Dictionary of Sydney

The Dictionary of Sydney was archived in 2021.

Mr Pat Cullen recalls the life saving club that patrolled the Georges River in the early 1930s, interviewed in 1986

Mr Pat Cullen was born in 1912 and was interviewed in 1986 for the 'Looking Back at Liverpool: An Oral History of the Liverpool Region 1900 to 1960' project. He recalls the life saving club that patrolled the Georges River for a period in the early '30s.


INTERVIEWER: Where did you learn to swim?

PAT: In Liverpool down the river. Those days a few people were getting drowned but we did form [a] Life Saving Club and we patrolled from here to Casula, maybe ten or fifteen chaps. And we did go for life saving awards, we got the Bronze Medallion and a few of us got the Bronze Award of Merit, which is the highest award still in Australia. Most interesting. To get the Award of Merit you had to swim six hundred yards fully clothed. And in those days presumably you're walking along the bank in your shirt and you'd have a waistcoat on and a tie on and stuff and all you were allowed to do was kick your boots off, then you'd have to swim across the river backwards and forwards and dive for a brick ten feet under water. And that's what you did for the Award of Merit in those days.

Contributed By
(Excerpt from interview with Mr Pat Cullen from the 'Looking back at Liverpool : an oral history of the Liverpool region 1900-1960' conducted in 1986 by Liverpool City Council, editor and project co-ordinator Catherine Johnson ; researchers Angela Imbrosciano, Verica Miiosavijevic, Kathleen Smith.)