Venus Bay Surf Life Saving Club was formed in 1961 and is a member of Life Saving Victoria and Surf Life Saving Australia.
At that time the land of Anderson’s Peninsula was being developed as a holiday resort by the Roet family, the proceeds from the sale of blocks of land going to the building of the Neurological Institute by the Van Cleef Foundation, on the grounds of the Alfred Hospital. The opening of previously inaccessible beaches required a lifesaving club.
The club was formed as a result of two meetings, with the first being an interest meeting held at Tarwin Lower Memorial Hall. On the 24th September 1961 the inaugural meeting was held at the Tarwin Lower Hotel and Venus Bay SLSC was officially formed.
In those early days the clubhouse consisted of a ramshackle shed on the beach and basic lifesaving equipment and patrolling members ferried from Melbourne.
Since those early days Venus Bay SLSC has had three club houses and grown to over 400 members. The original clubhouse was built 100 meters from beach-head at Surf Drive, Venus Bay, in 1962, with the assistance of a donation from the Van Cleef Foundation. In 1970 a new clubhouse overlooking the beach at Surf Drive was opened. This clubhouse remained until 1999 when a new clubhouse was erected as a result of funds raised by the club members and support from the Victorian Government 21st Century Lifesaving Fund.
The new club house was built further back due to new regulations from Parks Victoria and predictions of sand dune erosion in future years. The clubhouse is now situated at the top of Surf Drive and provides equipment storage and maintenance, first aid facilities, bunk house facilities, training area/function room (200 people seated), change rooms and showers, radio room, kitchen, kiosk, administration office and a radio room with communication links to Life Saving Victoria and Police Marine Rescue.
Since 1961 the club have performed over 1,000 rescues, 20,000 preventative actions and over 100,000 volunteer patrol hours.
Successful rescues by reel and line were recorded in 1964/65, and 23 rescues took place in 1967/68. A large number of rescues were recorded in 2001/2002 where a single patrol rescued 29 individuals in one day.
First Bronze Medallion Squad
On the 1st of April 1962, Len Sutherland, Brian Bridgeman, Ian Inglis, Louis Kirby, John Cantwell and Basil DeBondt became the first bronze medallion holders for the club. It wasn't until 19 years later that women were introduced to the club as patrolling members. Wendy Duell (7/3/81) and Simonetta Danielis (21/3/81) were the first two female bronze medallion holders for Venus Bay.