The Old Man and the Sea- local legend Neville Warwick

I Love Bello Shire interviews Neville Warwick about his 66 year involvement in the Mylestom Surf Life Saving Club and his work life for 47 years at Bellingen Shire Council

Neville Warwick exudes a quiet satisfaction.  This iconic Mylestom man is content- life has afforded him “all I could have wanted,” says Neville. With his wife Thelma by his side for the past 67 years, Neville has embraced a life rich in family and community engagement.  And looming large in that equation is Neville’s 66 year relationship with Mylestom (nee North Beach) Surf Living Saving Club.

Neville was one of the eleven founding members of the Surf Life Saving Club in 1952.  “Dad was the first president” says Neville.  Since that time Neville has continued to donate his time and energy to the club.  “I had to resign from patrol duties a few years ago due to my crook hip and knee. These days I’m more use at the BBQ,” says Neville.

Neville grew up in Inverell where his family kept bees.  “Winters in Inverell were cold- the bees weren’t keen on the frost.”  In 1949 a nineteen year old Neville and his father brought the hives down to Repton- farming the hives out around farms in the region over the cold winter months.  This was Neville’s first taste of the ocean.  The following year they repeated the exercise and encountered “the great floods of 1950. We were camped in Mylestom when a young Thelma popped her head in the tent.” This chance meeting coupled with the floor falling out of Australia’s honey export industry was to seal Neville’s fate.

Neville and Thelma married in 1951 and moved into their home in River Street Mylestom, where they still live today.

I Love Bello Shire interviews Neville Warwick about his 66 year involvement in the Mylestom Surf Life Saving Club and his work life for 47 years at Bellingen Shire Council

A long union

Life in Mylestom was quiet and friendly, “a great place to raise a family. Fifty years ago River Street was a dirt track.  Only 2 people in the region owned cars, so our four kids and their friends could play cricket all day in the middle of the road,” says Neville.  Neville managed to secure a job at Bellingen Shire Council, where he continued to work for the next 47 years.  “I loved my job- it was a great bunch of people,” says Neville.

But it is Neville’s association with the Surf Life Saving Club that really looms large in Neville’s tale.  He has worked for the club in every possible capacity.  “I’ve rowed the surf boats and was sweep for years.  I’ve instructed and acted as the examiner at surf carnivals.  For years I ran the nippers while Thelma ran the mermaids,” says Neville.

Neville waxes lyrically about his days competing for the Club.   “Back in the day we travelled all year to surf carnivals, from Queensland to the south coast of NSW.  I would compete in the beach and boat events- we all loved it.”  When asked if he was fiercely competitive, Neville responds “you bet.”

I Love Bello Shire interviews Neville Warwick about his 66 year involvement in the Mylestom Surf Life Saving Club and his work life for 47 years at Bellingen Shire Council

Just one of Neville’s many awards

Neville’s trophy cabinet can attest to that.  I do notice trophies for tennis, cricket and fishing also adorn the shelves.  “He did it all,” says Thelma.

After 66 years I can imagine Neville has seen a lot of change at his beloved Surf Club.  “I reckon I’ve seen at least 400- 500 people come through the Club.  Change is good though- we have to move with the times,” says Neville.  He does lament the lack of Surf Carnivals these days, but was chuffed that Mylestom hosted the first Surf Carnival for years only last year- which was a huge success.

Neville and Thelma now have 12 grandchildren and 31 great grandchildren.  Photos adorning the family home of this brood playing all manner of sports might suggest the sporting gene runs deep.  Thelma and Neville have had the life everyone would wish for.  “We are so lucky.  A darling family.  We couldn’t ask for more,” says Thelma.

 

I Love Bello Shire interviews Neville Warwick about his 66 year involvement in the Mylestom Surf Life Saving Club and his work life for 47 years at Bellingen Shire Council

Neville and Thelma’s home of 67 years

 

 

12 Comments

  • Trevor Williams says:

    Neville and Thelma are two of the Nicest People you could meet.
    That are the heart of the Surf Club, the work they have done for the Club and the Community is immense.
    Proud to call them friends.

  • Hayley Harris (nee Sullivan) says:

    Oh Nev and Thel! What a beautiful story of your life – such a kind and inspiring couple xxxx

  • Lesley Tomlin says:

    Hello lovely people. I miss our little chats we had when I walked past on my way home from the beach with my boy Diesel. Such a beautiful couple. Xxx

  • Catherine Kennedy says:

    Nev & Thel, such a wonderful couple. See you every so often in Urunga. xxxx Beth & Mervyn.

  • Beverley Baldwin says:

    A delightful story of Nev’s life. With respect and admiration dear Nev and Thel. A wonderful example for our young ones to aspire to. Continuing good health and happy days to you both.

  • Justine Gannon says:

    This is a gorgeous piece. It made me cry. We are so lucky to be in your family. You have taught me more than you will ever know.

    Jxxxx

  • Michael Summerill says:

    A lovely couple who have given their all to the community and the people of Mylestom. I feel very proud to have known them and to call them my dearest friends. Our kids like many in the town still refer to them as Uncle Neville and Aunty Thel. The world be be a better place if we had more Nev and Thels.

  • James Lander says:

    The most amazing couple! 🙌
    I feel completely privileged to have had them as part of my life.

  • Angela Sullivan says:

    Uncle Nev and Aunty Thel.
    Thank you for all the beautiful memories created through out my childhood. Truely amazing people,l and inspiring couple!
    Lots of love,
    Angie.

  • Chris Bryant says:

    Nev and “Aunty Thel”, two of the best people God ever gave to grace us with. Always a smile and a story, along with a helping hand.

  • Marilyn Smith says:

    Uncle Nev and Aunty Thel,soo many happy years of memories,cuddles and just a little chat.Love (lots and lots of it) to you both. Marilyn Smith.

  • Kay Lander says:

    Nev and Thel
    The best neighbours and greatest life coaches I’ve ever met………..we can learn a lot from people like you!
    Love to you both………you have a special place in our hearts. Kay

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