South West Marine Life images by Ian Wiese – Series #4 Sea Birds

While photographing dolphins, whales, sharks and surfers I often see sea birds and photograph them. My knowledge of sea birds is fairly rudimentary, but I am slowly learning.

In order to increase the SDS web site hit rate I will start with some images which also have sharks in them! Recently I witnessed a massive migration of wedge tailed and flesh footed shearwaters past Sugarloaf Rocks with up to 1,500 shearwaters an hour passing heading south. On one day there were large schools of baitfish, and these attracted the shearwaters, together with albatrosses, gannets, crested terns, silver gulls and whaler sharks, probably bronze whalers. They were 1.5 – 2km out to sea so the quality is not great.

Image #1. Shearwaters and other sea birds feeding on bait fish.

The black birds are shearwaters (wedgetailed and fleshfooted), the white birds on the water with dark wings are a mixture of black browed and shy albatrosses or if they have a yellow head they are Australasian Gannets, while there is an Indian yellow nosed albatross and a crested tern flying in this image.

Some years ago I was passing the ibis nesting place near Port Geographe and saw this white bellied sea eagle feeding on an ibis. Watching on were some more ibises and a whistling kite. This is a massive bird nearly as large as a wedge tail eagle.

Image #2. White bellied sea eagle.

After the eagle left the kite moved in to finish the remains, but he was interrupted by an ibis. The two took to the air and an aerial dogfight ensued. The ibis was cumbersome and the kite quickly moved into position above and behind the ibis, who by this time was looking worried.

Image #3. Kite and Ibis in aerial dog fight (Sequence 1).

Ibis #4. Kite and Ibis in aerial dog fight (Sequence 2).

The ibis is about to learn a lesson (and lose some feathers).

Image #5. Osprey with fish (1).

Image #6. Osprey with fish (2).

Image #7. Osprey with fish (3).

One of the more common birds on our coast is the Australasian Gannet. These young birds are brown but the mature adults are mostly white with dark bands on the wings (twitchers will shudder at that description!). When they dive like this they can hit the water at 100km/hr.

Images #8. Australasian Gannets.

When there are strong winds albatrosses, giant petrels and shearwaters will appear riding the winds. The albatrosses and petrels in particular glide over the water never needing to flap their wings. They bank and wheel and are almost always close to the water. Usually they are a fair distance out, but occasionally one will come close to shore.

Here is a giant petrel at Pt Picquet. They are the scavengers of the ocean.

Image #9. Giant petrel.

This is an Indian yellow nosed albatross at Pt Picquet.

Image # 10. Indian yellow nosed albatross.

This is an artic skua at Pt Picquet (dark bird). They chase and harass other birds (such as the crested tern in this photo) and get them to drop their catch.

Image # 11. Artic skua.

Nankeen Kestrels are often seen along the coast. They are a resident species. This one was at Kilcarnup.

Image # 12. Nankeen Kestrel.

Finally there are the moths. This one is a Tiger Moth

Image # 13. Vintage Tiger Moth.

Keen SW surfer Steve Millington runs Tiger Moth adventure flights from Busselton Airfield.

Click on this link to view or purchase Ian’s prints Ian Wiese’s Photography blog.

Click on these links to view Ian’s South West Marine Life images:-

South West Marine life images by Ian Wiese – Series #1 Dolphins

South West Marine life images by Ian Wiese – Series #2 Sharks and other predators

South West Marine life images by Ian Wiese – Series #3 Whales



South West Marine life images by Ian Wiese – Series #3 Whales

As a child and teenager I spent a lot of time at Pt Picquet fishing with my father, especially over the winter period. Despite spending many hours looking out to sea I never saw any whales and I never met anyone who had. I now know that most species were almost totally wiped out with the numbers of survivors often down to a few hundred. Today some species such as the humpbacks have made a spectacular recovery and at the height of the whale watching season we can see over 10 pods an hour passing Pt Picquet. Officially there are 35,000 humpbacks migrating up and down the West Australian coast and the numbers are growing at 7% per annum. However this is the number that has been quoted for something like 10 years simply because there hasn’t been a more recent comprehensive survey. Other species such as the Southern Right Whales and Blue Whales are still endangered

Southern Right Whales

The Southern Right Whales (SRW) are my favourites primarily because they mostly migrate to the Great Australian Bight and as the numbers increase we see a few (probably less than 50) each year in Geographe Bay. They are critically endangered and there are believed to be less than 10,000 worldwide. They are rarely seen north of Rottnest. The mothers and calves are here to look after the calf and fatten it up for the return to Antarctic waters over summer. Left undisturbed they will remain in a bay for lengthy periods (often weeks). The males have other things on their minds, and are well equipped to carry out these activities (google Southern Right Whale penis to see what I mean!).  The mothers are extremely sensitive to disturbances eg from boats, SUPs, or even paddlers. The calves are curious and will often approach boats, but the mother will usually round up the calf and then they leave the area.

