1970 John ‘Noddy’ Sprengles surfing Gracetown images by Jim Breadsell

Inaugural North End Board Club member Jim Breadsell captured these surfing images of John ‘Noddy’ Sprengles. They were taken Easter 1970 at Gracetown in the South West.

Murray Smith:We used to surf Big Rock and South Point at Gracetown a lot in those days. Noddy was a talented surfers from North End Board Club at Scarborough. He thrived on South West waves and had a holiday property near Redgate for 7-8 years”.

1. BIG ROCK images by Jim Breadsell

Photo: 1970 John ‘Noddy’ Sprengles at Big Rock #1.

Photo: 1970 John ‘Noddy’ Sprengles at Big Rock #2.

Photo: 1970 John ‘Noddy’ Sprengles at Big Rock #3.

Photo: 1970 John ‘Noddy’ Sprengles at Big Rock #4.

Photos: 1970 John ‘Noddy’ Sprengles at Big Rock #5.

Photo: 1970 John ‘Noddy’ Sprengles at Big Rock #6.

Photo: 1970 John ‘Noddy’ Sprengles at Big Rock #7.

Photo: 1970 John ‘Noddy’ Sprengles at Big Rock #8.

Photos: 1970 John ‘Noddy’ Sprengles at Big Rock #9.

2. SOUTH POINT images by Jim Breadsell

Photo: 1970 John ‘Noddy’ Sprengles at South Point #1.

Photo: 1970 John ‘Noddy’ Sprengles at South Point #2.

Photo: 1970 John ‘Noddy’ Sprengles at South Point #3.

Coming soon 1970 Geoff Culmsee surfing Big Rock images by Jim Breadsell.



1960-70s Phillip Island Vic surf trips by Steve Campbell and Bruce King

During the late 60s and early 70s many WA surfers made the long trip across the Nullarbor to surf good waves on Phillip Island in Victoria.

This is a collection of Phillip Island memories by WA surfers Steve ‘Horny’ Campbell and Bruce’ Lumpy’ King.

Image: 2017 Map of Phillip Island Vic courtesy of Google.

1. Horny’s Phillip Island surf trips

In the late 60s and early 70s I made numerous trips across the Nullarbor dirt track to Phillip Island.

On my first Phillip Island trip in 67/68, I travelled with George Scheffener, Peter Carter, John Fox and Ian ‘Prive’ Morris.

In 1972, I drove my yellow Kombi from WA to Phillip Island with my girlfriend.

We stayed in rental houses in Ventnor and Woolamai and I worked on the Phillip Island Shire ‘Shit Truck’.

These are some of my pics from the 1972 surf trip to Phillip Island.

1.1 South Australia on route to Phillip Island.

Photo: 1972 camping area at Cactus Beach at Penong, South Australia. Steve Campbell pic.

A couple of ex South Aust surfers (Crow boys) travelled from WA to Vic with us, but they stopped at Kennett River in Vic and didn’t want to go any further, apparently the Crow boys were not popular in Vic!

Photo: 1972 Horny (on the right) with Crow boys & unidentified girls in South Australia. Steve Campbell pic.

Photos: 1972 the Crow boys showed us some great surf spots in South Aust. Steve Campbell pics.

Photo: 1972 unidentified surf spot in South Aust.  Steve Campbell pic.

Photo: 1972 the 12 Apostles tourist attraction on Great Ocean Road Victoria. Steve Campbell pic.

I took this pic back when there were 12 Apostles, some have fallen in to the sea since then. There are good surf breaks nearby at Port Campbell.

1.2 Phillip Island.

Photos: 1972 Horny’s rental house at Woolamai. Steve Campbell pic.

Photos: 1972 Horny and house mates at Woolamai rental house. Steve Campbell pic.

L-R Ralph, Tim Thirsk, Ross, Horny & Pup.

Photo: 1972 Laurie ‘Pup’ Nesbit holding a snake he found in the Dunny at Woolamai rental house. Horny & Steve Pozzi are looking on. Steve Campbell pic.

Photo: 1972 Pup’s mate changing buckets in Woolamai dunny. Steve Campbell pic.

Photo: 1972 Cliff and Horny working on Phillip Island Shire ‘Shit Truck’. Steve Campbell pic.

If we had a good guy on the shit truck, he would let us take our surfboards in the back of the truck and go surfing during our breaks.

Photo: 1972 Pup at Woolamai suited up for his job on a local shark boat. Steve Campbell pic.

Photo: 1972 Steve Pozzi horse riding at Woolamai with Pup looking on. Steve Campbell pic.

Photo: 1972 Rental house at Ventnor on Phillip Island. Steve Campbell pic.

L-R Horny, Gail and Woppa (Vic girls) and Wendy Waite (Bunbury girl).

I thought I was real popular and had a lot of friends, then I discovered they only came to the house to try and get into the chick’s pants!

Photos: 1972 Horny’s rental house at Ventor. Steve Campbell pics.

Left: front of rental house

Right: interior of rental house L-R Jamie Doig, unidentified & Horny.

Photo: 1972 Right Point surf break on Phillip Island. Steve Campbell pic.

It is called Right Point, even though the wave is a left-hander. Further around the bay there is a right-hander called Flynn’s Reef. It was Murf’s signature surf break!

