Richard (Ritchie) Burke

Richard (Ritchie) Burke – Dee Why SLSC

Ritchie Burke loved Dee Why SLSC so much that he was prepared to serve in any capacity. He joined the Club as a 15-year-old junior member in 1941 and gained his Bronze Medallion in the 1942/43 season. It wasn’t long until he was competing in R&R competition.

Ritchie’s passion for surf life saving and his Dee Why Club, in particular, was evident by the numerous positions he held on the management committee, including four years as Treasurer, a term as Vice-President and taking on the big job as President in 1963. He became the longest serving President of Dee Why – serving a staggering 11 years. Ritchie was also instrumental in the formation of the Nippers in 1965, starting with 22 boys and growing to 225 junior members within two seasons.

Under his leadership as the then President and with the enthusiasm and drive of another member, Cameron Copeland, Dee Why hosted the Australian Championships in 1975.  In later years, Ritchie became the Club’s historian. Hence, his wealth of knowledge and collection of material (photos and recorded notes) was invaluable when the Club produced their highly impressive 100- year history book.

Ritchie was bestowed Life Membership of Dee Why SLSC in 1964 and was awarded Life Membership of Surf Life Saving Sydney Northern Beaches Branch in 2005. Apart from surf life saving, Ritchie’s other sporting love was rugby league.

He was a pioneer of Manly’s original team in the NSW Rugby League competition in 1947. Ritchie played as a second rower and was also used as a winger because of his speed.


Ritchie was awarded SNB Life Membership in 2006.

Ritchie passed away on August 3rd, 2017. He was aged 90.


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