Image #1 Southern Right Whale barnacles

This image shows the white “barnacles” that all SRW’s have. These are leathery patches of skin called callosities which is Latin for beauty spot! These callosities remain for life and are used by researchers to identify individual whales.

Over the years I have been fortunate on two occasions to photograph a rare white SRW calf in Geographe Bay. These are not albinos as they are not completely white. There are probably 3-4 born each year worldwide.

Image #2 rare white Southern Right Whale calf.

This image was taken in October 2013 at Castle Rock.

Image #3 rare white Southern Right Whale calf.

This image was taken in October 2016 at Rocky Point. The calf had been sighted several months earlier at Augusta and named “Pearl”.

As the calf grows older the creamy coloured areas will turn a dark grey.

The earliest I have seen a SRW was at the end of May at Sugarloaf Rock.

Humpback Whales

Humpbacks travel further north in their annual migration. The main calving and breeding grounds are just north of Derby. Around Cape Naturaliste we rarely see humpbacks on their northern migration as they travel out to sea, possibly to avoid the south flowing Leeuwin current. However on the return migration we see large numbers with estimates that approximately 15% of the 35,000 are travelling close enough to the coast to be trapped in Geographe Bay as they travel south.  They then turn west to go around Cape Naturaliste. The majority are small groups with mothers and calves.

Humpbacks are the aerialists of the whale world. We frequently see then breaching, tail slapping, slapping their pectoral fins and putting on displays. These actions seem to be a form of communication eg to enable a calf to find its mother when they are separated. We occasionally see humpbacks wandering aimlessly for a while unsure as to which way to go. One will breach, and soon after a humpback in a nearby pod will give an answering breach, and both pods will them make their way towards Cape Naturaliste. Mothers appear to teach the calves to breach while on their southern voyage. The calves seem to have inexhaustible energy supplies and sometimes breach continuously for hours.

Image #4 Humpback whale breaching

Image #5 Humpback whale breaching.

Image #6 Humpback whale dorsal fin.

Image #7 Humpback whale tail flip.

As the numbers of humpbacks grow we see some extremes of behaviour – for example a small number females give birth south of Augusta each year – perhaps prematurely – who knows! In 2016 two such calves born early got separated from their mothers and washed ashore at Lefthanders in a huge storm. I saw these two little guys try for hours to get out through the massive surf, and they kept getting washed back to the beach. Eventually they got out when the surf quietened down, but their mothers were nowhere to be seen. In that storm all means of communication were useless.

Image #8 the seas at Lefthanders

Image #9 Baby humpback in surf at Lefthanders

The next day I saw two baby humpbacks (with no mothers anywhere around) heading north past Sugarloaf. I like to think the two had joined together and were off to find their mothers. It seemed they were heading the right way and I hope they found them.

Blue Whales.

Blue Whales are the largest things that have ever lived. We see them from late September through to early December. They often pass Pt Picquet very close in (<50m) and seeing them close up is amazing. They are believed to be migrating from breeding grounds in Indonesia to somewhere in the Bass Strait.

Image #10 Blue whale

Blue whales are very hard to photograph from the land as they do not rise very far out of the water. All you see is a blue grey cigar shape, often a long way out and moving fast. Drones are the best way to photograph them, but in October 2016 DPAW made it illegal to fly a drone near a whale. This is unfortunate as drones were providing us with the ability to not only photograph them, but also to understand their behaviour. For example this blue whale was a female with her calf swimming under her in her slipstream.

Hamelin Bay beaching.

In March 2009, 80 long finned pilot whales beached themselves at Hamelin Bay. Eventually only about 6-8 were saved. Volunteers spent time in the water pouring water over the mammals in an effort to save them, but had to leave the water as the light faded because of the danger of sharks. These mass stranding’s are still a mystery to scientists.

Image #11 the scene at Hamelin Bay with hundreds of volunteers trying to save the whales.

Image #12 Volunteers assisting a whale.

Image #13 the media reporting the event.

Although this was only 8 years ago, drones were something the US military flew. One photographer had a system which used a kite to carry a camera in the air. It seemed like a good idea at the time! Perhaps we could resurrect the idea to get around DPAW’s rules on flying drones over whales!