Photos: 1972 Murf and crew on Phillip Island. Steve Campbell pics.

Left: Murf and Jamie Doig with Vic girl and Wendy Waite from Bunbury.

Right: Murf, John Richie, Wendy Waite and Jamie Doig with John Richie’s Holden station wagon.

Photo: 1972 Horny’s yellow Kombi parked in the main street of Cowes on Phillip Island. Steve Campbell pic.

2. Bruce ‘Lumpy’ King Whisky a Go-Go surf trip

In 1968 I set off on an overland surf trip to the Eastern States with my City Beach Surf Riders Club mates Phil Henderson (19), Brian ‘Browneyes’ Brown (21) and Kevin ‘Mumbles’ Rumble (20). We travelled in a brightly painted FJ Holden promoting the Club’s sponsor Whisky-a Go-Go nightclub. As befitting four young blokes travelling in an orange coloured FJ Holden we got up to a fair bit of mischief.

Photo: Bruce King (19) with Whisky-A-Go-Go sponsored FJ Holden on Floreat groyne prior to departure in December 1968. Bruce King pic.

Coincidentally, we left Perth on the same day as competitors in the inaugural London to Sydney Marathon Car Rally. Spectators assumed we were part of the rally and cheered our sponsored FJ through Perth and WA country towns. The car broke down many times crossing the Nullarbor and we become quite proficient as a team at pulling it apart and putting it back together again.

We went on to surf good waves in South Australia and Victoria.

Images: 1968 Whisky-A-Go-Go sponsored FJ Holden. Snapshots ex CBSR Super 8 film.

While at Phillip Island (Vic) we re-painted the orange car a less conspicuous light blue colour with 4” brushes and house paint. As no masking tape was available, we painted the tyres and accessories too. The repaint come unstuck when a fresh afternoon breeze came up and coated the car in grass seeds, dirt and insects (very Harry Butler!).

After several more repairs on the trip from Phillip Island to Sydney, the FJ was nursed onto Ulladulla in NSW where it expired for the final time. We travelled onto Manly in Sydney and surfed up and down the East Coast before making our own way back to Perth.

Image: 1970 Denise Zanoni from Lorne Vic with Bruce King at Bells Beach for the World Surfing Titles. Image courtesy of Bruce King.

Click on this link to view 1960-70s Phillip Island Vic surf trips by Rod Slater, Mal Leckie and Steve Cockburn.

Coming soon 1966 First WA surf trip to Phillip Island by Craig Brent-White and Peter Dyson.

Long Live fun surf trips!







Busso Night Life in the 60s, 70s and 80s

This is a collection of Busselton Night Life memories from some South West residents.

Night out on the town by Kevin Merifield

Kevin Merifield is a former Subiaco League Footballer and has been surfing down south since the 1955.

For the first couple of years the South West locals, primarily dairy farmers couldn’t work out who these weird bods were invading their territory, trespassing on their land and going out in what they considered wild seas and shark invested waters. Even back in those days we dressed, acted and spoke differently (surf speak had already began).

Sometimes on a Saturday we would head into Busselton for a night out on the town.

It usually took about a half an hour at the Vasse or Commercial hotels before it would be on. The locals would have a go at us and it would be good old fashion one on one fisticuffs for about 5 minutes until you were both buggered then up to the bar to share a beer together. After a while the locals got to know us better and we became good mates with some and were eventually accepted into the community.

Photos: Busselton Hotels courtesy City of Busselton Municipal Heritage Inventory (2013)

Left: Vasse Hotel since 1906.

Right: Commercial Hotel built circa 1890

Kevin is retired and lives at Yallingup with his wife Margaret.


Busso Picture Theatre by Ian Wiese

Ian Wiese grew up in Busselton in the 50s & 60s.

Back then Busselton had a population of about 6,500 ie smaller than Dunsborough is today! It had 2 seasons – summer and winter.

Photo: 1951 Mrs Wiese with her twin sons Stan and Ian on Busselton Beach. Ian Wiese pic.

In the winter we were at school, played sport (in my case hockey), and for entertainment we went to the picture theatre in Busselton or when we were older the drive-in. 

At the picture theatre anyone caught cuddling up to their girlfriend were moved by the owner’s wife who used to patrol the theatre with a torch watching out for any signs of misbehaviour. (Just as well she didn’t get out to the drive-in where all the action was).

After the pictures there was House’s milk bar just around the corner in Queen Street, or the Jolly Roger cafe down the other end near the Vasse hotel. Not a lot else went on in Busselton apart from the pubs. We often used to hold parties at our place after hockey.  

Photo: 1966 Some of Ian’s hockey team at his family home in Morrison St in Busselton. Ian Wiese pic.

The people in the photo (left to right) are Rob Ainsworth, Stan Wiese (in the car), Jim Watts, Ian Wiese, and Fred Ball. The lads are leaning on a 1955 Morris Oxford, jointly owned by Ian and his twin brother.

