Old photo helps history

Osric Notley's relatives from the Central Coast (from left) great nephew Dennis West, niece Peggy West and great great nephew Andrew West with the original bravery award Osric Notley received for an ocean rescue on Main Beach Yamba in 1912 the family have donated to the Yamba community. PHOTO: Debrah Novak
Osric Notley's relatives from the Central Coast (from left) great nephew Dennis West, niece Peggy West and great great nephew Andrew West with the original bravery award Osric Notley received for an ocean rescue on Main Beach Yamba in 1912 the family have donated to the Yamba community. PHOTO: Debrah Novak Debrah Novak

WHEN Central Coast grandmother Peggy West read about her relative Osric Notley in the metropolitan newspapers this year, she decided to make contact with the Yamba Surf Club.

The 90-year-old's uncle, Osric Notley, was Yamba Surf Lifesaving Club's treasurer 100 years ago and was earlier this year acknowledged in the Centenary Of Australian Surfing Photography exhibition at the Yamba Museum.

Mr Notley was a Maclean photographer and spent most of his free time during the summer months at Yamba. He is credited with taking Australia's first surfing photo at Main Beach Yamba in the surf lifesaving season of 1911/12, of visiting Manly surfer and surf lifesaver Tommy Walker

I was hoping the national marketing campaign for the exhibition I was running would unearth a living relative. I was over the moon when the Yamba Surf Club gave me a copy of Peggy West's letter. Last week Ms West and her family decided to donate a part of their family history to the Yamba community. They have donated Mr Notley's framed bravery award which he and three other club members received for a major rescue on Main Beach Yamba 100 years ago. Mr Notley, along with Messrs Redman, Englert and Fitzgibbon rescued three men swept out to sea on Boxing Day 1912 with one of the men drowning during the rescue. The four were presented with awards by the Royal Shipwreck Relief & Humane Society and it is MR Notley's award that has been given to the Yamba community.

I am also working with Manly Life Saving Club historian Ray Moran on an application to have Tommy Walker formally recognised as the man who introduced surfing to Australia and Osric Notley provided the evidence.

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