Legend has it that SSCC was founded at a picnic in Prince Edward Park in Woronora in May 1972 by Albert & Gwen Hopkins; Bob & Sue Lawton; Rod Jolliffe; Shirley & Ray Abrahall; Mary, Cam, Barbara & David Penton; Ron Bennett, Alan Willard, Rob & Elizabeth Hodsdon, Ron & Lyn Cannings. The first official meeting was 5 May 1972. These folks were very active with the organisation of NSW Canoeing which would later become PaddleNSW.
History of the Sutherland Shire Canoe Club Facilities
The first year (1972) began meetings being held in people’s homes. As the club grew, meetings were shifted to the Bates Drive School and then to the Como School of Arts in 1976.
Fund raising and hard work enabled the club move into the clubhouse in Jannali Park in August 1980 (NB: the Jannali Park was renamed to the Burnum Burnum Sanctuary).
The club extended the facilities to provide more boat storage in 2006 and again in 2013/14 to make use of the unused Council worker’s kitchen and storage shed, creating new kitchen, internal toilet and shower, a gear storage shed and installing a new concrete slab under the awing facing the water to create a small covered veranda. Both extensions were funded by the club and a NSW Government Grants. As usual, the costs were kept to a minimum thanks to the generous donation of club member’s experience, time and tools.
In 2019 the club’s attention once again turned to expanding the existing boat storage facilities. Discussions with Council in 2020-2021 opened up the possibility of Council working with the club to build a modern purpose built facility in a new location. At the AGM on18 July 2021, members voted in principle to support these discussions with Council.
President Joan Morison leads the establishment of a Club House at Jannali Park
From the 40 Year Anniversary Book:
As President in the 1979/80 year [Joan Morison], the Club’s biggest decision was to subscribe to a Council built amenity in the Jannali Park new recreation area. I headed a Committee that had vision for the future of SSCC.
October 1979: Tree planting and Work Bee. The Council to supply trees (we can name them after ourselves). Notice in CANEWS said to bring a shovel & wheelbarrow (Dad), Bucket & Spade (littles), Gloves & Rake (Mum), 2 gallons of fresh water for the tree, kayaks and canoes for fun, food for the BBQ.
December 1979: The Council started work in earnest. Ground near boat ramp has been topped dressed and two BBQs erected. Later covered tables will be provided, but they are now concentrating on our area (end of peninsular we now call the slot). Seven poles, bipods and wires are in place. No vandalism so far. All the trees look healthy. The Bell tree has a broken stake. Building of facility is due to start. Council encourage the club members to use the area regularly.
March 1980: A good roll up at our slalom site including visitors from RCC & thanks to Gordon Hocking who mowed the grass. The place is looking good.
June 1980: The new Club facility, toilet block & showers are progressing well. It is hoped we can use them by Spring.
July 1980: The Amenities block is finished except for power and racks to hold canoe moulds. Council advised the opening for next month, as many members as possible to attend. We shall receive Council invitations and they provide us with morning tea in a special marquee with PA system etc.
Our club contributed $1500, Council $9000, State Government $6000. The toilets and showers are for public use and not ours exclusively.
Many members were thanked for their vision in getting this project underway.
10th August 1980: Grand Opening. Weather perfect. The Sutherland Shire Silver Band entertained us. The Shire President did the honours and presented SSCC’s President (Ross Morgan) with the keys. NSWCA [NSW Canoe Association] President, Lawrence Cox was there and several members of Illawarra. Club members turned up in force including a number of previous members. Kevin Newton organised a Slalom, a successful raffle raising $90 was held.
Further Facts about Jannali Park …
The turf around the building cost $1500, soil underneath $700e trees planted in the area $200. Soon there will be fences around trees to protect them. The rock retaining wall at the water’s edge goes down two feet in the mud. All the rock came from excavation at River Road. The area adjacent to the Slalam Course at the end of the peninsular will be grassed, water will be laid on and picnic tables added.
Eventually the area adjacent to all this activity will be playing fields. It is currently a Council dump. SSCC has been asked not to take cars past the gate.
To-day, in 1997, Sutherland members are reaping the benefits. The Slalom Course was moved because of vandalism. Every activity now takes place near the facility.
We use the area as our base. It is great for teaching basic skills, fun paddles, handicap races, BBQs and meetings.
