Rotto fashion parades ***Updated 2 August 2017***

Update 02 August 2017 – see Dave Aylett comments below.

Peter Docherty’s comment on Jeff Dalziel on SDS Facebook reminded me of the weekend we lost a great guy. A hero, who wasn’t wanting anything but to save the lives of some thoughtless, reckless surf club individuals who were warned but chose to scoff the advice of men who knew the peril.

These are my recollections of Jeff Dalziel (18) of Mosman Park drowning at Yallingup in 1962.

The weekend began with fun and great surf. Caves house bar was really rocking and spirits couldn’t be higher. From memory Glen Smith took off in his M.K.1 Ford Zephyr with George Godard and Vick Francis to have a look at the surf. It was really getting impressive. Returning from the beach up the ghost trail Glen got sideways a number of times and flipped. I think it was George or Vick who were in the back seat and while trying to untangle themselves from the upturned car heard an elderly couple who had taken cover from the gravel spraying Ford, casually walked past and said “I thought that would happen.” George and Vick walked the rest of the way to the bar and we all heard what happened PLUS the surf was humongous. I think it was Graham Booth and Rob Birch went to see what they could do for Glen with his upturned Zephyr. Returning to the bar to buy a drink for Glen, just to steady his nerves, they told us Yallingup was unrideable and we might as well head home. We all wanted to help Glen with his sorry Zephyr and decided to tow it with dad’s Holden panel van to Perth and the yard at the back of Ozone Hotel. We then had a number of night caps before repose. At dawn we were woken with the smell of salt in the air and the thunder of BIG SURF. Off we went to hook up Glens Zephyr.  Entering the beach car park was a squeeze. It was packed with sightseers. The Surf was thunderous. We all knew it was suicide. The rip going out of the lagoon was bucking like a rapid. Some clown even asked me if he could borrow my board.

Ok back to Glen’s Zephyr. By the time I got there the boys had got it on its wheels. We hooked up with some very dodgy rope. Five of us in the Holden van towing a very sad Zephyr with no windshield , crushed roof and streaked with oil and sand. It was decided the better man for the job of driving the Zephyr was Graham Booth and Glen rode shotgun. Slowly we proceeded until we entered some downhill runs then Graham looked like he was wanting to pass me. He was running out of breaks. Being upturned caused the Zephyr’s brake fluid to escape and Graham was madly pumping to get a response. Somewhere on the way to Perth we bought some fluid and Graham found some feeble excuse for brakes. The scariest part of the journey was when a cement mixer truck in the causeway roundabout tried to get between our tow-er and the tow-ee. While uncoupling the Zephyr from the Holden the scary news of Yallingup was heard. We all raced home and on the spur of the moment decided to drive back to Yallingup. Dad and mum understood how we felt and dad said we could have his big Chev. Thanks dad. Next morning at daybreak we searched the cliffs but no sign of Jeff Dalziel our mate. Yallingup was a very sad place to be that night and beyond. Even harder to bear when Jeff’s body was found. The full heroic story at Mosman Park’s Three Boy Park.

Davo Aylett

Images: 1962 media coverage of Jeff Dalziel’s drowning at Yallingup courtesy of Cliff Hills.


A group of young Cottesloe surfers ventured to Rottnest Island for the Australia Day weekend in 1962. A weekend of surfing merriment away from parents was on the menu.

Davo Aylett’s recollection of the ’62 boy’s weekend at Rotto.

From memory there was Ron Allen, Len Dibben, Jeff Dalziel, Harold Gregory, Robby Birch, Brian Webster and me. Hope I haven’t left anybody out!

Well, as young blokes visiting the island, some for the first time, spirits very were high.

Disembarking the Islander ferry we just threw our stuff on the beach and headed straight for the legendary Quokka Arms and the day progressed from there. Bear in mind the drinking age was twenty one. After some time drinking jugs of Liquid Amber in the sunlight it was announced that soon there was going to be a fashion parade. Well we took our positions to get the best viewing. Well it started out with a bevy of beauties and the crowd responded accordingly, UNTIL, out strode proud as punch, our surfing mate Len Dibben. He appeared made up like something out of the Gidget goes Hawaiian movie, topped off with a straw pork pie hat. I think it was Harold who made that famous quote “OO BRUNG IM!!”

