Micheal Bartlett awarded Order of Australia Medal for service to surf lifesaving

Honoured: Michael Bartlett OAM with a host of accolades from his time in surf life saving.
Honoured: Michael Bartlett OAM with a host of accolades from his time in surf life saving.

The certificates, awards and photos mounted on Michael Bartlett's wall are just a small indication of a lifetime of service to surf lifesaving.

From his myriad of life memberships to stunning photos of his days as a sweep, Mr Bartlett has certainly had a full life on the water.

This week, that collection got a substantial boost after Mr Bartlett received an Order of Australia Medal (OAM).

Humbled by the award, Mr Bartlett thanked all those who supported his nomination.

"This was because of my friends who got me here," Mr Bartlett said.

His wife Carmel was proud that more than 60 years of work has been acknowledged.

"I'm so proud of what he's been able to achieve, it's the culmination of his work and dedication," she said.

"It's an acknowledgement of a life well lived."

Earlier today, June 10, Mr Bartlett gathered with family and friends at his Black Head home to celebrate the achievement.

Michael with wife Carmel and their grandchildren Jack, Mitchell, Callum and Zoe.

Michael with wife Carmel and their grandchildren Jack, Mitchell, Callum and Zoe.

The turnout alone was proof of the major impact he has made to surf lifesaving and the community.

Mr Bartlett's passion was inherited from his grandparents at a young age.

His first taste of surf lifesaving came in 1956 when he joined Bilgola Surf Life Saving Club on Sydney's Northern Beaches.

Taking on leadership roles within the club was inevitable.

For five years during the 1970s he was president and at different times has been vice-president, patron, vice-patron, club captain, chief instructor and patrol captain.

He also officiated at local, State and Australian championships.

But, perhaps his most notable example of leadership was his role in a rescue at Bilgola Beach in 1961.

Mr Bartlett was one of seven crew members who courageously navigated choppy seas to perform a rescue for a man who had entered the water outside the patrol flags and was quickly carried out by a strong rip.

As a beltman, he helped return the unconscious man to shore. Several attempts at resuscitation on the man were unsuccessful.

For his role in the operation, Mr Bartlett received a Meritorious Award for Bravery. It's still proudly displayed on his wall.

Mr Bartlett spent time in authoritative and committee roles in Surf Life Saving NSW's Sydney Northern Beaches and Manly Warringah branches before a move to the Manning in 2001.

This was because of my friends who got me here.

Michael Bartlett OAM

This didn't spell the end of his association with surf clubs.

He quickly became a member of Black Head Surf Life Saving Club and has held many positions including boat crew sweep and coach, bar manager, director of administration and honorary project manager for the club's extensions in 2005 and 2006.

He is the club's public officer.

Over the years, Mr Bartlett became a life member of Surf Life Saving Australia, Surf Life Saving NSW, Bilgola SLSC and the Sydney Northern Beaches branch.

In 2017, he was recognised for 60 years long service with Surf Life Saving NSW.

The love of surf boats has never diminished. Mr Bartlett's 40 years sweep experience is still felt around the Black Head club as he's still known to pass on advice to the next generation.

The Bartlett clan has never been too far away from the water, with both daughters involved in surf boats since they were children.

Away from the water, Mr Bartlett's other obsession is with model trains.

Michael received a bravery award for his part in an ocean rescue mission.

Michael received a bravery award for his part in an ocean rescue mission.

As a child, he would watch steam trains from his other grandparents' home in Faulconbridge.

This was molded into a hobby that took him to the Taree and District Model Railway Club in later years.

He was president from 2008 to 2015 and secretary for a short time.

Mr Bartlett is the Pacific director of the National Model Railroad Association and for more than three decades held various positions in the Australasia region.

In business, Micheal spent 45 years in the lumber industry.

He held key roles in imports and exports of timber between Australia, Canada and United States.