Joan Morison (President 1979/80) Editor & Treasurer in 1997
10 August 1980 – Clubhouse Opens
The clubhouse was opened 10 August 1980 by Councillor Allan.
In late 2004? SSCC put a proposal to Council to enlarge the facilities to provide more boat storage.
Construction began on the 3rd of October 2006. The Council supplied a container to be used as a temporary storage facility for boats.
2005-05-01 Viking Venture race was held as a fundraiser for the clubhouse extensions
The club secured a grant from the State Government for $7,751 for the new extensions. Council agrees to pay the balance.
Building the facility left the club $10,000 in debt but they continued to fundraise in earnest, including a Bunnings Stall, selling club aprons (which are still used at club BBQs today), raffles, BBQs,, kayak races, etc.
Club member John Eades volunteering his time to knock through the old kitchen into the unused council kitchen in 2014.
SSCC Car Park
Since the opening of the clubhouse, SSCC members were allowed to park inside the park on the grass area next to the clubhouse.
Prior to 2018???? access to the clubhouse was via the Burnum Burnum boat ramp carpark at Woronora. In 2018???? the Council changed access to be from Washington Drive at Bonnet Bay. This meant unlocking 3 gates and a longer drive for most members but it was better than not be allowed to park close to the clubhouse. This arrangement was in place until 2021 when club carpark was moved to the grass area inside the park at the boat ramp side of the park.
2021 – Burnum Burnum Playground Upgrade
A major upgrade of the park play area in 2021 had significant impact on our club. With the park being even more popular with young families than ever parking became a nightmare. Initially Council’s approach was to make us park in the general car park but after raising numerous safety concerns about members carry long kayaks and skis through a very busy car park, Council gave us permission to park inside the park gate.
Clubhouse Extension Proposal
Discussions commenced with Council in 2020 about an extending the clubhouse to further increase boat storage.
The first formal meeting with Council was held on Wednesday 23 December 2020 when President John Denyer and Vice President Annette Mathews met with Mayor Steve Simpson and members of his management team.
19 March 2023
[10 April and 26 June 2022]
[31 Oct 2021]
Junior 5K Double
Lachlan Stokes and Ash Scott
21min 38 sec
1 May 2022
[20 Feb 2022]
Open Female* 5K
20 Mar 2022
[5 Dec 2021]
Open Male* 5K
13 Sept 2020
Open Double 5K
Lachlan Stokes and Ash Scott (both are Juniors)
21min 38 sec
1 May 2022
[20 Feb 2022]
John Denyer & Gareth Stokes
5 Dec 2021
5 Dec 2021
NB: Club TT records are recognised for SSCC members only (guest attendees times are not included. At the present time, no guest paddlers have beaten these records)
* Fastest in a single craft
** Adjusted time based on the Hawkesbury Classic Handicap system
# The time set by 9 year old Harrison Bish on 31 July 2022 (17 min 22 sec) has been set as the baseline for this course
Fastest Times Set by Guest Paddlers
Guest Open Male* 5K
10 April 2022
* Fastest in a single craft
#It’s possible that a guest paddler has a faster time prior to this date but we haven’t kept track of these times.
Bruce was the club President – 1975/76 to 1976/77 and again
1993/94 to 1994/95. Joan was President for only one year, 1979/80, but she and Bruce are revered as the driving force behind the club since its inception in 1972.
Joan is affectionately known as Australia’s first lady of paddling by the Australian paddle community.
The couple was involved in the sport for more than 65 years as pioneer competitors and administrators. They were founding members (and life members) of the peak national and state bodies for canoeing and were affiliated with state, Australian and International Olympic councils and the International Canoe Federation.
Joan joined Bruce in the late 1940’s to convene a meeting that established the Youth Hostels Association Canoe Club. The club provided the opportunity for YHA members to experience canoeing up to 1974. In fact, they actually conducted the first NSW Canoe Championships under the auspices of the NSW Canoe Association.
Both were talented paddlers and Joan was selected in the ‘‘train on’’ squad for the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games but was barred when she fell pregnant. She missed the Games, despite having her child well before they started.
But that didn’t stop Joan. In 1952 she became the first of three women to paddle 100 miles (160 kilometres) and went on to complete in dozens of marathons. She even timed the arrivals of her children between important races.
