Greenback Tailor Champion & The History of Greenback

Now this is what we call a Fishing Competition Trophy / Shield.

Dates back to the mid 1980’s when the Greenback competition was a couple of tents and a BBQ.

There is a lot of fishing history in the names of the Competitors, sadly some we only have in our memories and photographs that have survived over these past years. It is good to see some of the champions still entering the competition.

VALE April 2019 Don McDonald Greenback Champion 1989 & 1996

Don McDonald
Don McDonald 1996
Jared Clare 2006
Peter Watts 2008
Brad Tundstead 2011
Steve Curnow 2012
Tyler Ott 2013
Frank Ott 2014
Kerry Bussian 2016
Geoff McGrath 2018

History of The Greenback Tailor Fishing Competition

Since 1981 the Greenback Tailor Fishing Competition has been a community focused event helping raise funds for local organisations and setting the standard of beach fishing competitions on the Tweed Coast. The Greenback was originally run by the Cabarita Amateur Fishing Club. The first competition attracted a handful of competitors and was started to raise funds for the local nippers. The Fishing Club along with locals Pat and June O’Keefe worked tirelessly to build up the competition, and by the 10th year in operation, the event had 438 anglers signed on and was held at the Cabarita Gardens Lake resort.

Former Manly rugby league star Tom Mooney was the big winner of the 1994 competition, winning $1000 with a tailor catch of 3.865kg. The event has seen some significant catches of all species. As the event continued Gary Timperley, June O’Keeffe’s father helped with the running of the competition. Gary Timperley, known by many as ‘Arab’, bought with him plenty of fishing gear and fireworks for the finale. Arab also delivered food to the anglers, which was very welcomed by the fishing entrants when battling big seas and strong winds. Over the years a number of people have been involved in organising the event; George Davidson; Pat and June O’Keeffe. To honour the contribution made by Pat and June O’Keeffe, in 2006 they were made Patrons of the Competition.

The event was managed by an Organisation, set up specifically to run the Competition, and it had considerable difficulty in attracting sufficient volunteers to become members of the Organisation and to form the Management Committee. As a result of this situation, the Competition was not held in 2003 and 2005. Eventually, it reached the stage where it was necessary to dissolve the Organisation. In 2004, Casuarina gained the sponsorship rights for the competition in an attempt to save the event; however, as a charity event, this format was not successful. The Lions Club of Cabarita Beach Pottsville Beach agreed to take the competition on as a Lions club project late 2005 and held the first Lions Greenback Charity Fishing competition in 2006 under the leadership of Lion Stan Dawson OAM.

The financial success of the event is heavily dependent on Sponsorship, Raffles, Fish Auction and the sale of Beach Permits. Entrance Fees alone cannot cover the costs. The Pottsville Fishing Club provides the Chief Judge and two teams to check, weigh and sort into 45 winning categories. Since 2006, the competition has attracted a field of 500 to 1000 anglers who compete in four divisions; men, ladies, seniors/veterans and juniors (under 16). The seniors/vets has changed over the years from 65 to 55. In 2018 they are Seniors at age 55 plus. The prize pool over the last few years has been around the $30,000 mark.

The event is normally held in front of the Cabarita Beach Hotel and SLSC. The boundaries have changed over the years from no boundaries in the early years; to the south wall of the Tweed River to Evans Head. Anglers can fish anywhere along the beaches and estuaries between the competition boundaries. In 2018 the boundary will be from the NSW/QLD border to the south wall of the Richmond River at South Ballina. All fish weighed in are auctioned to raise additional funds for charity. Since 2006 the competition has raised over $120,000 which has been donated to Volunteers Rescue Association, SLSC, Westpac Rescue Helicopter, local schools, and other local Lions initiatives.

In 2015 and 2017, the Lions Club of Cabarita Beach Pottsville Beach had to make the difficult decision to postpone and cancel both events. With success, the 30th anniversary of the Greenback fishing competition was held in 2016. Without Sponsorship there is no Greenback competition. Over the thirty years of the event, Major Sponsors; Alvey Reels Australia, Perry Homes, J Fowler Building Services, O’Conners Transport, Southern Cross Credit Union, North Star Holiday Resort and Cabarita Beach Hotel have continually supported the event.

With the backing from the Lions Club Cabarita Beach Pottsville Beach, two Lions members (Stephen Duffield & Stan Dawson OAM) formed the Lions Greenback Management Team. With the support of new major sponsors: Tweed Coast Marine, madkeen, Alvey Reels, Anaconda (West Burleigh) and BCF (Ballina) we now have the 2018 ‘Tweed Coast Marine’ Greenback Fishing Competition alive, well and back on track for 9 & 10 June 2018. We are planning for 800 plus anglers from New South Wales and Queensland to attend. The event in its 31st year is expected to give the region a welcome economic boost. At the closing of the event (12:30pm) the drawing of the major raffle prizes will take place with much interest as to who will be taking home the 1st prize Tweed Coast Marine $9000 boat package.

Lion Dr. Stephen Duffield
11 March 2018

References & Sources:
Lions Club Cabarita Pottsville Beach records
Tweed Coastal Living (19 May 2016)
Tweed Valley Weekly

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Author: Stephen Duffield

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