Night fell and we had organised nothing. Staggering to the beach we just flopped on the sand and crawled into our sleeping bags alongside our surf boards. A row of inebriated bodies. We were all fast asleep when suddenly there were voices and a blinding light. One of my mates responded with “BUGGER OFF WILL YA!” Slowly coming to our senses it must have dawned on us all at once. It was Sergeant Plod, the Islands constabulary. We were in deep and it was impossible to run in a sleeping bag. Starting from the nearest to the jetty the most noble, honorary, sir, started with a full-blown interrogation with a side kick writing everything down. “Now, what’s your name?” and “Where do you live?” and finally “how old are you?” Of course the answer to the last question, the officer repeated the age in a loud and astonished voice “17 ” and “19” and “18” and so on until he reached the end of the line. Poor Harold was the last to be interrogated. After giving the under-age answer and with a kick and a clank of bottles the Sergeant asked. “And what do you have at the bottom of your sleeping bag?” With that, all our reserve supply was confiscated and with a stern warning that if we spend another night on the beach, we will suffer the consequences.

After a slow recovery from the night time of terror, we became organised and civilised very quickly. Acting MOST adult from then on, we surfed the Transit Reef and took the Islander ferry back home.

Photo: 1962 Cottesloe surf mates at Rottnest on Australia Day weekend. Len Dibben pic.

L-R Brian Webster, Len Dibben (crouching on surfboard), Graeme Booth, Rick Skelton, Jeff Dalziel, Ron Allen, Bob Birch, Harold Gregory, in front unidentified girl with Dave Aylett.

Len Dibben’s recollections of the same ’62 weekend.

Len DibbenI was on a Modelling assignment for Walsh’s Menswear store and some of my Cottesloe surfing mates were able to come over. I was flown over for the Gig and put up at a Chalet. The boys came over on the Islander on Saturday and moved in. As I remember, the swell was up all weekend and we surfed Transits. On the Sat night, the guys had a lot to drink and were doing Belly Bumps at the Quokka Arms.

Some of us were offered a passage back on a private launch. We tied our nine 9ft plus boards onto the roof of the cabin and set sail, but when we hit the open sea we discovered they were not tied on properly. So a few of us had to get up on the roof and do the job properly with waves breaking over the bow. As I remember, it was bloody dangerous!

Back in the day we would all meet at the Jeff Dalziel’s place in Mosman Park, I think on a Wednesday or Thursday night to watch the Wrestling on TV. Great days. We all played Rugby as well for Cottesloe.

Photo: 1972 Len Dibben fashion photo-shoot at Injidup. Ric Chan pic.

Tom Blaxell’s 2017 Rotto Fashion Parade

Miss West Coast beauty pageants were held on metro beaches from 1967-85.

In 2016 the pageant was revived as the local precursor to the Miss Universe Australia competition. The West Coast beauty contest is now held at Hotel Rottnest. Hotel Rottnest has been reborn out of the renowned Quokka Arms Hotel.

Photo: 2017 Tom Blaxell (with thumbs up bottom right) enjoying himself at the Miss West Coast beauty contest held at Rotto. Tom Blaxell pic.


Fun times at Rotto.





1959 my first job, surfboard & car by Dave Aylett

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.”


Davo Aylett



1963 Dave Aylett and The Times music video

In the 1960s Cottesloe surfer Dave ‘Davo’ Aylett was a talented singer/songwriter in Perth’s fledgling music industry.

Photo: 1960s Davo (right) surfing Isolated reef near Cottesloe. Davo pic.

Davo AylettIn the early 60s I was being schooled by music producer Martin Clark. He wanted me to write stuff and had an influencing effect that may have been not so cool. The Times were going to be my backing group in U.K. Not all my ideas. I think Martin thought of himself as another Brian Epstein.

In late 1963 I made a music video on 16 mm film as a promo for Martin Clark. It features Perth band The Times backing me with one of my very ordinary, but I think funny acts.

I wrote the lyrics, music and did the arrangement. The song was called Settle Down. The clip was a very raw primitive version that was produced in one sitting.

Click on this video link to view the music clip (run time 1:52 min).


