It is with sadness that the Club informs you that Colin Cook passed away on the morning of 15th April 2024.

The Funeral Cortege for Colin Cook will arrive at the Main Entrance of Karrakatta Cemetery, Railway Road, Karrakatta at 10.00 am on Monday 29 April 2024 for a Cremation Service.

Vale Colin Cook

VALE – Colin Desmond Cook

29th October 1932 – 15th April 2024

Colin Desmond Cook, best known at the Club as ‘Cookie’, was born on 29th October 1932, a month after the foundation of the Swanbourne Surf Life Saving Club. Thus, Cookie and the Club shared many milestones, in particular the 50th, 60th and 75th Anniversaries.

Colin joined the Club on 18th November 1946 as a Sub Junior, gaining his Bronze Medallion, SLSAA 26601 on 20th February 1949, aged 16 years and 3 months, with the Swanbourne Nedlands SLSC in the 1948/49 Season. Along with Colin, the balance of his Bronze Medallion squad was Austin Atherden, Colin Born, Jim Seabrook, Wally Wegner and Colin Weir. With a trio of Colin’s one can imagine there would have been some tomfoolery during their instruction! Colin subsequently gained his Instructor’s Certificate (the equivalent of the Trainer Officers Certificate), SLSAA No. 4436, on 19th December 1951.

Colin was a strong swimmer, which would prove advantageous in the surf and to the Club. In 1946 and 1947 the Club had impressive results being crowned Surf Champions, as winners of the Senior Rescue and Resuscitation (R&R), followed in 1947 with Bernie Kelly winning the State and Australian Senior Belt Races.

Apart from Bernie Kelly. his brother John. the Wales brothers, Pat Walsh and the diminutive Fred Thorne,
the Club also began to benefit from a fine crop of junior swimmers. This development may have been aided by the fact that Swanbourne-Nedlands developed a very fruitful partnership with the Nedlands Swimming Club. Surf club members travelled to the weekly competitions in the Nedlands Baths by buses hired from the United Bus Co. in Claremont. Besides giving the Club swimmers increased competition, as well as introducing them to another sport – water polo – several promising swimmers were recruited. Among the best known were the Atherden brothers, Gerry. Austin and Peter. In fact, it was Peter who won The Junior Belt Race Championship in 1951, the first Swanbourne member to achieve such a feat. At the same time Jim Seabrook, Colin Cook and one or two others were coming to the fore so it seemed that the Club would have strength in swimming for most of the 1950s.

Unfortunately, that was not the case, for these were the “Morrison years” when there was tremendous depth in both belt and surf races. Cottesloe and North Cottesloe completely dominated the scene and their swimming strength overflowed into the R&R event so that other clubs had to be content with making up the numbers. Apart from Colin Cook and the highly talented John Wegner who pressed Cottesloe’s Tony Hawson hard when the two were juniors, Swanbourne’s post-war swimming strength faded away until the late 1950s, when a further resurgence occurred.[1]

[1] Extract from Striving To Serve, Swanbourne-Nedlands Surf Life Saving Club, The First Fifty Years 1932-1982, written by: Ross Bosworth and Ed Jaggard with assistance from Reg Trigg.

At the 1951 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships held at Scarborough, brothers Austin and Peter Atherden along with Colin Cook and Jimmy Seabrook placed third in the Junior Surf Teams, behind their NSW rivals. All four were members of the West Australian State Team for the 1951 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships.

Colin Cook was awarded Life Membership of the Swanbourne Nedlands Surf Life Saving Club in 1969.

Few members have enjoyed such a long career as Colin Cook, swimmer, beltman, one-time long distance runner and champion lifesaver. In fact Colin swam in the belt at carnivals for over twenty years, being a tough, tenacious competitor. Unfortunately, erratic eyesight hampered his swimming (girls were far easier to focus upon than buoys), but in his prime he was among the best in the State, and a member of the State Team in 1950-51. Colin also won a State Champion Lifesaver title and every trophy that the Club could offer. That said it must be admitted that he has always been a controversialist, determined to prove his many points. One was the need for the Club to own a surf cat. During the season or so that Colin was at the helm some frightening sights were witnessed amid the Swanbourne dumpers. Perhaps the only manoeuvre which he didn’t attempt in the ‘cat’ was a backward somersault – the forward became a speciality, accompanied by strangled cries from the crewman who invariably ended up with yards of rope wound tightly around his neck!