“Hooning” was a popular past time – the timber yards between the tennis club and the railway jetty were a good place as there was a lot of gravel. Talking to some at a recent reunion I learnt how fast you could go through the S bend over the old bridge at the entrance to Dunsborough, and other hair raising tales. I recall stories about some prominent citizens of the town setting records in their Jaguars for the Bunbury-Busselton trip (which didn’t involve slowing down for the bridge at Capel). With the drinking age at 21, it was common for bored youths to get a keg and take it somewhere into the bush on a Saturday night. There were some terrible accidents as they drove home. In those days Western Australia had a population of 500,000 and a road toll of 350. We tell ourselves we were safe but actually we were the survivors – poor car design, unsafe roads, and alcohol took a terrible toll. 

In summer there was a lot more going-on. People came down for holidays, surfers came down. There were stomps at Churchill Park (until the council banned the Stomp), the Tennis club, Yallingup Hall, Cowaramup Hall, Witchcliffe Hall and the rowing club in Bunbury. Winter relationships broke up as the girls chased the visiting surfers and the boys chased the farmer’s daughters on holiday. At a recent reunion a member of a 60’s band that played at these venues recalled that they used to come home high after playing at the Yallingup Hall!

I left Busselton for Perth early in 1967 when I was only just 17, so I missed the Busselton pub scene apart from one brief summer.

Ian is a keen photographer and now lives in Dunsborough with his wife Glenys.


Jetty drinks with George Simpson

George Simpson formerly of Cottesloe has lived and surfed in the South West since the late 60s.

We’d come down on weekends and we’d want to go find girls. We’d find the girls at the fish and chip shop next to Busselton Jetty. We’d also go to the youth hostel, but there were too many cops around there. So we’d go and get the oldest one of us to get a couple of bottles of beer and we’d sit on the end of the jetty. We got to know the local girls and they would come hang out there too.

Image: 1960s Busselton jetty with Queens Street in the background. Image courtesy of vintage Tourist post card.

Sally Gunter, the lighthouse keeper’s daughter, came around the bend with Chrissy Brennon on skateboards while I was driving up the Cape one day. I introduced a couple of the lads to their future wives. They were cool chicks. They were the sort of girls who were more inclined to like surfers than bogs. (Extract from Surfing Down South book).

George works in the Prawn Fishing industry and lives at Yallingup.


Busso Stomps by Sally Gunter

Sally Gunter is the daughter of a former Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse keeper and is a real South West local.

My five girlfriends and I used to attend Stomps held in a hall near the Busselton jetty on a Friday night. At about 10pm surfers from the city would turn up at the Stomp….much to the displeasure of local lads. I remember meeting Gary Greirson and other city surfers there.

My Busso friend Pat Milner met & married Ian Cairns in Busselton. That changed her life forever!

Images: 1975 Ian Cairns and Pat Cairns (nee Milner). Images courtesy of WA Newspapers and Ric Chan.

Left: Ian Cairns with his big wave board made for the World Surfing Championships held in Hawaii in 76. Ian designed and shaped the 3.1m board at Gary Greirson’s Surfboard factory in Osborne Park.

Right: Oceans Surf Comp at Trigg Point. L-R Pat Cairns, Barry Day, Ian Cairns, Russell Catto & unidentified.

At the time I was going out with Rick Lobe. I worked in the Dunsborough Bakery and Rick worked with my father at the Cape Naturaliste lighthouse.

I remember we made a trip up to the city with Gary Greirson in his Kombi. Gary was going through a religious phase and went on non-stop about religion the whole trip.

Photo: 1975 Sally Gunter & Rick Lobe at Dunsborough with Gremmo’s dog ‘Horse’. Peter Mac pic.

Sally is married to SW surfing legend Andy Jones and lives at Yallingup.


Busso Dances by Steve ‘Horny’ Campbell

On weekends my mates and I used to go to dances held at the Busselton Tennis Club. That’s where we met Sally Gunter and the other Busso girls. Trevor ‘TA’ Anderson met his future wife Linda Dodd at those dances. Linda’s parents ran the beach shop near the jetty.

Back then the Busso Bogs thought we were trying to steal their girls and there were confrontations. Now I’m friends with some of those Bogs and they are really nice guys…..they could tell you some stories!

Horny has sold his Electrical Business and lives at Yallingup.


Vasse-A-Go-Go by Bruce King

Bruce King formerly of Subiaco spent a large part of his youth surfing and socialising down south in the late 60s to early 70s.

We used to drive down south on a Friday night and meet up with Busso girls Linda Dodd, Wendy, Gail Colombera and maybe Shaz Day at the Jetty Tea Rooms. Linda Dodd’s parents owned the Tea Rooms which sold fish & chips and meals.

At other times we went to stomps at the Vasse Hall. We called it Vasse-a-Go-Go. One night the old bloke that run the show stopped the music because someone had broken the toilet seat and he wouldn’t continue until someone owned up…can’t remember anyone owning up! The Busso bogs also visited Vasse-a-Go-Go and one big bog turned his glass upside down on our table, which meant he wanted to fight one or all of us….without George Simpson being there, we declined his offer!

Photo: Vasse Hall built circa 1898. Courtesy City of Busselton Municipal Heritage Inventory (2013)

We also frequented the Ship Hotel. Norm Bateman used to do a comedy routine there. One night instead of kicking us out, the management locked us in and called the cops.

Photo: The Ship Hotel built circa 1898. Courtesy City of Busselton Municipal Heritage Inventory (2013)

One New Year Eve’s we broke into the Community Hall in Busso for a quiet drink and we were busted by the cops. We got off because one of the Bussell girls was there with us.