Musicians Left to right: Terry Walker (guitar), me (singing), Jim Sheridan (drums) and right Tony Tyler.

I like the old fashioned count down in the beginning, the out of sync miming and Tony Tyler’s enthusiasm.

While we were performing the demo both Martin Clark and some recording expert were in the control room. They were dancing around and encouraging us to dance and smile.

I was used to having my guitar when I performed, but I was advised to just sing and make some movements with my hands. This clearly didn’t work for me. I didn’t like the label of lead singer. I wanted to be part of a group. Hence the Young Blaydes.

Tony stole the show. He was so into doing exactly as he was being told. He was a sweet little guy, happy all the time and wanting to please everybody. He did have a great voice. He sang a lot of Elvis songs really well. Terry Walker was an excellent musician. I was told he went to NSW and became a session musician doing advertisements and stuff. I’m not sure what happened to drummer Jim Sheridan.

After The Times left for England I made changes to fine tune the lyrics.

Lyrics, music and arrangement was my specialty. I fine-tuned the lyrics and arrangement of that song after the clip was done. The lyrics were changed to “You will have to change your ways, or pack your bags and be on your ways. Cause l’m not the type of guy to run after you. I’ll settle down if you do too.” There were other changes to that song.

Nothing came of it all when The Times returned to Australia after getting as far as I am told South Africa.

Young Blaydes band

Later in the 60s Davo become a vocalist in The Young Blaydes band.

Image: 1960s Young Blaydes performing at the Top of the Town night club in Perth. Music magazine image courtesy of Davo.

Images: 1960s Young Blaydes memorabilia courtesy of Davo.

Click on Young Blaydes band to view more information on Davo and the band.




1960s Cottesloe Beach – A trip down memory Lane

Former Cottesloe surfers Michael Bibby, Tina Wilson (nee Daly), Jeanne D’Arcy (nee Abbott), Dave Aylett, Dave Simmons and WA Surf Industry legend Len Dibben have recorded their memories of beach life at Cottesloe Beach in the 60s.

Cottesloe beach front by Michael Bibby (with assistance from Kim ‘Dish’ Standish)

The Cottesloe beach front was dominated in the 60’s by the Hotel Cottesloe on the northern corner of Marine Parade and John St and the Hostel Manly on the Southern side.

The pub and its beer garden were the main attraction in the evenings and days when there was no surf. On Fridays it was the meeting place for those lucky enough to be going down south for the weekend. Darts were the favourite pastime for many of the crew with Mark Paterson and Arty Shaw being the main hustlers. The younger guys were also competitive with Hume Heatley, Mike Bibby, Don McDonald being in the A team. The boys were busted when a photo of Mike Bibby winning a State schoolboys comp appeared in the West. As the drinking age was then 21, they then had to rely on the older guys like Terry James and Rob Birch to buy beers.

Image: 1995 Hotel Cottesloe. The Hotel Cottesloe opened its doors in 1905.Originally a wooden building on the corner of John Street and Marine Parade it was designed by C L Oldham. In 1937 it was remodelled in the Art Deco style. Courtesy of The Grove Library image number CPM00990.


The Hostel Manly was a 2 story 40 bedroom 3 bathroom “guest house”. On the street level of Hostel Manly the Tearooms were called Norms after the owner. What went on upstairs is better left to the imagination. It was very run down and was finally demolished in 1971.

On the ocean side of Marine Parade there was the Centenary Bathing Pavilion that is now the Indiana Tearooms. That building contained the Seacrest Restaurant, Steak Cave, Mario’s fish and chip shop and the Cottesloe Surf Lifesaving Club.

In the late 60’s Cottesloe surfer Joe Wilson ran the WIPEOUT nightclub there (see Tina Wilson’s recollections below). Next to that building, the crew would sit on the lawns when not in the water, trying to impress the chicks and eating Mario’s chips.

Next to the Hostel Manly was the Lido dance hall. After it closed down, it was later owned by Cottesloe surfers Alan and John MacGilvray.

Image: c 1965 Centenary Bathing Pavilion before its demolition in 1982. Hostel Manly can still be seen in the background before it was demolished in 1971. Courtesy of The Grove Library image number CPM01960.


