The Club has always attracted sportsmen and many great personalities have also joined our ranks. Some for a season or two, and others for a decade or so, and among the membership list are names that have been legends in their own lifetime.
They range from Rugby League players such as Australian representatives Hugh "Jazzer" Byrne, Viv Thicknesse, Joe Pearce, Tony Brown, Australian captain Graeme Langlands, Jack McPherson, Jim Lisle, Ferris Ashton, Bobby McCarthy, Johnny Hunter and the late Jack Lynch, manager of the first Australian side to win the ashes from England in England.
Interstate representatives in Rugby League include Ray Norman, Tony Paskins, the latter also a great rugby union player, R. Proudfoot and Peter Ryan (Queensland) and first grade players such as Bob Barrett, Lauric Fagan, K. Foster, Norm Rogers, Alan Quinlivan, Johnnie Brown and Manly winger Tom Mooney, to name a few.
In Rugby Union we had the former Australian captain "Wacker" Walker, Reg Ferguson and Murray Tate, the latter being the first 'Berg' to be selected to play for Australia while an active member of our Club. Then there were interstate representatives, including Frank Morecomb, Bert Horsell, Norm Green and Victorian Mick Bourke.
Swimmers of note in the Club included former Commonwealth Games representative Rothe Bassingthwaite, Phil Boardman, Ivo White, Garry Winram, Barry Smith, Ken Foster, Aub Laidlaw, B. Snow Stewart, and noted coaches Alf Vokler and Sep Prosser.
Cricket is represented by a number of first grade players including, Dave Gibson, Bruce O'Sullivan, Mick Bell, Greg Besemo, Jack McGrath and Jim Flannery. The 'Berg's won the A Grade championship in the Centennial Park competition in 1947 and in 1978 won the Woollahra District Cricket Association series.
'Berg' Manny Santos represented Australia as a weight lifter at the Tokyo Olympic Games, 'Berg' Steve Nolan was Australian handball doubles champion, and to further add to our member's versatility in sport, Athol Stubbs set many world records in walking.
The racing world provided big names from our Club such as jockey Charles Pike and trainer Jack Green. They are joined with bookmakers such as Ken Ranger, Les Tidmarsh, Jack Pick, Fred Emson, Ben Clark, George Cohen and Ray Hopkins.
There is an interesting story just prior to the Melbourne Olympic Games in 1956: The Club was approached by the father of a then comparatively unknown swimmer, John Devitt, requesting the swimming officials of our Club to time his son in a bid to break the Bondi Baths record, as his son was going to Melbourne to try to gain Olympic selection. The father said that if John had some record of some description to show the selectors it could help him.
The result was that not only did the then comparatively unknown swimmer gain selection in the Australian team, but also captained it and wrote his name indelibly in the swimming history of Australia. The Club is proud of its association with John Devitt, as it is with the late mercurial swimmer John Marshal and other star swimmers, including Murray Rose, Murray Jarrity, Garry Winram and the famous coach, Sam Herford.
We welcomed many sporting stars from overseas at the Club, and one remembered is United States Davis Cup payer Ted Schroeder when he was at his peak.
The Club is mighty proud of its association with visiting sportsmen, and especially visiting international Rugby League teams from 1951 to 1967, who were guests of the Club during their visits to Sydney, and these teams came from England, New Zealand, and included also the American All Stars. The Englishmen included, Jack Wilkinson who toured here three times, fullback Frank Dyson, Ken Riley of Keighley, and may of our Club pennant's adorn the walls of pubs and Clubs in northern England. Another remembered visitor was the chairman of Yorkshire Rugby League, Percy Johnson and there were many more who have admired the grand view from our Club and enjoyed the equally grand hospitality.
Antoine Blain, the bushy browed French team manager, visited the Club several times and decreed that all his players must accompany him. It is little known that "Rajah" Miller made him a honorary life member and presented him with a life member's badge.
We regret that with overseas teams making much shorter visits due to jet travel instead of ship travel to and from Australia, the managers and players don't have as much spare time in Sydney and official team visits have had to be replaced by visits from individual players, who can spare the time and they are mainly those who have visited our Club previously or have heard about it from others who had.
When the last World Cup in league was played in Sydney, the British team was accompanied as a visitor by the late Tommy Atkins, who unfortunately died soon after his return home.
Tommy had played on the wing in the SCG test in 1928, and when he came to our Club we were able to give him Photostat copies of the newspaper account of that Test, and also to reintroduce him to his opposition winger in the Test, 'Berg' Hugh "Jazzer" Byrne.
Talking to Tommy at the Club he stated, "these young blokes in the present World Cup team do not believe me when I refer to that notable Test, but wait until I get back to our hotel and 1 will get square when I show them the newspaper cuttings".
The annual cricket match, President's XI against the Club was introduced in 1970, and over the years the names of personalities who have played for the President's team are almost a Who's Who of sport. They include Waverley cricketers Mick Alterator, Gammy Goonaseena, Dave Gibson, Chris Walton, Greg Besemo, Easts Rugby League players, Buster Craigic, Ferris Ashton, John Brass, Mark Harris, and Eastern Suburbs rugby union men Bruce Chiene, as well as Jack Berney, MHR. Then there have been Racing Writer's Association man, Jack Ward, a Club member well known in the surf life saving movement, Vie Besemo, cricket umpire Arthur Callaway and the Hon. Syd Einfeld, our patron.
Reflecting on football, we wonder if any Club could on paper, field a Rugby League team to beat one chosen from players who were, and in some cases, still are, members of Bondi Iceberg's.
Our team could include:
Fullback: Graeme Langlands (Aust)?
Three-quarters "Jazzer" Byrne (Aust), Jim Lisle (Aust.), Tony Paskins (NSW), Jack Lynch (Australian manager and rep. footballer)?
Five-eighth: Tony Brown (Aust)
Half-back: Viv Thicknesse (Aust)?
Lock: Peter Ryan (Q)?
Second Row: Joe Pearce (Aust), Bob McCarthy (Aust.).
Front Row: Jack Moherson (Aust), Clarrie Jefferies (Newtown coach of former years), and Ferris Ashton (Aust).