Bruce is retired and lives in Dunsborough with his wife Anne.


In the early 80s big name OZ bands played with late licences at the Commercial Hotel in Busso. This entertainment was popular with SW surfers.

Loz Smith (Quindalup) – I remember listening to Western Flyer with Matt Taylor, Stevie Wright and Brian Cadd at the Commercial in Busso.  

Jo Felton (Dunsborough)After the Dunsy pub closed lots of us used go to the Commercial in Busso, when it stayed open late at one stage. I remember seeing some bands there, but don’t remember names now. Most of the Dunsy and Yalls crew did the same drive when the night club thing was happening in Busso….it was a bit of a novelty back in the days when the pubs shut at 10 pm hahahaha.


Refer to Surfing Down South book published 2014 for more ‘Hanging with the Locals’ stories.



1960-70s Phillip Island Vic surf trips by Rod Slater, Mal Leckie and Steve Cockburn

During the late 60s and early 70s many WA surfers made the long trip across the Nullarbor to surf good waves on Phillip Island in Victoria.

This is a collection of Phillip Island memories by WA surfers Rod Slater, Mal Leckie and Steve ‘Sheepdog’ Cockburn.

My Phillip Island Memories by Rod Slater

In mid 1968 I caught a train from Perth to Sydney with surfer Rod McCarthy from Tweed Heads. There we met up with Keith ‘Jock’ Campbell and in his black FJ we drove up north to Coolangatta, surfing Crescent Heads and other beautiful places on the way. We stayed at Rod Mac’s house for a few days then shifted into the Coolangatta surf club. We surfed some ‘lovely’ winter Queensland waves and saw some very good surfers.  We even got a job on a building site at Southport but that only lasted a day or two.  One day we saw a car with WA number plates on it at either Snapper Rocks or Coolangatta, with a family and a couple of very young surfers in it. I believe it was the Bettenay bros.

After a while we headed back down South and finished up at Phillip Island, a place Jock had stayed at before.  Jock had several nasty car crashes on the drive to the Island, not sure from where, hence the missing teeth in photos. Apparently in one such incident he drove off the road and straight up the guide wire holding the pole and then smashed to the ground. The whole time Peter Lummis was asleep on the back seat wrapped in a sleeping blanket. I believe they both walked away reasonably unscathed. We surfed and worked, more surfing than working. Especially through the winter months work was a little scarce.  At this time besides Jock, Lum and myself, there were other WA surfers on the Island including Mal Read, Bob Shenston, Craig ‘Clarrie’ Brentwhite, John Balgarnie and Jamie Doig with visits from people like Peter Bothwell and many others. I think Fred Annesley and I may have stopped there on the way back from staying at Kirra after the Australian titles in 1969.

On subsequent visits I travelled with Mark Waddell, with whom I lived and shared an abalone shelling job, working one day a week each. On my last visit, I travelled over with Mal Leckie and a young lady from Scarborough, Sue-Ellen Nyman.  We stayed off the Island this time with a guy, Peter Connelly from Inverloch, who used to sand and finish boards with Greg ‘Pantsman’ Laurenson when he had his own business behind City drycleaners in Scarborough Beach Road, over the road from Hawke Brothers. On one trip Mark Waddell and I travelled from the Island to Tasmania in convoy with a Victorian surfer, Steve ‘Blue’ Nicholson, and then came back to WA with Blue.  I believe Blue went straight to work for Tony Harbison on the holiday houses he built at Yallingup (Hideaway Holiday Homes). I think Blue may still be living Down South. On one occasion I helped a young surfer named Tommy Tyrell glass a board he had shaped, he went on to become a successful board manufacturer owning a company called Island Surfboards (purely coincidental).

One year when I was glassing for ‘Pantsman’ in Scarborough Beach Road, we decided to travel in Pants’ new Falcon panel van to Bells Beach for the Easter competition. There was Pants, myself, Peter Connelly, Steve ‘Sheepdog’ Cockburn and Rick Syme (I think that is correct!). On the way we stopped at Cactus and then went on to Bells and then Phillip Island. I remember Rick surfing exceptionally well at both Cactus and at Flynn’s Reef on the Island. My only memory of Bells was seeing Nat Young walking out of the bush/sand hills with his red setter and a big hat. I think he was going through an ‘anti competition’ phase, or something like that!

In my time there I had the great privilege to watch and enjoy a young Wayne Lynch surf Flynn’s reef on his backhand; a very young Mark Richard have a few sessions either before or after the Bells contest (can’t remember which); Mark Warren in his young heyday and many other good surfers who travelled through.

Rod’s Phillip Island photos and comments follow:

Photo: 1968 the crew at Klemm Bell Surfboards in Gardenvale Vic. Rod Slater pic.

From the left – Peter Connelly, Reg Bell, Rod Slater, ‘Steve the Kid’ (not sure of his full name) and Terry Klemm.

RodThis shop was on the Nepean Highway in Gardenvale. Klemm Bell also had another factory in Torquay.

Photos: 1968 Phillip Island surfboards. Rod Slater pics.

(Left) Rod Slater with new Klemm Bell surfboard. (Right) Jock Campbell and Mal Read preparing for a surf at Cat Bay or Right Point.

