Saving Club’s performance is exemplified by Peter Wyllie, who joined the Club in 1943 at 17 yrs of age, competed for over 40 years and is now a Life Member, recalls “I can remember one carnival when we competed in 21 events and won 20 of them-and we only had 19 members”.

Today Terrigal Surf Life Saving Club is still one of the largest Surf Clubs on the Central Coast and comprises nearly 1000 members from 6 to 90 years of age.

The Club is particularly proud of its record that no lives have been lost in the flagged area since the Clubs inception which is great testament to a wonderfully successful  organisation.