As the sport evolved through the 60s and 70s, Joan and Bruce were at the cutting edge, playing a key role in all aspects of its development, including safety training.
Joan coached at the Australian Institute of Sport. From 1986-2003, the couple ran junior development camps and many of their students went on to win state, national, international and Olympic medals. The Morisons also were key officials at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney – Joan with slalom and Bruce with sprint.
In 1992, Joan was awarded an OAM (Medal of the Order of Australia) for services to the sport of canoeing and in 2003 became a life member of Australian Canoeing (later to be known as Paddle Australia).
Bruce received his OAM in 2009. At the time of her nomination, Joan did not know that he had also been nominated in 1992 but chose not to accept at that point, so as not to detract from her achievement. In 2014 the Morisons were honoured in the 20th Annual NSW Sports Federation Awards with a Distinguished Long Service Award, the first time it was awarded to a couple.
There have been a myriad of achievements along the way, whether it be ‘starring’ in time trials at Sutherland Shire Canoe Club, where Joan and Bruce were founding members, or a marathon.
Joan finally hung up her marathon paddle in 2012, after notching up 26 runs in the 111-kilometre Hawkesbury Canoe Classic from Windsor to Brooklyn. At 81, she was the first octogenarian to complete the race.
Joan passed away 17 May 2015, six months after for beloved Bruce.
SSCC celebrates Joan and Bruce’s contribution to SSCC each year with the Morison Cup 5K Time Trial. The event is the final race in our annual 5k Time Trial Series. The aim of this Time Trial is to have fun while raising funds for The Cancer Council. The event is awash with the colour of silly hats.
The inaugural PNSW Morison 50 (October 2020) is named in honour of Joan. Due to the COVID pandemic, this event was the only NSW Ultra Marathon run in 2020.
Today (25th May 2015) we said farewell to our dear friend Joan Morison OAM, the Matriarch of Australian Canoeing. Joan and Bruce were there at the start of organised paddle sport in Australia and in the early days Australian Canoeing “Head Office” was the kitchen table of their Oyster Bay home.
It is said that no one is actually dead until the ripples they have caused in life can no longer be felt. With their contribution to the formation of Australian Canoeing, the ripples created by Bruce and Joan continue with every bow wave and paddle splash.
Their contribution was immeasurable and timeless.
Rest In Peace Joan
Paddle NSW organised a paddle guard of honour at the funeral.
Today [December 22nd 2014] I received the incredibly sad news that Bruce Morison OAM, one of the stalwarts of the Sutherland Shire Canoe Club since it’s inception, passed away today after a period of illness. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to his wife Joan, and their family.
My lasting memory of Bruce will be the last time I watched him paddle at the club. He struggled to walk down the slope from the clubrooms to the beach. His knees were giving him trouble. As he climbed slowly into the canoe with Joan, she muttered something I didn’t quite hear and he replied with a sly smile, “wiggle, wiggle, bounce, bounce, yeah, yeah!” It was obviously a rite that had been recited many times over the years they paddled together. As they pulled away from the beach, it was as if 30 years had been left on the beach. They tore down the slot in perfect time, executed a series of tight turns and then gave Kate and I a run for our money as we struggled with our own canoe. This is how I will remember Bruce.
The club has sent flowers on behalf of the members.
President, Sutherland Shire Canoe Club
22nd December 2014.
Kaye and Bert are members of a small but prestigious group of SSCC members. Bert was award life membership in 2009 and Kaye in 2021. The only other life members are Joan and Bruce Morison.
has been our head timekeeper since the inception of the club
was the SSCC Secretary from 1984/85 to 1986/97
LifeMembership Award – For her significant contribution to SSCC, December 2021
Kaye has been a volunteer at SSCC since the club began in 1972 and she has been our head timekeeper for as long as anyone can remember. Legend has it that she was a timekeeper at the Cronulla club before Joan Morison split away to form SSCC. Kaye was the first person at SSCC to learn to use Webscorer, but she prefers to rely on her trusty stopwatch. She has mentored every SSCC timekeeper, including the current ‘assistant, trainee and cadet’ timekeepers.