Photo: 1968 Rod Slater surfing at Woolamai beach on Phillip Island. Rod Slater pic.

RodNot my proudest moment but still a browneye in a small Woolamai tube!

Photo: 1968 Rod Slater and Mick Maddren at Cat Bay carpark on Phillip Island. Rod Slater pic.

Photos: 1968 John Balgarnie’s Holden FB Ute on Summerlands Beach at Phillip Island. Rod Slater pics.

(Left) The crew with JB’s Ute. (Right) John Balgarnie and Craig ‘Clarrie’ Brentwhite with JB’s ute.

Rod – Summerlands is now famous because it is where the Penguin Parades are held!

Photo: 1968 Phillip Island road drama, Rod Slater pic.

RodJock Campbell broke split windscreen somehow and he (in the brown jumper), Mal Read (yellow shorts) and Mick Maddren (on the bonnet) were dramatising a bit!

Photo: 1968 Jock Campbell with his FJ and Mal Read at Cat Bay on Phillip Island. Rod Slater pic.

Photos: 1968 Phillip Island Keith ‘Jock’ Campbell and crew acting irresponsibly at Summerlands on Phillip Island. Rod Slater pic.

RodWe sometimes scored some nice beach breaks around the ‘bay’ like beach.

Photo: 1968 Jock Campbell and one of the Kavanagh boys from Wonthaggi Vic at Woolamai Beach. Rod Slater pic.

Photo: 1968 Victorian Peter Connelly (on the left) at Woolamai Beach on Phillip Island. Rod Slater pic.

1971 Phillip Island surf trip by Mal Leckie

I reckon it might be good to get a few yarns from some of the guys who went to Phillip Island in early 70s.

Names that come to mind from 1971, the year I went across to Victoria are Sheepdog, John Balgarnie, and Rod Slater. I know that Rod had done the trip before and I think the others had too. We had good quality waves at Woolamai and at Flynns Reef and surfed some decent beach breaks all the way down to Wilson’s Prom. Some of the spots didn’t break that year but Rod had glowing recollections of them. Express Point was one I think.

I could fatten the story up too. Rod saved a kid’s life at Kilcunda when he was washed off the rocks, a truck crashed into the back of us while we were driving along in Victoria one night, Rod built a new board in an old cow shed etc.

Image: 1969 Phillip Island Invitational Surfing Contest. Barry Young pic

1970 Phillip Island surf trip by Steve “Sheepdog’ Cockburn

I remember one afternoon at the Phillip Island Pub with John Balgarnie and Greg Laurenson, plus many members of the Phillip Island Surfboard Club (PISC).

As the afternoon wore on the boys got merrier. The PISC boys were showing off their tricks, one ate a whole middy glass down to the stump, another drank a pint of beer thru his nose whilst a third sculled a cigarette tray full of butts & beer. Then the visiting Maroubra Surfboard Club (MSC) team started pranks. One of their members nicknamed ‘Bucket Mouth’ got up on the stage and took over the lead singer’s role in the band and sang quite well. Another called ‘Krinkles’ got a crowd in the beer garden where he climbed a small slender tree and wobbled backwards & forwards on it like a huge koala bear, until it snapped and Krinkles and the tree came crashing to the ground. Not to be outdone Greg Laurenson climbed a mature Moreton Bay Fig type tree and tried to wobble a big horizontal branch, alas he lost his grip and came crashing to the ground and injured his forearm.

Apart from the novelty at the pub. The surf was good. Nice rights at Flynns Reef and rights and lefts at Woolamai Beach plus lefts at Cat Bay.

Tides are huge at Phillip Island and affect the surfing greatly. Some of the visitors from WA had part time jobs at the Koala Café and went surfing on the incoming to high tide. A great place to visit and surf.

Photo: 1970 Sheepdog sitting on the bonnet of his Holden panel van at Woolamai Beach on Phillip Island. Sheepdog pic.

Coming soon 1960-70s Phillip Island Vic surf trips by Steve Campbell and Bruce King

Long live fun surf trips.



1970s Gallows surf break & dirt track

Gallows surf break at Wilyabrup has been surfed since the late 1950s. Just getting to the waves via the notorious dirt track has been part of the adventure.

This is a collection of anecdotes and images from surfers who used the Gallows track to access waves in the region during the ‘70s.

This post continues from 1960s Gallows surf break & dirt track

Jim McFarlane (Yallingup) – Early summer was hell with bush flies breeding in plague proportions. I remember many walks from the gravel road down to Gallows, when the track had become impassable in two-wheel drives. Bags on back, boards on our heads and towels wrapped around our face, like something out of Lawrence in Arabia to keep the buggers away. Often we arrived at the surf black from ilmenite sand only to find a howling onshore. (Extract from Surfing Down Surf book published 2014).

Photo: 1975 Gallows wave line-up. Jim King pic.

Ronnie Jeffrey (Yallingup) – My mate Albie used to take me surfing at Gallows in his old Holden. The track was boggy black sand and the car wheels used to spin in the large ruts and tear up the track for anyone following us. We would park the car in the dirt car park and walk through the sand hills to the beach. On the trip back, we used to get a good run up at the track but always needed a crew in the car to push through the boggy bits.

