Ranger the Surf Lifesaver's Pal

1930s

Ranger on patrol ca1930s
Ranger on patrol ca1930s

Courtesy Lissa Winston photo collection. Photo has been slightly altered for aesthetic purposes.

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Ocean Beach Surf Clubhouse late 1930s showing Ranger's cross
Ocean Beach Surf Clubhouse late 1930s showing Ranger's cross

Courtesy Shirley family photos. Album V1

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Ranger's memorial
Ranger's memorial

Telegraph Thursday 18 Nov 1937 page 15

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Ranger on patrol ca1930s
Ranger on patrol ca1930s

Courtesy Lissa Winston photo collection. Photo has been slightly altered for aesthetic purposes.

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Ranger, a black retriever, who was a faithful friend of the Bribie Lifesavers in the 1930s.

A little wooden cross used to stand on the sand dunes at Main Beach (Woorim), Bribie Island, just in front of the lifesavers’ club house and fixed to it was a glass-covered frame, behind which were framed these words:


“In memory of Ranger,

Died May 8th, 1936.

If there be an after world for such as thou –

May the juiciest of bones be thy reward”


The little cross was erected, as the wording implies, to the memory of a dog. 


Ranger was a dog with no especial owner. A black, retriever type, dog he was the special pet of the Bribie Lifesavers’ team, and a general favourite with residents and visitors of the Island, going from one to the other for an occasional meal and a little affection. His particular pals, the lifesavers, were only there during the week-ends and holidays.


When the SS Koopa or Doomba arrived each Saturday Ranger would be there to meet the team and after greeting them all joyfully would race away through the scrub, covering the three miles from the boat berth to the main beach ahead of the bus and be waiting for the boys to arrive at the clubhouse.


He would not ride in the bus, apparently, he thought that he should be the perfect host and receive his guests at the door.


When the team were on beach patrol, so was Ranger, and he would accompany them into the sea, always swimming out beyond the furthest swimmer. As long as the men were in the water he would continue to swim around beyond them. He remained at his self-appointed task until the patrol withdrew, sometimes being in the sea for hours on end.


Whenever beach sports or team competitions were held Ranger took his place at the front of the team, trotting along, tail erect, as the men marched.


So popular was Ranger with everyone on the island that one could hardly imagine anybody wishing him harm. The lifesavers were heart-broken when they found him dead one day.  They buried him in the sand in front of the club-house and the flag was flown at half-mast. They placed the cross on top of his grave, overlooking the sea, in memory of a faithful friend.


Text collated from two articles: World News, Sydney, 7 July 1940 and the Sydney Morning Herald, 14 August 1946

NOTE: The cross remained in position into the late 1960s