Always an individualist, always an “ideas man”, Colin still entertains everyone with his jokes and dramatic finishes to swims. It is fitting that in 1982 he and the Club to which he has given so much, including two seasons as President (1974-76), should each be celebrating their fiftieth year.[2]

[2] Extract from Striving To Serve, Swanbourne-Nedlands Surf Life Saving Club, The First Fifty Years 1932-1982, written by: Ross Bosworth and Ed Jaggard with assistance from Reg Trigg.

Colin continued to serve the Club as a dedicated administrator, organiser and competitor. He was either the Club Vice President or Deputy President from 1986/87 until 1996/97 when those positions were restructured in an update of the Club Constitution that year. Between 1997/98 and 2002/03 he was the Club’s Buildings Officer, diligently looking after the facilities, doing a lot of the handyman maintenance, organising repairs and cleaning up after parties. He also was responsible for hiring out the hall for private functions and facilitated a long-term hire arrangement with a yoga group, generating a steady and reliable income for the Club.

In 1992 to mark the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the Club, Colin procured photographs of all the past Presidents and these were mounted in the gymnasium. In 1994/95 Colin was involved in the planting of a number of olive trees in the dune south of the (then under construction) patrol tower. Sadly, the olive trees did not survive. The following season in conjunction with the new Patrol Tower and First Aid Room construction, the natural gas pipeline was extended to service the Surf Club buildings, resulting in cheaper and more efficient showers and an attractive, functional gas BBQ in the grassed courtyard. The new BBQ was named ‘Cookie’s Cooker’ in testimony to Cookie’s determination to ensure the Club had only the best facilities. The BBQ was removed in August 2022 during the recent Club building redevelopment, after serving the Club for 28 years. During the later years the gas line was blocked, however, a metal then wooden cover protected the BBQ. The wooden cover allowed the BBQ to become a raised podium dance stage during the Blue Party, as well as an obstacle course element for Surf Fit.

In season 1995/96 Colin Cook was made a life member of Surf Life Saving Western Australia, due to his continued dedication and service to Swanny for the previous 48 years. Cookie had held nearly every Committee position at the Club and was well known for his stubborn competitiveness both on and off the field. Colin received his Life Membership from the State Governor at the 1996 State Championships, resplendent in a Club white silk tracksuit.

Cookie was instrumental in setting up and running the inaugural Swim-Thru. The annual Swanny Ocean Classic, previously known as the Annual Cottesloe to Swanbourne Swim-Thru (the ‘Swim-Thru’) has become the most important and successful fundraising event on the Club’s calendar. The Swim-Thru started in 1986 after repeated requests from two long-serving members, Colin Cook and Ron Haigh. Club records show that both men were keen to start a Swim-Thru and both worked hard in the first few years to make it a success. The workload, being carried by only two members, was immense, and no one at the Club at the time can fail to remember how hard Cookie, in particular, worked to make it a success. He did everything from designing and printing the entry forms to running the event itself and even cooking the breakfast afterwards.

In 1989, the Swim-Thru was badly affected by a problem that no one could have foreseen; fog in the middle of summer. The fog was so bad that one couldn’t see even as far as the pylon from the shore at Cottesloe Beach.
It was impossible to do any water safety and with the safety of the public the highest priority, the event was cancelled for that morning and postponed to a later date.

Fog wasn’t the only drama in 1989, with the appropriately named Tropical Cyclone Ned forcing the cancellation of the planned April 1st re-run. TC Ned crossed the WA coast near Rockingham on 1 April 1989. In the Perth metropolitan area, gusts peaked at 110 km/h and caused some roof damage. Winds in excess of 100 km/h also took place on Rottnest Island and in Fremantle. The Swim Thru was finally re-run the following Saturday, 8th April 1989. As the results show, Cookie kept his sense of humour!

Thanks mostly to Cookie’s persistence with organising the event and in particular making sure that every swimming venue in the state had entry forms (even if he had to hand-deliver them himself), the event continued to grow in popularity. In 1996, a major change was initiated by the Management Committee. The Club, now realising the importance of the event, began to become better organised and started to share the workload especially with the planning and organisation prior to the day of the race. Although Cookie was still very actively involved, the Swim‑Thru became much more of a team event than it had been in the past. In recognition of Cookie’s contribution to starting and running the event for the previous thirteen years, the Swim was renamed the “Cottesloe to Swanbourne Colin Cook Swim Thru” or “Cottesloe to Swanbourne Colin Cook Ocean Classic” for 1999 and 2000.

Cookie continued his involvement, for many years towing the trailers to transport swimmers belongings from the start to the finish. Once that became too hard physically, he would still make sure the organisers were reminded to hire the trailers and have them available to assist swimmers.