In the 70s it was a fun crew surfing Gallows. Regulars included Horny Campbell, Mahdu Anderson, Kim ‘Boonga’ Hunter, Bruce King, Micko Gracie, Barry Green & Andy Jones. John Balgarnie & John Pozzi were always there too.

Editor’s note: Ronnie ‘Ratshit’ Jeffrey has lived at Yallingup since 1971. Initially he slept in George Simpson’s old Chrysler sedan abandoned outside Surfside Café, then he moved onto farm houses in Smiths Valley and Millbrook.

Photo: 1976 Gary Gibbon and hound, Sue Ware and hound with Ronnie ‘Ratshit’ Jeffrey at Peter Dyson’s place on Yallingup hill. Gary Gibbon pic.

Stewart Bettenay (Dunsborough) – In 1971 surf movie maker Bob Evans (NSW) came to WA to film his surf movie Family Free (1971). He bought eastern states surfers Mark Warren and Col Smith with him and was joined by WA surfers Ian Cairns and Craig Bettenay at Gallows. All surfers rode twin fins except Ian Cairns. Bob Evans accessed the Gallows dirt track in his Jaguar (aka Kevin Merifield in his Mercedes).

Image: 1971 Craig Bettenay (age 14) surfing Gallows on a twin fin surfboard. Bob Evans pic. This image appeared in Surfing World magazine.

Jeffrey ‘RE’ Marshall (Augusta) – We used to go down the Gallows track in my HR Panel Van. Around 1970 to 1973. We would drop the tailgate and three guys would sit on it, if we started bogging down they would jump off, shut the tailgate and push. The reason for sitting on the tailgate was to get weight behind the back wheels. On the Gallows Track there was what we called the Sump Eating Rock and The Rack Eating Tree.

Photo: 1971 Guinea pig race at Wilyabrup farm. Ric Chan pic.

L-R. RE Marshall, Stewart Bettenay, unidentified and Vin Nolan.

Gary Gibbon (Margaret River) – Andy Jones and I would quite often try and head down there on summer’s afternoons, to make good use of the afternoon sea breeze glass-offs and the higher tides, which Gallows always likes.

The Gallows track in the 70’s was always hideous. I learnt my lesson way back in the mid 70’s attempting a weekday solo sojourn in a VW beetle and got thoroughly bogged on the way down, on a day when there weren’t too many other takers. After fruitlessly waiting for others to come by and hopefully give me a hand, a local farmer (unfortunately I forget his name) thankfully hauled me out with his tractor, quietly admonishing me to “take a bit more care next time young fella”. I took his advice and from then on, unless I happened to be with someone in a 4 wheel drive, usually left my vehicle near the top of the track and took the long, dusty walk in.

I was always a bit surprised when occasionally, usually on Sundays down at Gallows upon kicking back after a session, I would see Trevor Anderson’s gang arrive … in this old banged up FC. Trevor and a bunch of his mates from around Dunsborough at the time, who frequently included people like Trevor McKinnon, Steve ‘Horny’ Campbell, Tall Tex, and Howard Johnson often used to get together for Sunday surf trips and head off in various directions in this old FC, which I think was Trevor’s and which I’m sure, he being a fine mechanic, kept in very good working order. The thing that got me, is that I never heard of them experiencing any bog issues on that track. From memory, coming back in particular, there was a really steep, sandy, shifty hill to negotiate, which TA’s FC apparently had little trouble (at least none that I heard about) in conquering. Though curious, I never did get around to asking him what the secret was. May be it was just good track driving skills, or a case of every one get out and push up this next bit.

My brother John now lives in Bali, he sent me these photos of a bogging of his car on the Gallows track circa 1979, in his little Datsun 120Y, which we used to take (or try to take) everywhere back in the day. To be honest, I don’t remember this one as well as the one I outlined in earlier correspondence, but John assures me I was there and he said some “nice winery guy” got us out.

Photos: 1979 John Gibbon’s Datsun 120Y bogged on the Gallows track. John Gibbon pics.Steve ‘Horny’ Campbell (Yallingup) – I loved going to Gallows with my surfing mates Trevor ‘Yip Yip’ Anderson and John Fox. We got stuck on that track so many times, particularly in the water/mud hole when water ran across the track after rain.

On the afternoon of my wedding to Wendy, I went surfing at Gallows (surfing’s good for the nerves!) with Trevor Anderson, Tex branch and Howard Johnson. We were worried we may get stuck on the dirt track and not make it back to the wedding ceremony on time.

Photo: 1970s Steve ‘Horny’ Campbell and Alf Burley walking up the sand hill from Gallows beach. Steve Campbell pic.

JohnTex’ Branch (Yallingup) – Horny Campbell, Trevor ‘TA’ Anderson , Howard Johnson and I purchased a FC Holden as a track car to be used at Gallows and Bears. On the day of Horny’s wedding, we were late back from our surf at Gallows and had to quickly shit, shower and change for the wedding and reception at the Dodd’s place in Meelup Hills.

Photo: 1980s Horny accepting his wedding gift (surfboard) from Capel Surfboard maker Peter Mercer. Steve Campbell pic.

