Who We Are
MAROUBRA SEALS WINTER SWIMMING CLUB
Maroubra Seals Winter Swimming Club was formed in 1959 and membership was restricted to active members of Maroubra Surf Club and returned servicemen from Maroubra RSL. Randwick Council gave permission for Sunday morning races at the Mahon Pool (mid way between Maroubra Beach and Lurline Bay) and in the following year further permission was given to erect an ex World War II Army hut on the cliff edge as a club house.
With the licensing of the Maroubra Seals Club itself, membership was extended to all members of the licensed club too and the Seals Winter Swimmers became a significant group in the community.
Before the formation of the Australian Winter Swimming Association, the Seals successfully competed in inter club carnivals at such varied venues as the Cronulla ocean pool, the Spit baths and Wylie’s Baths at Coogee. Since the formation of the Association our most outstanding competitors have been Alan Langford and Malcolm Allen. The two most noteworthy officials have been Fred Hoffman (who had a long connection with the WSAA) and the recently deceased surf legend Barry Rodgers who was President for over ten years.
In the early sixties the Army hut could not withstand the dual ravages of extreme weather and vandalism and the present existing brick structure was built. Randwick Council have approved plans to replace this aging building with a new improved building in the next year or so.
With the support of the Seals licensed Club, the Seals Winter Swimming Club has had an extremely close liaison with the Association, hosting meetings and has hosted many Australian Championships over the years as well as giving enormous administrative support.
Nearly a decade ago the Seals widened its community involvement by opening membership to females and they now constitute nearly 50% of our membership and in recent years proved to be our most successful competitors.
TOM SYMONDS OAM
At a meeting held on 7th April 1959, members of the Maroubra Surf Life Saving Club and Maroubra R.S.L. Swimming Club decided to form a winter swimming club. This was the birth of the Maroubra Seals Winter Swimming Club- the Seals.
The club was an instant success and helped fill the competitive and social void during winter. At that time there were only six winter swimming clubs that formed the Winter Swimming Association of Australia and the Seals were a welcomed addition.
Mahon pool- home of the Maroubra Seals Winter Swimming Club was originally a natural rock pool at the front of the cliffs at North Maroubra. During the Great Depression concrete walls were built to make the natural pool safer for swimming. The person mainly responsible for this was Patrick Mahon. Patrick was a strong advocate for safe surfing and swimming and was also a vocal proponent for having shark proof nets enclosing both Coogee and Maroubra beaches so the public could enjoy safe bathing.
During the depression he was active in helping the poor and homeless- particularly those unfortunates who had made humpies and had set up tents in “Happy Valley” now called Little Bay.
The original wooden tennis hut used by the Seals Winter Swimmers was first used by the Maroubra RSL Memorial Bowing Club and donated to the Seals when the club was founded in 1959. The hut survived the ravages of weather and time for 17 years before it was ceremoniously burnt down and replaced by the current brick and concrete structure in 1976. The then new hut was financed by a grant of $4,200 by the Maroubra Seals Club Ltd. with volunteer labour from Winter Swimming members. It provided separate change and shower facilities for men and women as well as storage facilities for the Winter Swimmers- a storage area for Council equipment was later added.