There were 4 surf breaks at Cottesloe with winter being the best.  Depending on the sand banks the wave at the end of the groyne was by far the best being a long (for the city) left, then there was a reef between the groyne and the pylon, another at the pylon and then Slimey’s reef break.  All would end in a dumping shore-break which ripped out a number of fixed fins. As they were glassed in, the damage to the boards was often serious.

Sometime in the mid 60’s surfboards were banned in summer from the main beach due to conflict (and injuries) to swimmers, Despite the ban a few would risk their boards being impounded by the beach inspector just to get a couple of good waves.  It was fine if you didn’t fall off as the beach inspector would only grab the boards when they washed in. If leg ropes had been around in those days things would have been very different! The reef breaks to the south of Cottesloe (Cove, Isolated, Dutch Inn and Cable Station) then became popular.

For more historic images of Cottesloe beach & buildings click on The Grove Library.

WIPEOUT Nightclub by Tina Wilson

My husband Joe Wilson was approached by the Camp Association to see if they could hire the venue once a month on a Wednesday night. Joe approached the owner who was a very respectful gentleman, can’t think of his name at present, but he said that was great. Thinking it was the Boy Scouts. They all got a shock when it was the gay association. The people who ran the Camp Association were the nicest people you could ever wish to meet. They turned up in suits and were so respectful, etc. In those days the early 1970’s gay people were not really acknowledged. The Wednesday nights turned out a great success and the most alcohol ever consumed in the club. Therefore a very big money earner. They had a stripper called Jason who needed someone like me to talk to, as he would get very nervous before performing. Because his tiny weeny leather outfit was so precious to him, he asked me to stand in the front, so he could throw it to me as he knew I would return it to him.

The club was very popular with the SAS guys as it was close to Swanbourne army barracks. One of the bouncers Rick, was an ex Golden Gloves boxing champion and he loved a fight. But then Rick did a total turnabout from being an enthusiastic bouncer and turned to religion. Rick ended up trying to convert everyone and would come up to Jurien Bay and baptise us in the ocean, until it all got too much and Joe had to have a word to him. Unfortunately Rick died in the Philippines doing mission work. I could tell you so many stories, but they may not go down too well. Outrageous days for us all.

Photos: 1964 Joe Wilson with Smokey the dog and his two door Austin A30 sedan at the Cove Cottesloe. Photo courtesy of Arthur Sherburn.


Photo: 1964 A collection of Cottesloe and City Beach girls in the Cottesloe Beach car park. Bert Moriarty pic.

L-R Nola Smith, Glenda Higgs, Stef Meyer, Tina Daly, Jeanne Abbott, Andrea Spence, Sue-Ellen Anderson (in front), Deanne Smith and Gail Spence.

Glenda Higgs was killed in a car accident in Cambridge Street a short time after this photo was taken. The ‘City Beach girls’ in fact all came from Floreat including sisters Nola and Deanne Smith. Andrea & Gail Spence are also sisters.


Cottesloe beach girls by Jeanne Abbott

In the 60’s my cousin Tina Daly, Stef Meyer and myself and some other girls lived and surfed at Cottesloe.

We managed to save our money and ordered our own custom built surfboards from Colin and Rex Cordingley who lived in Stirling Highway, Mosman Park. Their father was a boat builder and the boys made surfboards. The boards were 9’2” with one stringer and one fin. The cost of these boards was approximately £35.

The original long boards were quite heavy and we used to carry them on our hips from Tina’s house in Cottesloe to all the beaches along the coast within walking distance. Sometimes the guys used to give us lifts and we used to put in for petrol.

Photo: 1963 Cottesloe beach girls L-R Tina Daly, Jeanne Abbott & Stef Meyer. Courtesy of WA Newspapers.1963-cottesloe-tina-daly-jeanne-abbott-stef-meyer-wa-newspaper-pic-img_001

It took a very long time before the local guys would have anything to do with us, as girls were not really accepted as they are now, but because Cottesloe was our home base, they finally came good and we became good friends especially in the winter months as we surfed all year round, come rain or shine.

When I was old enough to get my licence, my father purchased a Morris Minor convertible and this made our lives a lot easier to get around to any beach we wanted.

