New clubhouse to serve as war memorial

JACK TREVAN is pleased moves are being made to register the new Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore Surf Club at Lighthouse Beach as a war memorial.

Mr Trevan, who now lives in Ballina but was living in Lismore when he joined the surf club as a teenager in 1945, remembers the ‘torment’ that mothers went through as all eligible surf lifesavers from the club enlisted for service in World War II.

Of the 139 club members who served, 18 didn’t come home – 17 were from the Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore club and one from the old South Ballina club.

Those men’s names are listed on an honour roll which is currently on display in the Ballina RSL Sub-Branch Museum at the Ballina RSL Club. It is planned to return it to the new clubhouse, the DA for which is currently with Ballina Shire Council.

Surf club president, Kris Beavis, said the club was currently tracking down the war records of those men, to be sent to the NSW State Library so the planned new clubhouse can be listed on a register as a war memorial.

He said a memorial garden was also proposed in the plans for the new clubhouse.

The previous clubhouse at Lighthouse Beach, opened in 1961 and demolished in 2005, was built as a memorial to those members who paid the ultimate sacrifice serving their country.

It was opened by then Ballina mayor, Alderman Ray O’Neill, after a fundraising effort around the district, including support from many business houses, the club’s women’s auxiliary, service clubs and Sun Girl contests.

Mr Trevan said the surf club was having trouble tracking down the war records of four of the 18 men on the honour roll: Tuss Ellis and Phil Phillips, both possibly from Lismore; Norm Kobelke, from Lismore; and Eric Johnson, from Ballina.

Anyone with information on these men should contact Mr Trevan on 6686 8686.

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