Image #14 Photographer using a kite to carry a camera in the air.

2017 Whale Watch Update

The humpbacks have arrived 2-3 weeks earlier than 2016. In August there were approximately 400 humpbacks recorded passing Pt Picquet compared to less than 10 in 2016. Even though the humpbacks were late starting in 2016 they finished at the same time as normal, so they came through in a rush. Let’s hope 2017 is similar.

For the first time a blue whale was sighted at Pt Picquet at the end of August and another sighted from the lighthouse a little bit earlier. This is a major development – previously (only 5 years ago) they came through Geographe Bay in November-December. No one has any idea what is happening, but it is probably related to availability of food (blue whales don’t have a lot of blubber and migrate from food source to food source).

There have been approximately 12 minke whales seen from Pt Picquet so far this year. They are moving fast (no Japanese whalers chasing them!) and are difficult to spot so there may have been a lot more.

There have also been around 20 Southern Right whales seen around the coast. The Southern Rights mostly migrate to the Great Australian Bight, and are critically endangered. As the numbers build up some come around the Cape Leeuwin-Cape Naturaliste corner and attempt to find a nice quiet bay to bring up the new calves. Unfortunately they are usually harassed by boats and leave. (It is mostly the mother calf pairs that seem to be sensitive to boats). So please urge any of your boating friends to give them plenty of room.

Whale watching is good at Pt Picquet where there is usually someone to tell you where to look, and the whales sometimes come very very close. The whale lookout at Cape Naturaliste is also good, but anywhere down the west coast is good. However they will usually be 1-2km+ out.

Image #15 2017 breaching humpback.

Click on this link to view or purchase Ian’s prints Ian Wiese’s Photography blog.

Click on these links to view Ian’s previous Marine Life Images.

South West Marine life images by Ian Wiese – Series #1 Dolphins

 South West Marine life images by Ian Wiese – Series #2 Sharks and other predators

Coming soon South West Marine life images by Ian Wiese – Series #4 Sea Birds



South West Marine life images by Ian Wiese – Series #2 Sharks and other predators

In this post I will attempt to boost the SDS hit rate by including the keyword “Shark”. Over the years I haven’t had much success photographing sharks. They usually swim on the bottom, and as I have since found out are rather shy – at least the bronze whalers are. That’s the good news!

First never believe the story that if you see dolphins there won’t be any sharks around. This is a shot of what is probably a large whaler such as a dusky whale. I’m guessing he is 3-4m long and is swimming with a pod of dolphins. I didn’t notice him until I got home and looked at the photo on my computer.

Image #1 large shark swimming with a pod of dolphins at Sandpatches. Ian Wiese pic.

This year I was using a drone to follow the salmon schools and found I had discovered one way to photograph sharks. Another way is to be on the beach when commercial netting operations are underway. The sharks were following the salmon and the netting operations brought some of them in close to the shore at Smith’s Beach. Often the sharks were so close in they showed in the face of oncoming waves just a few meters out.

Image #2. Shark feeding on salmon close to shore at Smiths Beach. Ian Wiese pic.

Images #3. Shark feeding on salmon close to shore at Smith’s Beach. Ian Wiese pic.

Images #4. Shark feeding on salmon close to shore at Smith’s Beach. Ian Wiese pic.

Images #5. Shark feeding on salmon close to shore at Smith’s Beach. Ian Wiese pic.

About 90% of the sharks I saw following the salmon were bronze whalers, and 10% tiger sharks. The good news is that in all cases where a bronze whaler approached someone, they turned away when around 10m away. They appear to be very shy. The following photo shows a bronze whaler approaching an unsuspecting tourist at Bunker Bay with his 2yo child in his arms. The shark swam out to sea and back again to avoid the tourist.

At Bunker Bay this year there were up to 150-200 fishermen each day catching and releasing salmon, and schools of salmon coming past often every 20 minutes of so. The steady stream of exhausted and injured salmon meant easy prey for sharks and for most of the salmon season we could see with a drone up to 8 sharks at a time in Bunker Bay. If you don’t want to swim with sharks it is best to avoid surfing in the area at this time.

Images #6. Drone image of Bronze Whaler passing tourist with child in the shallows at Bunker Bay. Ian Wiese pic.

The bronze whalers can be quite beautiful – in the sun the brilliant copper colouring stands out. The next image is a bronze whaler in the surf at Wyadup.

Images #7. Bronze Whaler in the shallows at Wyadup. Ian Wiese pic.

Images #8. Bronze Whaler in the shallows at Wyadup. Ian Wiese pic.

The following images are my “Monet” interpretation sharks at Wyadup.

