Pioneer surfers visiting the Yallingup region in the late 50s & early 60s were lucky to have talented jazz musician Don Bancroft in their ranks.
Don entertained surfers by playing his trumpet from an ex WW 2 RAN (Navy) hammock pitched between a couple of melaleuca trees in the virgin bush overlooking Yalls main break. He also sat in with jazz bands playing at Busselton dances and South West pubs.
Don is still playing regular gigs with The Corner House Jazz Band in the city.
More Don Bancroft stories and an image of Don driving a Holden FC panel van (with non-standard rear side windows) up Yallingup hill (refer 1960 image by The West Australian) are featured in the Surfing Down South book .
Don made his own balsa surfboards and experimented with different board shapes in his back shed at Cottesloe.
This 1958 photo shows Don Bancroft on Yallingup Beach with a home made balsa surfboard. Photo credit John Budge.
There were other talented muso’s amongst the early surfing crew at Yallingup.
Veteran surfer Kevin Merifield remembers. “On the return trip home, we would often stop at the Highway Hotel in Bunbury for the Sunday afternoon session. With Bernie Huddle (piano), Don Bancroft (trumpet), Bruce ‘Moonshine’ Hill (clarinet), Artie Taylor (trombone), and Tony ‘Harbo’ Harbison (tea chest slap bass), we had the makings of a really good trad jazz band. The band and the rest of us would get free grog, making it all worthwhile. How we got home to Perth in one piece I’ll never know.”
This 1958 photo shows Artie Taylor playing his trombone amongst hammocks in the Yalls camp site. Photo credit Brian Cole.