Mal Leckie (Coolangatta Qld) – It was undoubtedly the most notorious track around 1971-2. I deeply regret not taking more photos in those days but I have a fairly vivid memory of one section of the track that turned tightly to the left (as you were coming out) around a tree with a low branch that would clip the roof racks off if you didn’t swing wide enough.

For a while, there was an old pipe-style rack bar hanging on the offending branch, bent in half. I guess it was wrapped there in frustration by someone and left as a warning.

That section of the track was the worst because you had to have speed up and turn hard left at the same time. Most cars would let their team out so they were ready to push at the right time. Sometimes several carloads of blokes were needed to get a car through. Everyone ended up covered in dust as cars bounced violently up the hill.

Nearly everybody drove ordinary cars too, so it was no easy job getting back up the track. I went south with Paul Jacobsen most times and his Kombi was at great risk on that bend so we tended to avoid the Gallows track. I remember going down there in John Fox’s HD Holden station wagon once or twice and I think we even went down in Bill Oddy’s Volvo 144 once to. It was a surprisingly good track car.

The best cars were VW Beetles because they had the flat floor that skidded across the bumps and you could get a couple of fellas standing on the back bumper to keep weight on the rear wheels.

I do remember being down there one day when goofy footer Col Smith from Sydney was there and we were all amazed at how small and light his boards were. We considered them unsuitable for WA waves but he had no trouble getting them to work.

Although I am a long time gone from the west, I love the place heaps and your bits and pieces sort of help keep me there.

I have drawn up that memory of the dusty bend around the tree at Gallows. It’s very sketchy but I hope it will do the job and maybe jolt other memories. I tried to give it a feel of dirt and black dust, and put a towel over one guy’s head to maybe remind us of all the flies. I’m reasonably happy that the ‘feel’ is right although the detail might be lost in 45 years of memory haze.

This bit of the track I remember best because it was a tight uphill turn around a tree that had a thick low branch with a reputation for tearing off roof racks. There was an old roof rack bent over the offending branch, as a warning to others I guess.

I am thinking of doing the sketch up as an ink drawing and maybe running a small edition of prints. For what it’s worth, I think the wagon I remember was John Fox’s, but not sure. My apologies to Holden fans for what I have done to that HD’s front.

Image: 1972 Gallows track drawing by Mal Leckie. Image courtesy of Mal Leckie.

Ric Chan (Auckland NZ) – There were lotsa flies and it was very, very dusty. I actually took the red Jag in there once and had to have it pushed out!

Photo: 1970s unidentified surfers pushing a surf wagon loaded with boards back up the hill at the notorious Gallows track. Ric Chan pic.

Phil Usher (Gold Coast Queensland)Nev Hyman and I went to school together at Bentley High School. We started Odyssey Surfboards in Leederville in 1976. I also shaped with Murray Smith at HotBrewz surfboards for a while in the mid 80s. Nev and I teamed up again on the Gold Coast in Queensland for several more years along the way followed by many shaping stints in many countries worldwide.

Back in the 70s we went down south regularly, one year we went 51 out of 52 weeks. Gallows was a favourite surf spot. The dirt track was horrific and we used to choke on the flies. We wore straw hats with double fly nets with elastic bands around the bottom of the nets and our necks to keep the flies out. Despite the hats and nets, flies would be all over our faces and we couldn’t swat them because we had boards under one arm and wetties on the other. The walk was a killer but the waves were worth it, No crowds and great lefts, particularly on a small swell. We got sick of the walk, flies and summer heat.

To the rescue. Nev had a 64 Kombi and I had a 67 Ford Anglia. We used Nev’s Kombi for the Gallows track because my Anglia couldn’t do it! Nev would gun the Kombi and four of us would stand on the back bumper bouncing the Kombi all the way there and back. Dedicated and diligent with a touch of crazy was the order of the day. Poor Nev had a few repair bills along the way, but it was way better than the alternative.

The waves at gallows on a small day were great for fun and on the right larger days it had plenty of grunt. The best thing back in the 70’s was no crowds. Back then, some people had not even heard of it.

When asked what I remember most about Gallows, it is not the surf I recall, it is the taste of fresh fly in abundance. That never leaves you. All jokes aside, it was a cracker secret spot back in the day.

The following Smith Beach shot has me second from right with Blair Mieklejohn to my left and Bill Mieklejohn to my right and Nev with the fuzzy top leaning on the driver’s door.

Photo: 1970s Nev’s surf mobile bogged on the back track to Smiths Beach. Wayne Murphy pic.

L-R Lee Potter, Nev Hyman, Rod Hernaman, Blair Miekeljohn, Phil Usher and Bill Miekeljohn.

Gary Greirson (Dunsborough) – I’ve been bogged many times in the black dirt on that track. It was always hot and there were lots of flies as we only surfed there in the summertime. Our VW had the most trouble under the peppies on the first hill back from the beach, there was a bend like a dog’s hind leg.

Many times we were struggling back up the track and Kevin Merifield would drive past in his Mercedes sedan.

Photo: 1970 Max Hickson, unidentified girl and Les Wright at Gallows. Ric Chan pic.

Jim King (Dunsborough) – In the early 70s I used to go to Gallows with the late Lindsay Thompson in his VW kombi. The rigid chassis of the Kombi wasn’t suited to the big ruts & black dirt of the Gallows track. One of the Kombi’s wheels was nearly always off the ground and a lot of pushing was required to get back up the track.