One day a beach inspector from Cottesloe came up to me and ordered me off the beach because I had bikinis on, I was shocked because they were cute little pink and white bikinis and he told me to put a t-shirt on and cover up as he said I looked indecent.  A far cry from the bikinis of today.

Norms Tearooms were directly across the road from the Cottesloe pavilion. He made the best pasties and hot chocolate drinks and we used to work & hang out there after many hours surfing.

We were lucky in those days as drugs had not hit our scene and our lives were content with surfing and attending the Swanbourne Stomp each Saturday night.

Photos: 1960s Cottesloe beach scenes. Photos courtesy of Tina Wilson (nee Daly).

Left: 1963 Stef Meyer and Tina Daly (age 15) eating our chips and coke from Mario’s around our fire at The Cove. Stef’s board, Karl Schumacher & others Cottesloe lads are in the background.

Right: 1965 Jeanne Abbott and Tina Daly (age 17) outside Tina’s parents’ house at Cottesloe getting ready to hit the surf.


Surfing Cottesloe in the early days by Len Dibben

When I first started surfing in the late 50’s & through the 60’s even into the 80’s & 90’s Cable Station reef used to break really good, a great right hander. What stopped that break from working was the building of Cottesloe Groyne, Dutch Inn Groyne, Sand Tracks, the lengthening of the North Mole, City Beach groyne & Floreat groyne, just to name a few.

Those were the days when North Mole was a secret spot. Also before the Cottesloe groyne was built in 1959, there was no surf to speak of at Isolated, Seconds or Cove. We surfed Cottesloe beach at the Dummy (formerly the Loom), the Bell (also known as the Pylon) & Slimys reef, Dutch Inn (pre Groyne) & Cable station in the winter.

The beach at Dutch inn was quite wide as local fishermen used to leave their wooden clinker boats on the sand all year round and we guys at Cottesloe used them as a wind breaks when we came in from a surf. In a south west wind we would build a fire to warm ourselves in between surfs.

There were no wet suits, maybe footy jumpers & our swim costumes. Surfers back then were Terry James, Bob Birch, Gary Birch, Cliff Hills, Ron Allen, Jeff Dalziel & Kerry Davies. There were about 10 – 15 of us that were regulars at all these breaks. I was the only guy not from Cottesloe, I was from Beaconsfield.

Click on this link to view Len’s web site

Photo: 1968-9 Len Dibben’s surf shop on the side of former church North Freo. Len Dibben pic.

Just a wavering, stagger home by Dave Aylett

I lived just down the road from the Cottesloe Hotel. Just a wavering, stagger home. Summer and no swell would see the BOYS playing darts and hanging over the pubs balcony wall, offering ourselves to anything in a bikini.

Image: 1995 Hotel Cottesloe on Marine Parade. Courtesy of The Grove Library image number CPM00991.

One day, returning home after dragging myself up the stairwell steps, I negotiated my path to what I thought was my front door. BLOODY KEY wouldn’t fit would it! I gave up trying and gave the door a bit of a bang. The door opened and I tripped in over the threshold and was confronted by Mrs. Young senior. Peter Young’s mother. She was in the WRONG place! She supposed to be down stairs. OOPS! I may have taken a wrong turn somewhere. “VERY SORRY” about turn and hearing MY FATHER’S voice loudly saying “DAVID COME UP HERE!!!”

After finally finding home dad dragged me in behind closed door and said “It’s useless talking to you now, l think we’ll leave it till tomorrow“. Then with dad’s help I made it to my room.

Next thing I know is my rooms ceiling and light fitting are rocking and I had a sudden urge to throw up. Real lucky my windows fly screen had been removed. Must have been something I ate. Boy did I let loose. Next thing I hear are voices. Dad once again interrupts me trying to get some sleep. “DAVID! Were you just sick out your window?” I said “No….l don’t think so”.

In the morning things were very quiet and tense. It was just TOO MUCH for dad not to say anything and I got a lecture on drinking too much and how I had disturbed Mrs Young, who really was a lovely elegant lady and Mrs Commley the tenant of the dress shop ground floor who accused me of spewing on her.

After all that SURF’S UP, I’m GONE. Ain’t life grand?

