A Night to Remember

Souvenir of the Caves Beach 1973 Surf Club Ball

This programme was kept by Ron Ekert (1930-2019) as a souvenir of the Maroon and White Ball held by the Caves Beach Surf Life Saving Club in August 1973. Ron was a member of the club. While the Caves Beach club had an intensely competitive focus it also had an important social dimension and offered various get-togethers for members throughout each year. Its clubhouse was the venue for numerous ‘Grub and Grog’ events, presentation nights, and the Annual Maroon and White Ball named after the club’s official colours.

In 1973 the club had plenty to celebrate. Adding to decades of success since its establishment in 1929, the year had seen competition victories and a special highlight when club member Ken Murray was selected to represent the nation in the 1974 Australian Surf Team.  In this souvenir programme, a long list of the club’s accomplishments is concluded with the statement, ‘Our proudest achievement: No lives lost while patrols on duty at Caves Beach’. This demonstrates the highest priority and purpose of the club, one which even outranked the all-important pursuit of success in competition.

Advertisements seen in the programme for local businesses give a fascinating snapshot of Caves Beach, Swansea and Belmont in the early 1970s. They are for a range of stores and services, some of which might have been useful in preparation for the Ball. Melvic Fashion Centre offered fashionable children’s and ladies wear, Merripoppins was a one-stop-shop for dressmaking, and perhaps most importantly in preparation for the Ball, Alwyn of Alwyn’s Beauty Boutique welcomed the reader to come in and ‘discuss their hair problems’.

On Friday 10th August 1973, club members swapped their cossies for evening wear and arrived at the Belmont Sportsman’s Club to find the clubhouse decked out with maroon and white decorations. The club Secretary implored members to ‘make it a night to remember’. And no doubt they did.