Cookie’s major contribution to the Club has been in the competition arena. In 1961/62 Colin was State Champion in the Senior Champion Lifesaver, a competition in which the Club has a proud legacy. In subsequent years he was runner up twice and third once. As a competitor in the Masters, Cookie is the most decorated member in the history of the Club. Since 1982, he has won 16 gold medals, 39 silver medals and 23 bronze medals at the Masters State Championships, in events including beach sprint and flags, surf race, board race, ski race, ironman and ski and Taplin relays. Two of the highlights of his career are competing at the Australian Masters Championships in Collaroy in 1992 and beating Don Morrison in the ironman in 1999. In a parallel with his early surf life saving competitive endeavours, the “Morrison years” also applied to Cookie’s Masters competition, as Don Morrison was of a similar age and still fiercely competitive. For many events they were the only two competitors in the age group.

At Club level, Cookie was a strong and determined competitor. 6 times Open Club Champion Belt Race and
5 times Open Club Champion Surf Race along with a single Open Club Champion Board Race. Cookie was also Open Club Champion Lifesaver 4 times in succession from 1961/62 to 1964/65. For much of his time at the Club, Cookie was a fixture at the weekly Sunday morning Points Races. Handicapper for 5 seasons from 1985/86 to 1989/90, Colin has won 14 perpetual trophies including a record 7 wins in the F.E. Ford Cup (1 mile/1600 m swim) and 4 wins in the Caris Cup Club Marathon along with 2 wins in the Oldham Memorial Cup (¾ mile/1200 m swim) and a single Presidents’ Cup (½ mile/800 m swim) to go with many placings. At Points Races he competed in the Long Swim until the 2011/12 season but continued on as timekeeper until 2015/16, always determined to learn the names and meet the new Club members. Colin competed in the 2013 Club Championships, completing the Long Swim.

Peter Atherden, Austin Atherden,

Colin Cook, Jimmy Seabrook

Junior Surf Teams Bronze Medallists

1951 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships

 

Colin Cook receives his Life Membership of Surf Life Saving Western Australia from the Governor,
Major General Philip Michael Jeffery, AC, CVO, MC at the 1996 SLSWA State Championships.

 

Cookie receiving a trophy as winner of the Oldham Memorial Cup in December 1998 from Tony Leaversuch at the Christmas Lunch.

The trophy is actually the Presidents’ Cup, not the Oldham Memorial Cup!

 

 

Colin was an apiarist (beekeeper), with several hives in his backyard. He would kindly give Club members a jar of his honey. Once you had a jar, you could return it once empty and Colin would provide you with another. Colin made his own label, Pure Garden Honey. In 2014 the Swanny Ironman Series started at the Club and we produced a Pure Garden Honey promotion with plenty of bee based puns. Colin kindly hosted Bernadette Williams and Lucy Gunzburg as well as posing for some of the photos, including in full beekeeping suit. The tag line ‘Powered by Pure Garden Honey’ was subsequently retained for the Swanny Ironman Series.

 

Swanbourne Nedlands SLSC 75th Anniversary Dinner, 2007 – Club Presidents.
Left to right. Tony Leaversuch, Colin Cook, Peter Goff, Ted Foley, Jon Broomhall, Tim Tucak, Peter Brigg, John Foley, Erin Gallagher (nee McKeown), Ed Jaggard, Cameron O’Beirne and Ivan Martinovich.

 

Colin with his blue Anderson ski at the SLSWA State Championships, 1990 at City of Bunbury SLSC.

Surf Life Saving Association of Australia (W.A. State Centre)

Australian Surf Life Saving Championships

Jubilee Year, 1951

Held at Scarborough (W.A.) Easter Saturday, 24th March and Easter Monday, 26th March, 1951.

The West Australian Team

Back Row – G. Donley, J. Julian, K. Power, E. Carnaby, G. Gilbert, R. Atkinson, B. Acton.

Fourth Row – A. White, R. Stubbs, L. Russell, G. Russell, D. Rodgers, R. Hartley, I. Atkinson.

Third Row – P. Atherden, G. Atherden, A. Atherden, D. Dohnt, A. Foxon, C. Jarrott, J. Cassidy, J. Kelly, C. Cook, M. Morrison.

Second Row – H. Kimber, R. Tassicker, P. Hounslow, C. V. Addison (Instructor), D. H. Carter (Deputy State Superintendent), D. Molyneux (Selector), A. E. Prior (State Superintendent),  J. G. Hatchett (Instructor), E. Carruthers, R. Hounslow, P. Thomsett.

First Row – C. Catto, D. Morrison, D. Murrie, R. Rankine-Wilson, L. Cottman, J. Seabrook.

Absent – R. Baker, L. Watkins