Isolated & the Cove by Dave Simmons

I remember Isolated and the long row of cars parked along the wall. I swear there were great waves all the time in those days. And one morning while I walked out over the reef at Isolated a friendly voice asked me if I’d like to join Southern Surfriders….it was Arty Sherburn.

Photo: 1967 Dave Simmons and Giles Geiger at Dave’s place at Cottesloe. Dave Simmons pic.


I had some beautiful sessions with one of the Callaghan brothers at the Cove, he was only very young then, but what a great surfer. Every time we went out, the sun was shining with beautiful light off shore breezes. And the Cove used to peak right over on the inside. I remember seeing the City Beach guys going out at the Cove lots of times.

One afternoon at the Cove, it was a beautiful day with great waves, my sister Liz actually swam out to me where everyone was taking off. So funny, she nearly got dumped. It was actually a fair size that day.

And Jeff St John and Copperwine were playing at the Cott Surf Club. They were just so good!!  When I heard them that night, I couldn’t believe it. From memory, I think Rob Gardiner from West Coast Surfboards (I rode WC boards heaps in those days) used to know Jeff St. John.

I also remember watching Ian Mitchell surf really well on a twin fin at Cottesloe Main Beach on a glassy winter’s afternoon.





1964 East Coast road trip with Rex Cordingley by Dave Aylett

In the 60s Dave ‘Davo’ Aylett was a Cottesloe surfer and lead singer in popular Perth band The Young Blaydes.

In ’64 he drove over east with Rex Cordingley (from Cordingley Surfboards) to see the first World Surfboard Titles held at Manly Beach in NSW.

This is Davo’s ‘blow by blow’ story of the road trip:-

It was 52 years ago. Wow! Mid May 1964 the 1st World Surfboard Titles – Manly Beach.

I think it was about April when Rex Cordingley said he was going to Sydney for the first world surfing championship. To help with driving and travel costs Rex asked me if I’d like to go east. I jumped at the chance and so did Peter Utting. About that time Australia was all the way with L.B.J. and I was lucky enough to dodge the draft. I was born on the 20th of April and my marble wasn’t drawn for conscription. The departure day came fast. Hardly enough time to last minute pack. Mum cooked a real big tin of sausages and we had a bottle of tomato sauce.

Image: 1960s Davo and the Young Blaydes Band playing at Top of The Town night spot in Perth. Image courtesy of Dave Aylett.

From the left Mike Byrom (drums), Dave Aylett (guitar), Greg Wynne (bass) and Terry Malone (guitar). All took turns at lead vocal backed by 3 part harmony.


First stop Kalgoorlie. So far so good. Hitting the road again in the shops runabout, a pale blue FC Holden panel van, I think we had 6 brand new surfboards on the roof. We had a black top smooth road to Norseman then the nightmare begun. The road was truck wheel rutted and slippery with the occasional hole, so deep they were marked with 6 inch tree branches. Wandering livestock on surprise road crossings became common, punctuated by Kamikaze roos and emus. All of which we avoided. One night it was so cold. We wrapped ourselves with anything we could find including beach towels etc. Luckily I packed a pair of gloves and they were exclusively the drivers. You see the Holden didn’t come with a heater or demister, so in order to see through the windscreen, the outside air vent had to be fully open full blast on the driver’s feet. It started to rain. Well those bloody windshield wipers were vacuum operated. The only time they would work was on deceleration.

Photo: 1970 Yallingup. Rex Cordingley presenting award to State Surfing Champion Tony Hardy. & Bill Oddy on the right & Colin Cordingley obscured by Tony. Ric Chan pic.


Most of the time we spent sideways rocketing through red mud. I was trying to warm up and get some sleep in the back after a stint of driving when I was woken with Peter at the wheel screaming. Poor Peter had gotten himself into a tank slapper and was over correcting and out of control. I was being thrown from one side of the van to the other, Rex had woken and was making a grab for the wheel to settle the slide and then with an up-heaving thump everything went black. I woke with a real sore head. I had cracked my scone on the inside tray bar behind the bench seat. There was a real weird sound of a scratching grind punctuated by Rex screaming f..k, f..k, f..k. We had slammed into a mound of dirt and we were some way from the road. I climbed out and Rex informed me I was bleeding. My head hurt like hell, but I was amused that the weird sound of the scratching grind came from the windshield rocking on the bonnet. Rex had a look at my head and said it was a minor wound and we all got back inside the van, slept and waited for dawn so we could survey what damage there was. When we woke we found that the roof rack had broken and the boards were in the bush in front of the van. We also found the battery had shattered, the shock absorbers had broken through their mounts and the bumper was history.

