Better known to surfers famously as the ‘Bra’, Maroubra has a long and colourful history of surfing and surf lifesaving along a beautiful bay with many great breaks only a few kilometers from the heart of Sydney CBD. Dedicated March 2006, the first in Australia.
The Growing Community
During the 20th Century, this part of Sydney developed as part of the Randwick Municipality. Despite two world wars and a severe economic depression, the population of Marourbra increased. It also diversified socio-economically and ethnically. Vast rolling sand dunes were developed for housing.
Infrastructure, such as roads, trams, and buses, was developed, and government services included additional hospitals, schools, a university, and churches. Light industry expanded, one example was the cigarette factory at Pagewood, to the west of Marourbra.
Its great to see that the importance of Maroubra in the surfing and beach communities is getting its due. There is a strong surfing heritage there and it will be nice to have it commemorated as such. We’ve come a long wayKelly Slater: 11 x World Surfing Champion
With its natural beauty, Maroubra Beach became a popular recreation and social destination for locals and visitors.
All these factors, such good transport, healthy employment opportunities, and close proximity to the city, have seen Maroubra grow and strengthen as a community.
As Maroubra’s popularity with beachgoers increased and with large numbers of people entering the surf, Surf Life Saving became an important part of Maroubra Beach. Maroubra and South Maroubra Surf Life Saving Clubs provide an important ongoing community service in helping to ensure the safety of the surf-loving public.
The Dharwahal Nation
Historically, Maroubra was inhabited by the indigenous Dharwahal Nation. This aboriginal tribe was numerous, living in the area from south of Sydney site down to Botany Bay. They were a coastal community, drawing much of their sustenance from fishing. Their current decendents live in the La Perouse area, to the south of Maroubra Beach, around Botany Bay.
The name Maroubra probably came from the aboriginal dialect for “thunder” and “good”.
As the growth of surfing accelerated, many local indigenous men have formed part of the Maroubra surfing community.
The Community of Surfers
Amidst much social growth in and around Maroubra, a surfing network emerged, which became prominent in the 1950s. By the end of that decade, local surfers had banded together into a distinctive urban beach culture.
During the 1950s, a group of up to 40 surfers called themselves the Maroubra Surf Riders Club (MSRC). They surfed and shared life together. At that time there were no such things as surfing competitions. Being part of this group was simply about surfing with your mates and having fun.
Surfing is vibrant and steadily growing and Maroubra has strong surfing roots set into its colourful past. It makes sense to officially recognise a bay that offers surfers such a place of sanctuary. Its about time.Tom Carroll: 2 x World Surfing Champion
On the 26th of May 1964, the Maroubra Surfer Association (MSA) was officially formed, comprising 50 members. For the princely sum of one pound (approx $2), you could become a registered member and receive a membership card and cloth badge sewn onto your shorts, a sticker put on your board, and a copy of the clubs constitution.
As surfing became increasingly popular over the next few years, MSA membership grew at an incredible rate. At one stage the club boasted 400 members.
Although the Southside region is geographically small, it has been home to many influential boardriders clubs. Maroubra’s clubs have been amongst the strongest and most enduring in the competitive arena.
The MSA has always been a tight knit group of people; a life-long lasting brotherhood, which continues to the present. The MSA is now over 40 years old and is seeing the fruits of its second-generation members.
With keen participation of parents and the local surf community, MSA runs divisions that aim to nurture the local grommets in the best that surfing can offer.
The Surf Reserve
The dedication of Maroubra Beach as a National Surfing Reserve is an auspicious event in Australian history. Many years in development, Maroubra is the first official reserve in a national program that aims to declare up to 23 more sites along Australia’s 37,000km coast in years to come. This reserve boldly embodies a Sydney beach community and Australian surfing culture for all future generations to discover.
Endorsed by local, state and federal governments and international bodies, the Maroubra Beach National Surfing Reserve is for all Australians; it celebrates our rich cultural, environmental and sporting status in the world.