But Kaye is more than a timekeeper at SSCC. She has helped a lot of beginner paddlers (back when she paddled herself) and she always has words of encouragement for new members. After doing the timing and sorting out the PBs, Kaye always helps out with Time Trial BBQs. She never fails to bring her home grown salad to share with the racers. Kaye’s contribution goes well beyond SSCC:
As we understand it, Kaye timed the very first Marathon event run under NSW Canoeing, however many years ago that was.
Kaye has continued to support the Marathon series for as long as PaddleNSW (and Bob Turner) can remember and has always been available to assist with timekeeping whenever asked. Armed with her trusty stopwatch, pen & paper, she regularly produces times and results well in advance of the various forms of ‘technology’ we’ve adopted over the years. If there’s ever a question about a result or time, it’s Kaye’s timesheets that we go to first.
In 2018 Kaye was awarded a Paddle NSW Distinguished Long Service Award – For significant contribution to paddling over a period extending 15 years or more.
Bert was rewarded for his decades of service to the club in 2009 with a Life Membership award. Bert was only the 3rd person to be made a Life Member. He shares this honour with Joan and Bruce Morison.
Bert was the SSCC:
President – 1982/83 to 1983/84
Vice President – 1980/81 to 1981/82
Quatermaster – 1984/85
2014-10 Bert gets a new k1 that he’s still paddling in 2022
Several well known river “Tyre Kickers” were spotted giving Bert’s boat a going over. Most of the Swallow Rockers had a paddle and all gave the boat the thumbs up. The old heavyweight Dancing Queen has been pensioned off and Bert should be hard(er) to catch than ever in future time trials on the Wonnie.
Over the years SSCC has had the privilege to call a huge number of paddlers our dear friends. Some paddlers deserve a special mention in our rogues gallery, and for those who are no longer with us, they should not be forgotten.
Vernon Steadman was a much loved club member. He was tragically killed in November 1980, along with 4 other young members of Heathcote RFS brigade, when their tanker was overrun by bushfire at Waterfall. Vernon was only 21.
The Vernon Steadman Trophy is awarded annually in his honour for to the paddler who most demonstrates good nature, fun and a positive attitude to club activities.
Vale Rod Berry
After a long illness, Rod Berry passed away yesterday (9 September 2019) at 5.30 pm.
Rod was a long time member of the Sutherland Shire Canoe Club. In recent years he was a regular feature in a TK2 with Bert Laurendet.
Our thoughts go out to all his family and friends.
His funeral will be on Monday 16th September at 3 pm in the South Chapel of Woronora Cemetery.
Farewell to Rod – written by Steve Dawson, September 2019
I will always remember Rod as the gentle man with warm smile in the back seat.
In a double, Rod was a regular feature in the back seat of the TK2 he shared with Bert Laurendet. Together they were the most erratic performers of the time trial series. One month they would be six minutes down, the next nine minutes up.
He always had a story to tell and was quick to laugh at himself. Which was good considering some of the things that happened in boat 167. 167 being the combined aged of her crew Rod and Bert. A notable incident from a few years back… when Bert asked if Rod was ready to go and didn’t get a reply, he assumed Rod had his hearing aids out simply hadn’t heard him. Rod hadn’t replied because he was still on the beach, but Bert paddled off in the Tk2 by himself. A few months later the situation was reversed when Rod set off without Bert, and I can only assume it’s because every good joke needs a punch line.
The conversations we had about his trips to the cardiologist to have his pacemaker adjusted for racing will always make me laugh. He complained that the upper limit on the device was set too low and stopped him racing hard. By his account, the cardiologist turned it up 20bpm and I can confirm that his time trial handicap did improve. Rod loved life at the red line.
He was the self appointed grounds keeper of the Sutherland Shire Canoe Club, tending to the watering of the lawn and pulling of weeds. You can mark Rods absence by the dying grass around the club building.
Farewell old friend…
Rod was club Treasurer in 2006/07 and the Quartermaster in 2010/11, 2011/12
Vale Alan Voges – September 2019
It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Alan Voges. Alan will long be remembered for his coffee and fruit cake training paddles, his enthusiasm for racing, and his laconic sense of humour.
Our deepest sympathies are extended to the Voges family at their loss.
The Alan Voges Memorial Trophy for was created in his honour in 2020 for the junior paddler with the best seven time trial results. The juniors just love his red K1.
