Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club

No Lives Lost at Bondi Beach

Day: July 7, 2022

Today, sadly, we changed to an

Today, sadly, we changed to an Australian White Ensign flag at half mast to honour the life of service of one of our great patrolling members, Henry John Rantzen, who passed away peacefully this morning.

John was born on 18 March 1934 and joined the club in 1981. He became a radio controller for the club in 1990, and when the separate Radio Officer role ceased, he gained his bronze medallion in 1997 (at the age of 63). He then rapidly became a Patrol Captain of Patrol 6 in 1999, and Assistant Chief Instructor (1999-2002). Over time he completed 52 awards and became one of our most skilled captains. In 2003, I made him a mentor Patrol Captain, working with the new captains to learn the skills needed on a busy beach.

Since SLSA started tracking hours in 2005, he completed 884 hours of patrolling, and 34 hours in the season just completed. As we had a smaller number of patrols in the years from 1997-2005 you can probably add another 480 hours plus the 7 years of radio patrols to this tally!

Always cool in a crisis, and even though he was 88 years old, you could still hear him on the patrol radio last season with his own callsign, “Bondi Patrol, Bondi Patrol, this is Wandering John”. John would spend many hours every year at the waterline, guiding new bronzes and showing them how to predict where the action would be.

John received the Presidents Award in 1999 and was always willing to assist Presidents and Club Captains with any activity. He was also a very generous club donor.

At Veterans Day last year, he was presented his National Medal for 15 years of patrol service by our local member of Federal Parliament, Dave Sharma. This year would have been his 25th year of patrolling – which would add a clasp to the medal – the only other club member to achieve this milestone of service is Peter Quartly.

John was a gentleman with a sense of duty honed in the Royal Navy where he commanded minesweepers off the coast of Hong Kong. He then went on to a very successful career as a Registered Patent Attorney (and IPTA Fellow). He was widely respected in China, Hong Kong and around the world for his ability to make IP deals work. He also wrote sonnets, poems, and lyrics for operas and ballet.

Last year, John donated an IRB and motor for the club to celebrate the life of his wife, Joyce Yong, who passed away in November 2020.

The club offers his family our thanks for his service to the club and community, and he will be missed on the sands of Bondi.

From John’s writings in the Stepping Stones of Life:

“Old Omar wrote the song of life
A thousand years before
He now stands quietly waiting
By the chamber’s open door

He holds the open door ajar
And nods his wise old head
He beckons me to pass on through
And walk the path ahead

Behold the path of loneliness
Stretching into space
“Your song is sung, there is no more
It’s time to leave this place”

“Boaties raise and boat your oar
The cask is empty, head for shore”

Brent Jackson

#firstsurfclub #bondisurfclub #surflifesaving #noliveslost #vale #RIP #bondibeach #staysafe #love #beach #slsa

Photo Credits: Tim Read (Veterans Day and Joyce Yong ashes scattering), club archives

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