Dave ‘Davo’ Aylett was a Cottesloe surfer in the late 50s and early 60s. He was also a talented vocalist and song writer in the popular Perth band, the ‘Young Blaydes’.
Image: 1963 Davo singing with Perth Band ‘The Times’ in a demo music video. Snapshot image from music video.
My first job
“On Saturday mornings aged about ten I would go with Dad to Pope and Aylett, or W. Pope and Co on Murray Street in Perth. It was always a very early start because Dad would have to be the first there to open. The butcher staff needed time to get the window of meat display in before 7 am. The butchers who served the first customers would put on clean aprons and bibs and have breakfast first before opening time. I was made the tea boy for the first shift, then I put on my white dust coat and headed for the wrapping counter. I joined old Billy Lindoor and he took me under his wing. We would wrap meat parcels for the customers after they had paid at the cashier box. We had up to three cashiers to take the cash. Xmas, Easter and long weekends were flat out. Pounds, shillings, sixpence, three pence, pence and half pence was the currency. At 12 noon the shop doors would close till Monday and my job became washing the meat trays used for window meat display in hot soapy water then hosing the suds off before drip drying. I would then climb into Dads FX Holden Ute saturated from the tray washing and sweat. While I was tray washing Dad would be winding up the takings from the morning trade.”
“Dad and I would go home to The Boulevard in Floreat Park and then later to the block of apartments Dad built in Marine Parade Cottesloe.”
Photo: 2016 Davo’s Dad built Belvedere Apartments in Cottesloe. Peter Dunn’s ‘Funs Back Surf Shop’ is now out the front. Dave Aylett pic.
“After lunch Dad would go off to sleep and I was then allowed to wash the ute. To do that I would have to shift it and I would drive it up and down the drive way and around the back for the rest of the day, or until the petrol gauge showed just over empty. That’s how I learnt to drive aged about at age 13 or 14. In the mornings, I would get the ute out of its garage and drive it to the house front door. One day I was sliding across to the passenger side when Dad said “Get back behind the wheel. You’re driving now.” Wow look at me now. Finally I felt like a MAN!”
My first Surfboard
“We then moved to Cottesloe and I was bitten by the SURF BUG. With the money I had earned from my Saturday morning work I bought a hollow wooden Malibu type surfboard from Boans department store over the road from Dad’s W. Pope and Co. butchers.”
Photo: 1958 Brian Cole’s two homemade hollow plywood surfboards. The board on the left (with BC initials) is a short 12ft Toothpick, The board on the right is a 10ft Malibu. Brian made the surfboards in his backyard at Wembley. Brian Cole pic.
“It was Christmas 1959. I know that because Dad had just taken delivery of a brand new Chevy Belair from Young’s Autos. You see I seem to remember stuff by what sort of car Dad or I had at the time. I think I was born a petrol head!
My first taste of surfing was in front of where I lived, Peters Pool. I was about 15. I soon started to move up to where all the big guys were surfing; the Slimy and the Pilon. One day it was breaking out past the Pilon and the beach had eroded away and the broken wave was crashing over bare rock and against the retaining walls of Cottesloe. It was big. I managed to get one wave and escape being wiped out, then the second wave was a disaster. No leg ropes in those days and my surfboard and all my hard work became match sticks no thanks to the retaining wall.
From then I had a procession of foam boards, starting with a Barry Bennett and moving to a Cordingley. My old Barry Bennett board became so damaged on the nose, I cut it off and relocated the fin to what was the front of the board. The back of the board became the front of the board. It worked well. You could almost take a tea break on the nose. I left it down at Yallingup shack when I went to Sydney with Rex Cordingley and Peter Utting. On my return, it was gone. Water under the bridge.”
My first car
“I went straight from school into butchering. I bought my first car, a Morris Minor, when I was 16. I got my driver’s licence a day before I turned 17.”
Photo: A 1958 two door Morris Minor sedan similar to Davo’s. Image courtesy of Dave Aylett.
“I drove my car for the driver’s test to the Police Station. After telling the constabulary what I was there for the policeman asked what car was I doing the driving test in. I said “MINE.” He said, “How did you get it here?” I said, “I drove it.” He said, “So you drove it here without a licence?” I said “Yes”. He looked puzzled. He said “Wait here!” and he went through a door behind the counter. I think he went to tell his boss, the Sergeant.
Just a short delay and he returned, picked up his hat and said, “Well come on then.” I followed him out to my car and got behind the wheel. He said, “Get out on Stirling Hwy and turn left.” We proceeded with a number of lefts and rights and then he said, “Drive in there and park outside that bakery.” I did and without a word to me he got out and went inside the bakery shop. Returning to the car with a paper bag, the Policeman said, “Right, see if you can find your way back to the station.”
Parking out the front of the Police Station I just sat there, thinking I was in some kind of trouble. He said, “Well aren’t you getting out? What are you waiting for?” I followed him into the station and stood to attention at the counter while he went behind the counter and once again through the door out the back. He returned to the counter without the paper bag and drew out his pen. “What’s your name?” he said. I told him. “Any relation to Ernie Aylett?” he said. “Yes” I said, “He’s my father’s identical twin brother, my uncle.” “Good!” He said. “I’ll write my name on this piece of paper and when you see him next tell him to do something special to my motor bike for next time we go to training at Caversham.” My uncle Ernie tuned the police bikes and fitted them out for police work. The constable then proceeded to fill out the paper work for my driver’s licence. The date that my driver’s licence was issued was one day before I turned seventeen.
It became my mission to over rev and destroy good machinery after that. But since I’ve had cruise control, which I use everywhere, I now never get caught for speeding.”