The Early Years
In 1951 Seagulls took home the premiership by beating the Old Boys Rugby League club, cutting them short of their 5th consecutive premiership win.
Four years later Seagulls signed Barry Muir, making his debut appearance in league. Muir began his career with Seagulls in 1956. Little did Tweed Heads know that they had produced a soon to be champion that would later set the standard and be an inspiration for many a player to come. From small beginnings Muir went on to have one of the most recognised careers in the history of rugby league. He represented Australia in 22 Test matches and 3 World cup matches. 15 years after making his debut Muir returned to the club where he started, the Tweed Heads Seagulls in the role of Captain-coach for his final year of playing. Following this Barry continued to coach, including the Queensland side for the 1974-78 State of Origins.
In 1958 Col Hayes started a contract with the Tweed Head Seagulls. Hayes played with the club until 1963. Following this Hayes became President in 1969 before giving up his presidency to focus on the establishment of the club's home ground and licensing. Over the years of Hayes' involvement with the Seagulls, he was influential in moving the club forward.
1962 Chris Cunningham was made vice-president of the club.
1963 marked one of the most successful seasons in the history of the Tweed Heads Seagulls. The premier club was undefeated and won every major prize in the Tweed League. Furthermore they also took home the Clayton Cup for being the Champion club of NSW Country rugby league, equalling a 16 year old record. Jack Meeken was the president of Seagulls at the time. The team was captained and coached by Norm McFadden, with golden players such as Billy McDermott and Lionel Morgan. The 1963 combination was said to have been "one of the best combinations in the history of the club".
Five years later the Seagulls were unfortunately defeated in their grand final match, by arch rivals Gold Coast 21-9. However the loss was lessened a little by the triumph of the club's under 16 team, in the first ever under 16 Tweed District Rugby League premiership.
The 1970s marked the beginning of a new era for the Tweed Head Seagulls when the club bought its first piece of land and developed a club building. Whilst previous efforts had been made in 1963, by then club president Jack Meeking to try and form a licensed club, his applications were unsuccessful. However in 1969, the topic was once again brought to the foreground. The land on which the current club stands, was found with an incomplete hotel building on it. Back in the early 1900’s the block was known to hold tea trees. As the club was unable to receive a grant, guarantors were arranged from members, in order to put a lease on the land until it could be bought. The ground of 10 acres was finally bought for $96,000.
For the rest of 1970 club members, players and those living within the community joined together every Sunday to restore the existing building and develop a playing ground.
Men served tirelessly, bringing trucks and removing large rocks all to achieve the goal of providing the local Seagulls with their own home ground. At the same time membership drives were also taking place in order to be able to obtain a conditional license. Overall the developments cost the club $150,000.
Whilst many participated in the development of the land, specific mention should be given to those such as Colin Hayes, John Maskell, John O'Neill and Mick Lowe who were especially instrumental in bringing about the overall outcome, including the club's license.
The license was achieved by obtaining memberships and providing the courts with proof of the working bees and adequate finances, as well as proof that "rugby league was the most important part of the club's activities." (Galton, The seagulls story Part 2) The license was granted on the 24th May 1971.
The club building was officially opened in 1971 by founding member Chris Cunningham.
1972 marked the year that Seagulls great Tom Searle commenced his time with the club (pictured below).
It was also in this year that the Seagulls toured in New Guinea.
In 1980 the Seagulls' veteran and league pioneer, Chris Cunningham died. Shortly after this, the main playing field was named 'The Chris Cunningham Field' in honour of the member. This was later re-named the 'Seagulls Stadium'. Cunningham had committed almost a lifetime to the Tweed Heads Seagulls, all out of an unrelenting love and passion for the game of league. From humble beginnings to the strong teams of 1980, Chris had been their to contribute and witness it all. According to an article in the Daily News (Hogan 1980) "Chris Cunningham was undoubtedly the most dominant and towering figure in the development of Seagulls Club which is one of the oldest sporting clubs of any code in Australia".