Former Governor Malcolm McCusker recalls fatal day

Malcolm McCusker with North Cottesloe SLSC nippers. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Malcolm McCusker with North Cottesloe SLSC nippers. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

FORMER WA Governor Malcolm McCusker will always recall the day he decided against heading down to North Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club (NCSLSC) for his usual morning paddle on a surf ski.

It was the day in 2000 that Ken Crew was killed by a great white shark just outside the surf club.

“That morning I got up, looked out the window and said ‘that’s shark weather’,” Mr McCusker said.

“When I eventually went down that had happened.”

The QC had helped rescue fellow lawyer Brian Sierakowski from a shark attack three years earlier.

Mr McCusker joined the NCSLSC about 40 years ago and despite competing for WA and Australia in veteran surf ski competitions, it’s the social aspect of the club he enjoys the most.

“Michael MacDermott, he’s a life member now, and I did an Avon Descent together and he said ‘why don’t you join the surf club’… so I did,” Mr McCusker said.

“I knew a lot of people in the club and I’d been a member at another club in the early years and had my bronze.

“I’ve got a large group of friends and we meet once a week and it’s just very pleasant.

“I really enjoyed competing and until a year ago I was with a group of friends who would paddle surf three or four times a week.”

Mr McCusker’s profession as a barrister has also come in handy for a few members.

“I’ve represented a fair few people in the club who have had run ins with the law, including a club captain once,” he said.

The Essentials

North Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club Centenary Celebration

10am – Official opening with Curtin MHR Julie Bishop

10.40am – Sail past of rescue craft, including the Westpac Helicopter, from Cottesloe to North Cottesloe Beach

10.50am – Aerial photo of members and guests on the beach spelling out Happy 100

11.15am – Entertainment and free activities, including a sand castle building competition, artist Jacob “Shakey” Butler creating a mural on the ski shed wall, surf sports and lifesaving demonstrations, face painting, kite making, a silent disco, buskers and food trucks