We were looking pretty stuck when through the dirt came another Holden limping on three tyres and one rim. He stopped and asked us for some help. Rex said sure we can help each other. We gave this guy our spare wheel and he towed us onto the track. We put the surfboards and windshield in the back of the van with the tailgate down. We tried towing our panel van behind his car, but the tow rope was useless on that rough road so we decided to push start our van. No good by hand, so we put the tailgate up with the rear window up, three of us in the front seat and our rescuer crunched us up to a speed fast enough for Rex to drop the clutch and away we went, our rescuers smashed headlights and our smashed tail lights. No wind shield, rotten road with occasional road train filling everything with dust, only one pair of sunglasses exclusive for the driver, unable to drop below a certain speed because of our broken battery, we were now three very sore, squeezed in, humourless surfers. I can’t remember where we went for repairs. Where ever it was it cost a bundle and the repairs were minimal and dodgy.

From that time on, poor Peter was banned from any driving. Secretly I think he was relieved. Well that Holden had seen better days and it handled like a bowl of soup. Rex and I wrestled our way to Melbourne. Rex and his brother Colin had designed a training yacht for Sandringham Yacht Club and the officials were prepared and waiting for our arrival. Wow! The club sure laid it on for us.

The Sandringham Yacht Club was amazing. Especially to 3 young blokes from little old Perth. Open 24 hours a day, pokies, great music, strippers the lot! It was like we were discovering a new planet. A number of club members and officials were involved in the motor industry so they took our beaten up old wreck and gave us a loaner car. It doesn’t get any better than that! We stayed at a club member’s house. Rex seemed like some sort of God like hero and Peter and I were just going along for the ride. We stayed there for about a week. That put us behind schedule, but it was worth it. The old wreck we rolled up in was transformed. Amazing! Rex couldn’t get the smile off his face.

Then it was a fond farewell and black top all the way to Canberra. Shit cold again! I can’t remember how it happened, but some really nice girls asked us to dinner. One of the girl’s fathers owned squash courts. It had an adjoining gym and we stayed there until about 5am and we were awakened by the cracking sound of a couple of early rise squash players. We loved the warmth, but were up and at em because we were running late by this time. The Blue Mountains or somewhere on the way to Sydney we came across snow. We 3 had never seen snow before. One of us had a plastic rain coat and we took turns in skidding down a slope with the raincoat pulled up between our legs. It didn’t work real well, but we had fun. Coming down to Sydney was real scary. The trucks and the speed they got up to, made us look for escape routes to turn off to allow the big rigs to pass. Both Rex and I quickly adapted to the quick pace and once we got used to it, it became fun. After getting lost a number of times we found our digs. Tasman Street Dee why. I don’t know how many West Ozzie’s lived there, but I remember Cliff Hills, Jimmy Lick, Keith Campbell and some more I can’t remember. God it was great. Party all night, surf all day. We would start off at the Manly Pacific Canopus room and drink that horrible Coopers. When that closed, we would hit Kings Cross. I remember a big swim through joint and a guy called Billy Thorpe hammering out ‘Poison Ivey’ at a volume that went right through you. What a BLAST! Then there were the girls. Wow!

Photos: 1964-65 East Coast trip. Photos courtesy of Cliff Hills, Jim Lik & Keith Campbell.

Top:  (Left) 1966 NSW Cliff Hills (standing) & friends with Goggomobile. (Right top) 1965 Cliff Hills with Falcon ute on the Nullabour (Right middle) 1964 NSW Brookvale James ‘Lik’ MacKenzie (18) working with Scott Dillion at Scott Dillion Surfboards.

Bottom: (Left) 1965 Keith Campbell with Mini Minor & surfboards on the Nullabour. (Middle) 1964 NSW Keith Campbell surfing Ovoca Beach. (Right) 1965 NSW beach girls.


