Drowning death of teen 100 years ago led to birth of a surf club

ABOVE: Surfers make a circle in the ocean to commemorate the surf club’s history.

Gladys Morrow was only sixteen years old when she lost her life in the surf at Evans Head Beach on Christmas Eve in 1922.

She wasn’t the only swimmer to get into trouble that day.

The Richmond River Herald reported that “15–20 bathers were caught by a succession of waves, lifted off their feet by the undertow, and struggling on the edge of the sandpit”.

Many on the beach tried to save Gladys but she died in the surf.

A large number of people went to her funeral in Kyogle.

The Herald article described the service.

“The Rev. W. Jenkins, who read the burial service, found it impossible to finish his short address, and many wept, with him around the open grave of the departed girl.”

Evans Head was small then but the public spirited community reacted immediately to the drowning and within two days, a public meeting was called and the outcome was to form a surf club at Evans Head.

This was Boxing Day, 1922.

At that public meeting, a steering committee of 12 was established. One of the resolutions that day was a promise to the public that the beach would be guarded by an efficient beach patrol.

A century later, today, Monday, December 26, members of the surf club came together in a circle in the ocean to commemorate the tragic drowning and the beginnings of the Evans Head-Casino Surf Life Saving Club with members who have saved lives ever since.

Today, Boxing Day, December 26 surf club club members made a circle in the ocean.
Photos: Contributed

There is a gravestone for Gladys in Kyogle (below).

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