Community news

First female lifesavers receive their Bronze Medallions

A wrong has finally been made right after 75 years

Today at Terrigal Beach, Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, who is also patron of Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA), awarded 21 Bronze Medallions to our first female lifesavers who served during World War II.

Six of the lifesavers were present to receive their Bronze Medallions in a red carpet event in front of hundreds of people in what is believed to be another first: the largest Bronze Medallion presentation Australia has ever seen. Lois Campborn, lives in Brisbane and could not attend.

The remaining Medallions were awarded posthumously to their families.

His Excellency said they “They underwent the rigours of training, together they earnt their Bronze Medallions.”

“The time for recognition is due and deserved and please wear these Bronze Medallions with great pride … yours is an extraordinary story.”

There were some that thought women couldn’t do these things. But we could do it and we proved it. Muriel James

The surviving women or their families were escorted on stage by current Terrigal SLSC members.

This award ceremony could never have occurred without the wonderful work of Terrigal SLSC historian Cathy Cole who tracked down 21 of the surviving women or their families.

Muriel James and Nola Lawn at Terrigal Beach in 1944

Muriel James is the girl in the middle, second from the front. To her left is her lifelong best friend Nola Lawn.

The National Film and Sound Archive has the original 1944 newsreel “Brother, Have You Been Saved? of the women in action. It was shown in cinemas across Australia, the US and UK and the accompanying article focuses on Muriel James (nee Ogden) .

For more information read our article, First women lifesavers from Terrigal to receive official medallions after 75 years.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


LIST OF FEMALE LIFE SAVERS BEING AWARDED THEIR BRONZE MEDALLIONS ON 22 NOVEMBER 2017

BETH BERRY

DOT BERRY

TRICIA BERRY

LOIS CAMBOURN

MURIEL DIBBEN

JOAN FOGARTY

MARIAH FOGARTY

DORA HATTLEY

OLIVE KILPATRICK

MARY KIRKNESS

NOLA LAWN

NORMA LAWRENCE

JOYCE MARSH

GWEN MOORE

MURIEL OGDEN

JEAN PAYNE

JUNE RAYNARD

JOYCE SPEARS

NORMA SPEARS

IRIS WALLWORK

NOREEN WALSH

JEAN PATEMAN – PARLIAMENTARY MEDAL

HARRY VICKERY – PARLIAMENTARY MEDAL


The Governor-General’s full speech is available on NBN.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s