During those times speaking to the locals, there was some pub talk about this kid tearing up the race tracks. From all the talk this kid without a road licence was knocking off the established veterans. This kid drove a homemade Austin A30 with a Holden motor in it. Now I wonder who that was!

The standard of surfing was miles ahead of Western Australian skills. Cliff Hills loaned me his board when he went off to work under the proviso I took off deeper in the box seat than anybody. It was like some kind of war.

I made friends with a pack of locals. They were known as the Dee Why Gremmies. The leaders of this feral crowd drove a black Twin Spinner Ford with straight through side exhaust pipes. Christ it was loud! One day I went with them to Narrabeen for a surf. On the way the driver (I can’t remember his name) said he was running low on fuel and with that we stopped behind a parked Nash Rambler. With a Jerry can and hose from our boot, two of them proceeded to milk the Nash in broad daylight. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Cool as can be, still parked behind the Nash we had just milked, they drained the Jerry Can into the Twin Spinner Ford. I was doing a good job hiding my fear of getting caught and winding up in jail. Dad would have killed me! One of the guys in the back seat with me bragged that they had never paid for fuel and never got caught. Shortly after that I did my best to find new friends.

We went to the World Surf Championships and found out there was a big gang of Bodgies on one of the ferries due to arrive at Manly with intent of bashing up the surfies. I don’t know why! Maybe it was their way of having fun. The police boarded the ferry and returned the ferry to its home port. It was in the newspaper and everything. WILD! There was just so many people there, it was hard to get a vantage point but I did see some of the preliminary’s and was in the crowd for the Final. I know I got left behind from the group I went with and ended up walking home. That was miles! The surf at Manly was small, but well-shaped and the contestants really ripped it up. Midget was a clear winner! A master of the long board.

Images: 1964 First World Surfboard Titles memorabilia.

Left: World Titles program cover. Right: Admission ticket & World Surfboard Titles sticker.


Photos: 1964 First World Surfboard Titles surfers.

Left: Open winner & first World champ Bernard ‘Midget’ Farrelly

Right top: Midget’s famous ‘cuttie’ courtesy of Keith Campbell. Bottom right: WA competitors review ex Titles Program.


Most of the guys had work in NSW and I seriously thought of applying for a job driving a Snow Queen ice-cream van. When I phoned dad for some more money I happened to mention that I might get a job there. He didn’t think it was a good idea and persuaded me to return with Rex once the championships were complete. So we three began the journey home with No surfboards, (all sold) no roof rack, car running sweet. We decided to take our time but set a cracking pace thanks to the improved handling of the Holden and our Sydney style of driving. We decided to visit surf spots on the way home. How many times did we say? “Wish we had our boards with us!” The Great Ocean Road was wonderful. The tracks to the surf spots were far from easy and we couldn’t believe the shape and size of the waves, and why the hell nobody was riding them.

Adelaide was uneventful until Rex from somewhere produced a point 22 rifle. Boy what fun! First we had target practice with tin cans, bottles and stuff then Rex expressed his dislike of crows. He may have been waken while in the middle of a memorable dream by the ark, ark, ark of those black annoying and allusive birds. He raised the gun at the rowdiest taunter and was amazed that as soon as he pointed the gun at it, it casually took flight. He took a shot anyway. Shortly after that he raised the gun to another and once again the bird casually took flight. Damn annoying! You could hold a stick of wood and point it as though it were a rifle and the crow would just sit there and ark, ark away, but as soon as the rifle was levelled at them, once again they would casually take flight. It became a competition between us to see who would be the first to taste blood. The quest continued until the last round was fired and we gave up. Crows Victorious!

Hell, once again we faced the Nullarbor and the weather soured and the road in places was slicker than whale snot. The grader this time had preceded us and although smooth it was treacherous. In places it was easier to let the panel van drive itself and follow in the tracks of the mound the grader made on the side of the road. The speedo would be reading 50mph and due to wheel spin our actual speed was down to about 30mph. The mudguards filled and the once light blue paint of the Holden became a rust red. The windshield wipers battled to their limit and left just enough for us to see a path. Then it was almost magical. The rain stopped at the same time we hit the beautiful bitumen. Black and smooth. We all said we could kiss it.

God it was so good to be home!