“Tonight was the first night for the start of the Dolls Point Paddlers, Ross and I arrived early and went for a walk along the waters edge, there was quite a good North Easterly blowing, I kept on changing my mind whether I was going to race or not, the decision was “no”, that is until I spoke to Mark and he talked me into paddling, “Just turn around when you want Rob will paddle next to you”, since I get talked into things very easy off I went.
There was 8 starters, the whistle blew, off we went, where’s Ross? he fell out at the start, he soon caught up, then over he went again, and again, so I passed him and decided to follow Darren heading into the 3 foot chop, Rob came up next to me, “where are you heading?, you will end up in Maroubra going that way”, so I decided to straighten up but the waves caught me and turn
ed me around, so I decided that was enough for me and headed back. Poor Darren hasn’t got Ross’s experience in re- mounting his ski, when he fell out he swam to shore and hopped back on and decided that was enough for him, followed by Ross and Sam after both of them having another swim.
Out of the 8 only 2 finished, they did very well.
We’ve decided each week we will go just a little bit further each time and by the new year we will make the 10 ks. It was a lot of fun.”
Back in the 1980’s the club ran several annual races. The Viking and The Twin Rivers Classic. The inaugural Twin Rivers was run in 1979.
The Classic was a 25km race starting at the boat ramp and running between the Woronora footbridge and Alfords Point Bridge. There was a great mix of conditions and it used to attract large numbers of paddlers from across Sydney.
This is an old map from the Nepean 100 Miler, complete with Joan Morison’s trademark race notes.
The 100 Miler started at the Penrith Weir and finished at Singleton’s Mill. Just like the debates about marathon distance today, you can see Joan’s note that the “Full 100 Miles” requires a 5 mile detour up the Colo River to be accurate.
The 100 Miler was the predecessor to the Hawkesbury Canoe Classic.
Our final 5K time trial of the year is dedicated to Joan and Bruce Morison. It’s a club tradition to honour them by having fun and paddling in a crazy hat or fancy dress. The race is a fundraising event for the Cancer Council.
The coveted Morison Cup is awarded to the fastest paddler on Hawkesbury handicap. The trophy was handcrafted by Bruce Morison and embellished by Bert Laurendet
Pauline Findlay – 22:19 – This is the fastest ever corrected time since the award began in 2015
Pauline Findlay – 23:46
Steve and Kate Dawson – 23:37
Steve and Kate Dawson – 24:51
Steve and Kate Dawson – 23:47
Steve and Kate Dawson – 23:18
Ross and Robyn Bingle – 26:50
2015-11-15 – the Inaugural Morison Cup
Ross and Robyn Bingle were the first paddlers to put their names on the Morison Trophy. In so many ways, it’s fitting that the award went to a husband and wife team. Bruce and Joan would have certainly approved.
Being the first year, the club kept the presentation a bit low key . We wanted to keep it as a private affair, a time for the club to reflect on the great friends who are no longer paddling with us. Next year we’ll make a bit more noise about it and may even change the course to revive the Viking Race, another event that Bruce and Joan were passionate about. The Viking was a 20km race from the clubrooms to Alfords Point Bridge and back.
A Tribute to Joan Morison for the 40th Anniversary of the Race
Richard Barnes asked Steve Dawson to pen something for the Hawkesbury 40th Anniversary Race Book. Something about Joan. This little tribute appears on page 1 of the 2016 race book.
Spirit of The Hawkesbury.
In a place called low-tide where the sirens lure the tired and weary paddlers to the warmth of the fire, they whisper stories about the Spirit of the Hawkesbury.
They say she calls to the tired, the delirious, and the exhausted, those who are lost in the dark and at their most despondent. At first she appears slight and frail but there’s a timbre in her voice that speaks of sinew and a strong heart.
Hidden in the darkness beneath the brim of her hat and silver hair, you sense the knowing smile. She has bested the river many times over the years and knows its true measure.
She speaks words to the weary. Simple words of encouragement. Of a light in the darkness. Of a flickering flame against the cold.
Her laugh carries across the water like the sound of splashes, making you wonder if it was really a paddler at all, as she fades into the darkness. Another ghostly cyalume amongst the many.
All who hear her, spread the words. Encouraging others. Cheering them on. Willing them to finish. Because that’s what the spirit wanted.
We miss you Joan Morison, Spirit of the Hawkesbury.