Clarence Valley Independent

Iluka Rotary hand over tractor

Members of the Iluka Woombah Rotary Club with their new Heart Start defibrillator and tractor and pictured with Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis and representatives of the Australian Lifeguard Service. Images: Lynne Mowbray

Lynne Mowbray |

The Iluka Woombah Rotary Club handed over the keys for a new tractor at the Iluka markets on Sunday morning, which will assist with lifeguard operations at the beach.

Rotary’s Stephen Behn presented the keys to supervisor for the Clarence Valley Australian Lifeguard Service’s, Mitch Imeson.

The tractor will be used to tow a lifeguard trailer which is equipped with rescue and safety aids, at the patrolled Bluff Beach at Iluka.

Prior to the official tractor hand over, education co-ordinator for the Australian Lifeguard Service, Ruben Roxburgh gave members of the Rotary Club an informative talk and demonstration on operating a Heart Start defibrillator, before presenting one of the machines to the Rotary Club.

The new Heart Start machine will be added to the refurbished lifeguard trailer, for use at Bluff Beach.
Iluka Rotary Club’s Stephen Behn told of the history behind the decision to start a lifesaving operation at Iluka.

“In the late 1980’s it was recognised that Iluka would benefit greatly by having surf lifesaving facilities at the Bluff Beach; the town’s main swimming area,” Mr Behn said.
“This decision would benefit both locals and tourists during holiday periods.
“A requirement of the National Parks was that the (lifesaving) equipment had to be mobile.
“The Iluka Lifeguard committee was founded, with John Caldwell as president and Marion Kurz, treasurer.
“The committee worked hard to raise funds for equipment and by 1993 they had purchased a Massey Ferguson tractor, a rubber duckie and a trailer which was modified to carry rescue boards, flags and equipment.

John maintained the equipment and stored it at his home until 2003 when the duties of the committee were handed over to the Iluka Woombah Rotary Club.

Peter and Bonnie Tyrie provided a shed free of charge to house the tractor and equipment.

Over the years a second International tractor was purchased by the Rotary Club and the rubber duckie replaced with a tradesmen’s trailer.

By 2017 it was obvious that the old International tractor was on its last legs and the trailer was in need of refurbishment.

The Iluka Woombah Rotary Club raised $7000 towards this and it was delighted when a grant from the Community Building Partnership Program was approved to provide the extra funds needed to purchase a brand new tractor.

The Rotary Club would like to thank all those who have helped maintain this vital service over the years especially those members of the original committee and of the Iluka Woombah Rotary Club.

“We’d also like to thank: Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis and the NSW Government for the grant, Ongmac Trading for providing the Kubota tractor at such a competitive price and then applying to Kubota for a further $1000 discount, Ross Roberts and Gino at Harwood Marine for repairs, sandblasting and painting of the trailer – free of charge, which saved the club over $2000,” he said.
Mitch said that he’d like to thank the Iluka Woombah Rotary Club for their massive effort.
“Over the last 20 plus years they have been so good to us,” Mitch said.
“There would be days when the tractor had broken down, sometimes at the start or the end of the day and Steve’s (Stephen Behn) come down to help us out. They do it all off their own bat and are really, really generous.
“Without them, we wouldn’t be on the beach in the comfort that we are.
“The Bluff Beach will be patrolled between; December 22, through to January 28 and then we will come back during the Easter holiday period as well,” he said.

The new tractor and refurbished trailer

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