AS West Gippslanders travelled in different directions for their summer holidays, a number of families from the Warragul district returned to their holiday homes and permanently-sited caravans at Woodside Beach, near Yarram.
Above: Terry, Christine and Nick Ollington. Photo by Greg Pretty.
First published in the 16 January 2015 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.
The small town of around 260 permanent residents is on Ninety Mile Beach, 10 minutes from Woodside. The population of the area triples at this time of year as holidaymakers come from across Gippsland and Melbourne’s eastern suburbs to stay.
Among the Warragul families are the Ollingtons, who have made holiday visits to the town for more than 10 years.
They are among seven Warragul district families who are active in the Woodside Beach Surf Life Saving Club, continuing a long tradition of Warragul involvement in the club.
The kids of these families start out as “Nippers”, then as teenagers they train to qualify for Surf Rescue Certificates and Bronze Medallions, ready to go on the club’s volunteer beach patrol roster.
The oldest of three Ollington children did just that. Twenty year old James worked his way up to Gold Medallion, successfully requalifying for that four years in a row. He has been Club Captain and is currently its Chief Instructor.
James’ father Terry has been president of the Woodside Beach Surf Life Saving Club for the past five years. Terry’s wife Christine coordinates the Nipper program and is a former club treasurer.
Terry’s daughter Alyse is the current treasurer and his son Nick is a volunteer patrolee and a Nippers trainer.
Terry says around 12 kids from Warragul families are currently in the Nippers program.
Woodside Beach has good, clean sandy. Despite that it is not a holiday destination that immediately comes to mind, with Inverloch and Lakes Entrance among the more popular beach destinations in Gippsland. But the fact Woodside Beach is not overly crowded is part of its attraction.
As an important fundraiser for the club, volunteers run a “bistro” during summer, providing meals and bar service for visitors and locals on Saturday nights during January and on long weekends in February and March.
There are also good fishing sites in the area if that is your preference.
Perhaps next holiday it would be worth seeing for yourself what other Baw Baw Shire residents like about Woodside Beach.
For more Gippsland tourism news by Greg visit his website, greatergippsland.com.
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