Tubby’s White Whale

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Peter ‘Tubby’ Wallace is a name that is synonymous with the surf lifesaving movement. His wife, Gabrielle, has preserved his legacy in the form of The Tubbys’ White Whale Trust, to promote the values of volunteering, training, teamwork and fun in its support of CHSLSC.


It plays a fundamental part of Australian beach culture, saves lives and provides an invaluable opportunity for kids to develop life-saving skills to become better community citizens – we’re talking about surf lifesaving. It’s no surprise that there is a strong surf lifesaving movement on the Coffs Coast. Tubbys’ White Whales is one of the supports in place to ensure the ongoing viability of the Coffs Harbour Surf Lifesaving Club and to keep this vital surf lifesaving movement alive well into the future on our shores. We sat down with Gabrielle and Danielle Wallace, founders of the Tubbys’ White Whales Trust, to talk to us about Tubbys and their fundraising.

Gabrielle how did the idea for the Tubbys’ White Whales Trust come about?

The Tubbys’ White Whales Trust was established in 2009 after the passing of my husband, Peter ‘Tubby’ Wallace, to support the members and future generations of members, so they too could learn the ideals of the surf movement that Peter had been part of for so many years, at Torquay Surf Club in Victoria and subsequently the Coffs Harbour Surf Life Saving Club.

Peter was a lifetime member of the both of these clubs, and it was his wish to have a Trust set up to foster and promote the sustainability of the Coffs Harbour Surf Life Saving Club (CHSLSC). He gave of his time and energy to mentor the young and he wanted his legacy to continue, as he had learned as a young boy at Torquay, guided by senior members of the club, to understand the meaning of volunteering and giving of your time. Recognising the value of your fellow man … whatever their station.

Sharing a bond in training and competition and to be a part of a team and the fun and camaraderie that came into it too – all of this is what the Tubbys’ White Whales Trust represents.

We know the Trust assists in supporting the Coffs Harbour Surf Lifesaving Club, but what is the ultimate mission for Tubbys’ White Whales?

The Trust’s mission is to be the guardian angel of the CHSLSC and to foster and promote the sustainability of the club above and beyond traditional club fundraising activities, with an emphasis on infrastructure. Friendships shared as a lifesaver have a life-long bond, and we feel this Trust – Tubbys’ White Whales, will help leave Peter’s footprint in the sand and the legacy will continue well into the future.

Tubbys’ also aims to enhance the profile of the CHSLSC through community, patron and media support of the Trust’s fundraising activities. Ultimately, we want to see the CHSLSC to become an integral part of the Coffs Harbour Community and where all kids, parents and individuals can come to take part in a fantastic community service.

We know Tubbys’ have held some fantastic fundraising events over the past few years. Tell us about what you have been able to achieve from these fundraising efforts?

An essential part of the Surf Lifesaving club is consistent and ongoing training of volunteers and surf patrol members. One of the main focuses for both Tubbys’ and the Surf club for 2010 was the completion of the new training facility located at the club. With the support of the C.ex Group and many other local businesses, we were able to provide over $27,000 funding for the completion of this project. Our 2011 project was the much-needed refurbishment of the members’ gym at the club, which is used for competitors and volunteer lifesavers, year-round.

Again with the assistance of the C.ex Group, we were able to provide over $25,000 to complete the refurbishment of these facilities. We look forward to improving the club facilities ongoing, to assist in keeping our beaches safer for our community and visitors alike.

There has been a lot of community support for Tubbys’ since its inception. Who have been your main supporters?

The Coffs Harbour Community is a very generous community. Some of our biggest supporters include the C.ex Group – John Rafferty and David Doyle OAM, Todd Blewitt – Coffs Coast Mercedes Benz, Novotel Pacific Bay – Dene Zahner, Kennedys Jewellers – Don and Vanessa Kennedy, Axis Print Solutions – Peter Williams, Tooheys – Paul Ninness and North Coast Wines – Andrew Bryant and Robert Sword – and without their support, the success of our events would be harder.

As well as our Trusts’ individual supporters, including: Andrew Fraser MP, Melinda Pavey MLC and local businessmen, Mark Dodd, John Rafferty and Geoff King – it’s a really great group of supporters!

You have your next Tubbys’ Fundraising party – The Great Gatsby Affair – coming up on 12 October. What can guests expect from this party?

Yes, we are very excited about the upcoming fundraising party at the CHSLSC on the 12th October. The Great Gatsby Affair is inspired by the famous movie, which is set in the 1920s in New York, the prohibition era. Guests can expect nothing short of being transported into this era on the night, with the club being transformed into a Speakeasy Bar, Supper Club and Hamptons’ style cocktail party. Guests will be entertained by the amazing 10 piece Swing band – The Well Swung Daddies, as well as a few other surprises on the night, which we’re tight lipped about.

Guests will also enjoy a cocktail style supper with some old roaring 20s favourites; they can also take their chance on the ‘Bootlegged Martini’ and ‘Tubby’s Moonshine’ cocktails.

Following tradition of our past fancy dress parties, we anticipate there to be a gaggle of flappers, gangstas and 1920s prohibitionists in attendance at our Speakeasy Bar. Always a fabulous sight to see!

Are there opportunities for local businesses to sponsor or donate auction items to the Tubbys’ Great Gatsby Affair party, and how might they do so?

We love the local businesses to support our fundraising parties, and many have come forward to donate prizes already, which is so appreciated. If a local business or individual wishes to donate prizes, they can get in contact with our fundraising and event co-ordinator, Sam Wardman, on 0400 560 323 or at tubbyswhitewhales@live.com.au

We, of course, are also looking for a few corporate sponsors for the event as well. These might be businesses willing to provide a cash sponsorship donation in return for a huge amount of exposure through our event promotion and on the night.

Tell us, what we can expect from Tubbys’ White Whales Trust in the future? 

We are currently working on developing a scholarship program for disadvantaged youth, which is based on gaining the lifesaving skills the surf club provides youth, including first aid, surf rescue, IRB (Rubber Ducky) training, as well as the opportunity to compete in surf lifesaving sports. It will also teach participants how to volunteer and give back to the community, whilst gaining lifetime friendships.

We’d also like to see a short program for the disabled in the future as well. Upgrades to the facilities at the club house will also be on the cards for the next 12 months.

For those people wanting to find out more information on this fundraising event and Tubbys’ White Whales, how do they do so?

For those wanting to purchase tickets or find out a little more about the Tubbys’ Great Gatsby Affair, please visit: www.stickytickets.com.au/8808 email: tubbyswhitewhales@live.com.au or follow our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/tubbyswhitewhales 

Thanks Gabrielle and Danielle.

This story was published in issue 24 of the Coffs Coast Focus

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