At other times, my wife Kath & I would tackle the track in our 2wd Toyota Corona. While surfing I would be wondering how we would get back up the sandy track, as they weren’t many people around in those days to help push us out, if required. Driving back up the track, the engine would be screaming and rear wheels spinning in a cloud of black dust….but as long as we were moving forward it was all good! The sight of old car bodies rotting in the bush next to the track wasn’t reassuring!

Photo: 1970 Gallows. Blaxell team rider Jim King.  Tom Blaxell pic.

Ross Utting (Metro)Of all the trips I did to Gallows, I can only remember three cos they were bad trips. The first two were in Morris Minors owned by David Moss & Glen Carroll. Who in their right mind would even contemplate taking a Morrie into Gallows! They were gutless and their tyres were about 2 inches wide. Both times we made it to about a 20 minute walk to Gallows & then got heaps of help to manhandle us out. After that we sacked the Morris & tried an FJ Holden panel Van owned by Gerard Waddell.

Made it all the way, but going back up the hill after our surf was a real battle. We had blokes all around the car pushing as well as four blokes standing on the rear bumpers bouncing the FJ to get traction each time we hit a hollow. Just got out, but Gerard was real worried about the toll it had on the fragile FJ.

Our Gallows strategy was never be the last to leave, cos there was only one way out and if you got stuck, those behind you had to help or they couldn’t get out.

Photo: 1976 Ross Utting with his Blaxell orange flyer single fin surfboard at Gallows. Jim King pic.

Steve ‘Sheepdog’ Cockburn (Metro) – I didn’t go there a lot!  But I have had Gallows & Guillotine surf really good. I remember surfing Gallows with John Balgarnie and having left hand waves, overhead height, that were cylindrical tubes & very fast.

Another time Peter Bothwell and I surfed Gallows on Tracker surfboards from West Coast Surfboards and the surf was hollow & amazing.

The dirt track was by far the worst track I’d experienced down south. The first part being flat but extremely boggy, then it weaved & winded steeply down between trees that were very close together.

At one State Surfing Contest Murray Smith & Terry Jacks surfed off in the Final at Guillotine. The waves were small at first, less than shoulder high, but soon they picked up to twice the size, with long lefts & short rights. There were some great rides, but I don’t remember who won. Because the surf conditions changed so much during the Final, it made it very hard for the WASRA judges scoring that event!

Photo: 1970 Sheepdog surfing Guillotine right hander in his multi coloured wettie. Ric Chan pic.

Craig Blume (Metro)The Gallows track back in the 70’s was a place to perfect and hone your dirt track driving skills, it was unforgiving and a great money earner for local mechanics and businesses.

I remember one day ‘Springhead / Grimmie’ (Graeme Lesley) took a bunch of us for a surf at Gallows in his EH Holden sedan.  ‘Springhead’ negotiated down the track to the surf like a true veteran even though it was badly rutted with lots of loose dirt and rubble where guys had been previously bogged. The return was somewhat different. He started off well picking good lines through the deep ruts until about the half way up the hill where the track detoured around a couple of big trees.  At this point he slipped off our line, because of all the bouncing, bottomed out and got stuck – couldn’t move forward or backward.  We were there for hours trying to free his beloved EH but with each attempt the car slipped closer to becoming impaled against a trees.  Finally exhausted, pissed off and sweaty and black from all the digging, pushing and dust from wheels spinning, not to mention the flies relentlessly attacking our eyes, getting up your nose and in your mouth, ‘Springhead’ decided he’d go and ask a farmer for help. At that time the rapport between some farmers and surfers wasn’t too good.  Well, after waiting for an hour or so with the sun slowly setting in the west and the boys getting more agitated by the minute we heard and saw the cavalry – ‘Springhead’ in the distance driving a tractor coming to retrieve his beloved EH before it was sacrificed to Huey.

Photo: 1975 Craig Blume and NW surf pioneer Craig Howe with their Cordingley surfboards at City Beach. Craig Blume pic.

Brian Bell (Dunsborough) – I remember turning off the gravel on Cullen Road and heading into the bend at the top the hill that leads into those huge ruts and black sand that became hot as hell in summer!

Photo: 1970s unidentified surfers recuperating after successfully negotiating a sandy section of the Gallows track. Ric Chan pic.

Mark Hills (Quindalup) – In ’81 I nearly drowned in a Surfside Board Club competition at Gallows. I was on the inside and my Pipelines leg rope got caught around a rock. I couldn’t release it. It was only 3ft deep, but I was held under water in the swells and couldn’t make it to the surface for a breath.

Photo: 1980s young Mark Hills. Hills family pic.

Theo Mathews (Margaret River) – The following photo was taken by Ashley Jones around 1977 of yours truly on a 5’3″ modified foamy (stringer, fins and leg rope) at Gallows. The board was shaped by Chris Reynolds and finished by Ashley with acrylic house paint that lasted for years. They conceived the idea for small shore-break surf but ironically we rode fair size waves with late take-offs, including Margs main break, Injidup carpark, South Point, Uluwatu in Bali etc.

Photo: 1977 Theo Mathews surfing on modified foamie at Gallows. Ash Jones pic.

Black dirt, bush flies, waves and fun times at Gallows…….