The Diggers swim Club is about to turn 50

He'd be a proud man. Diggers' Life-Member, Jim Mann.

He'd be a proud man. Diggers' Life-Member, Jim Mann.

The Goondiwindi Diggers Swimming Club, as it is now known, has been “in the swim” for 50 years.

Diggers and friends have been up turning every Sunday during for the past half a century.

And while there’s been thousands upon thousands of laps swum and just as many tall tales, there’s been almost as many friendships made.

To celebrate the Club is holding a Sunday morning swim, lunch, presentation and “party” at the Goondiwindi Memorial Pool, Marshall Street, Goondiwindi on Sunday, December 17.

“We invite all past members and interested future members to come along.  Gates open at 9am with the swim commencing at 10am,” Simone Sinclair Mills said.

 RSVP to Simone on 0409610943 for catering and nomination purposes.

The history: In 1967, the Goondiwindi Services Swimming Club joined the AIF SWIMMING ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA INC.

What is the AIF?

When war was declared in 1914 and a Force of some 20,000 men were recruited to form an Army, as a parallel organisation to the existing Australian Military Forces, the Commander, Major General William Bridges, had firm views about its designation.  "I want a name that will sound well when they call us by our initials. That is how they will speak of us"

In this way the Australian Imperial Force (A.I.F.) was written into history.  From the above it was only natural that those Ex-Servicemen who organised the first Swimming Carnival in 1936, to call themselves the "A.I.F. Swimming Day Committee"

How it was formed

Towards the end of the summer of 1929, as a result of the discussion between several of the executive of the Limbless Soldiers' Association, a swimming club was formed to assist the members whose sporting activities were restricted because of their disabilities. Following the formation of the club, and up to 1935, various swims were arranged, with Diggers at Manly, Coogee and Bondi.  It was found after one such outing that a combined swimming carnival between the four groups was decided upon by "Skipper Nobbs" and Charles Hill.  Clubs were subsequently formed at Manly, Coogee and Bondi. On Saturday 12th December 1936 at 8pm members of the four clubs met to battle for new honours.

1966

The Goondiwindi Services Swimming Club held their inaugural meeting at the RSL Services Club on 25 January 1966 where it was resolved to form the Club.  The first elected executives were:

President: RB Mann

Secretary: CJ Younger

Treasurer: D Forbes

Members of the Services club were invited to be members of the swimming club.

The Club started with one event the 33metres held at the pool from 9-10am each Sunday.  Permission was sought from the Council for the use of the pool for this time.  The Swimming Club was approached for the use of their time books, ropes and stop watches.

At the next meeting held on February 3,1966 Club Captain was unanimously voted as J McCosker.  A resolution was also made to introduce associate members to the club with a minimum age of 21 years. By  February 24 an additional event was added to the program to include a 50m race.  A fine of 2 shillings was imposed when times were broken by one second (33m) and two seconds (50m).  It was further resolved to continue with the handicap system.

At the next meeting held on July 11 a motion was made to host a ‘cabaret’ at the Services Club and that the first Annual General Meeting was scheduled for September 22.  This is where the Moree Club was invited for a social swim with the Goondiwindi Club on October 30.  This may have been where the Zone Carnival was introduced.

What’s happened since

In 1968, the first publicity officer position was suggested and Mr Harold Clayton was approached to volunteer.

In 1969, the committee moved to support the Swimming Club with the erection of the Club Rooms with a note of the Services Swimming Club using the rooms.

In 1970 the meeting nominated the secretary to write swimming notes for inclusion in the Argus for each Sunday swim performance.

In 1971 there was some competition for the Club Captain position, with two nominations and a tie following a ballot.  The decision was made with the toss of a coin appointing Ian Treloar.

By 1973, the Amateur Swimming Club and Services Swimming Club were holding annual handicap swims between the two clubs.  This is also the year that the Services Club started supporting Diving Championships locally.

The Services Club was initially for men only.  It’s difficult to tell from the minutes when ladies were able to swim.  They were included in minute records in 1973.  Children competing was only at a local level and may have started around this time.  Children competing at a local level continues today with expansion in recent years to the Zone Carnival.  There are still no children competing at Interzone and AIF Carnivals.

Over the years, Goondiwindi has hosted a number of Zone and Interzone Carnivals.  Each year a number of Sydney clubs would come to join us on the January long weekend.  In 2008, Goondiwindi hosted for the first time the AIF National Carnival.  With over 400 people attending the carnival and evening function.

“We hope to see you all “on the blocks” on December 17,” Simone said.