A Club is born
The founding of the Cockburn Small Boat Owners Association (as this club was once called) was in the off cray season of 1961 and instigated by the Club’s number 1 member and Life Member, Mr Jack Baker.
The club was formed primarily to fight against the majority of cray boats that were trawling the Sound during the “off season” for bait consisting of small skippy and school skippy by the tons, many being wasted due to being thrown back either dead or as food for the scavenger birds. The trawling was also destroying the floor bed of the Sound with the removal of stones and rocks which were beneficial to the fish for shelter and breeding purposes.
Jack called the first meeting of all owners of boats moored at Woodmans Point, who were mainly Cockburn people. These included Mr Eugene Edwards, who was then Shire Clerk and had an interest in preserving the Sound for amateur fishermen. This first meeting was held in the home of Mr George Napoleon, who became the foundation “President” and was ably assisted in his 12 month stand by Jack Baker and Ray Gorton. Jack became the Club Secretary, a position he held for 5 years.
Between them they enlisted a few others to help spread the word that they were going to form a boat club with RAMP facilities somewhere in the Sound. So a ten shilling membership fee was decided upon, a roster drawn up for patrolling the beaches to hustle up interest and more importantly prospective members. That first money collected in was used to fund an approach to the Cockburn Shire and relative Government Departments for a site that we could call our own.
The original lease applied for and granted was adjacent to Clarence Rocks Groyne. The Cockburn Shire was of enormous help in those early days, donating the rocks for the breakwaters and the use of machinery at a very user friendly price. Many man hours were put into sand bagging back the sea for the ramps, laying of same, jetty construction and the building of the Radio Tower . A sea rescue squad was formed by club members who were on call 24 hours a day. Once the first ramp was put in it was marked with a bronze plaque, moulded by Cecil Burnby and inscribed with the date and is still club property today.
Now that all the important things were done this outstanding group of people decided that a club house was needed. The Social Club was up and running and were holding dances in various bowling clubs nearby with the AGMs being conducted in the Spearwood Hall.
The Club opted for a pre-fabricated building to be erected on top of an under-storey structure, this lower level being used for storage and shelter.
Those early days were pretty basic but the fun and really good times more than made up for the lack of super/duper facilities.
The original name of Cockburn Small Boat Owners Association was quite a mouthful and difficult to fit on membership discs and flags so the name of Cockburn Power Boats Association was chosen and so remains today. The Club was incorporated on 15th July 1963.
So there the Club was for 18 years, with a membership of around 900 or so, when members were informed that they had to vacate, as Woodside Offshore Petroleum needed our facilities for use as a simulated helicopter rescue training area for rigs operating off our shores.
A miserly sum was paid for relocating and with no clear indication of where the club was eventually going to be located.
For some two years many appeals were made by this Club for meetings, considerations, etc. until finally this area the Club now occupies was transferred from Commonwealth ownership to State Government and so could be allocated to the club.
During all this time, the members remained incredibly loyal; still paying their Club dues showing enormous faith.
During this “hiatus” period, the committee realised that they would not be able to build as before, mainly because of the new building and safety by-laws now in place. So a fairly large amount of money was going to be needed ASAP. A plan was put forward to the members asking…if they could see their way in paying between one and five years membership in advance with a fee gratis period pro-rata to number of years paid as an incentive…it would be of enormous benefit to the club.