‘Ye Old Bastards’

The Senior Boat Crew of Caves Beach

Posing for this photograph one day in the 1970s, the senior surf boat crew of the Caves Beach Surf Lifesaving Club were wearing their Speedo swimming briefs – a far cry from the heavy woollen bathers worn in earlier decades. Still, the club’s signature colours of maroon and white remained. They had much to celebrate and what better place than on their home turf – Caves Beach, near Lake Macquarie.

From humble beginnings when the Caves Beach Lifesaving Club was established in 1929, its lifesavers had proved to be outstanding boatmen over the decades, winning dozens of gold, silver and bronze medals in championships across the state. Today, their club is still considered one of the most successful surf boat clubs in Australia.

The club’s champion status has attracted many accolades. This has led to some new surf boats being generously donated. Boats are named after individuals who have contributed to the club’s legacy, or after the people/organisation who donated the boat. The boat in this photograph is a fun example of the latter.

The men stand proudly next to their cheekily named boat, Ye Old Bastards. It was donated by the Australasian branch of the international fund-raising organisation, the Order of Old Bastards. with a good-humoured, tongue in cheek title. It was founded in the United States after the Second World War, when some American servicemen stationed in Australia were amused to discover that the Aussie greeting of ‘G’day, you old bastard!’ was a term of endearment.