Images #9. Bronze Whaler images at Wyadup. Ian Wiese pic.

The next image shows a salmon fisherman a bit too keen to get his lure out to a school of salmon. There is a bronze whaler on the back of the wave directly under his lure. The shark was probably following the same school.

Image #10 Salmon fisherman vs shark at Wyadup. Ian Wiese pic.

For a change here is a tiger shark, shot from a drone.

Images #11. Drone image of Tiger shark at Bunker Bay. Ian Wiese pic.

Finally here are a couple of nasty predators. They are 2-3m long and were harassing dolphins at Sandpatches, stealing the fish they were rounding up. They are extremely fast, making the dolphins look slow. I have been told they are a “Hartail” or Trichiurius lepturus. Nasty pieces of work. The dreadlocks (strings of “rope” hanging down from the neck area) are probably just water running off – a quirk of the shutter speed.

The WA museum’s Curator of Fishes made the following quote regarding the Hairtale.

“Largehead Hairtail Trichiurus lepturus occur all around Australia and in all tropical and temperate seas of the world, although it is probably a complex of multiple species that are yet to be described. There are a few other known species also, including in WA.  They are not so common in the south.  We sometimes get contacted by members of the public either catching one or finding one on the beach. They grow to around 1.2m and generally live in very deep water (to 350 or 400m), but the adults apparently have a DVM [diurnal(daily) vertical migration] that is opposite to most deepsea fishes – that is, they come to the surface to hunt during the day and stay deep at night.  Interestingly, the juveniles and small adults have the opposite DVM (surface at night, deep during day).  Large adults feed on any pelagic prey – anchovies, sardines, trevally, barracuda, whitebait, squid and even juvenile tuna and other hairtails.  From what little I know, they sometimes enter estuaries in early to mid winter.”

I can assure him they grow to well over 2m!

Images #12. “Hairtail” or Trichiurius lepturus harassing dolphins at Sandpatches. Ian Wiese pic.

As a result of these photos I was recently invited to make a submission to the Senate Inquiry into the efficacy and regulation of shark mitigation and deterrent measures. The main focus of my submission was Bunker Bay during the salmon migration. A friend and I flew drones almost daily at Bunker Bay and we were constantly seeing up to 8 bronze whalers along the beach, normally close in to the shore break. The helicopter reported a fraction of the numbers we saw. This is hardly surprising as we were observing for several hours a day. My concern was that tourists were unaware of the sharks and often let their children swim in the shore break without realising they could be within metres of sharks. I pointed out that once a shark was sighted and reported on the Sharksmart web site, there was no one responsible for any further management of the situation. My submission (including recommendations can be downloaded from the Senate Inquiry web site – My submission is submission 72.

In 2016 I went out to the Cape Naturaliste Seal colony every fortnight for 12 months and photographed the seals. I used the photographs to count the seals and was able to produce this graph of the way the numbers fluctuate during the year.

The data went to Curtin University, and will be the subject of a paper documenting the way in which the seals haul out of the water at Cape Naturaliste.

Image #13. 2016 Cape Naturaliste Seal Colony statistics courtesy of Ian Wiese.

In August 2016 there were nearly 250 seals, so many in fact that the colony split and roughly half moved to the rocky point at Point Marchant (ie near Shelley Cove). By December the numbers had dropped to just over 30 and there were 5-10 pups born just after Xmas.

This information was not previously available and little research had been done on the colony previously. As great white sharks are known to target seal colonies I have included this graph in the SDS blog as it is read by surfers who can use it to be better informed about the risks through the year.

Click on this link to view or purchase Ian’s prints Ian Wiese’s Photography blog.

Click on this link to view Ian’s South West Marine life images by Ian Wiese – Series #1 Dolphins

Coming soon South West Marine life images by Ian Wiese – Series #3 Whales




South West Marine life images by Ian Wiese – Series #1 Dolphins

Dunsborough photographer Ian Wiese captures marine images in the Cape to Cape region in the South West of Western Australia (from Busselton to Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin). He specialises in images of dolphins, whales, sharks, seals and seabirds depending on the seasons.

Ian provides specific whale, dolphin and seal images to Curtin University for research purposes.

This is the first in a series of Ian’s SW Marine life images.

Series #1 Dolphins

These are Ian’s comments and images.

I originally started out doing landscape photography in the Southwest – beachscapes, vineyards, the Cape to Cape Track and so on. Being in the Margaret River region it was also hard to escape surf photography as well.

A few years ago I thought it would be good to get some photos of dolphins surfing. Initially they were elusive, and whenever I was at Yallingup I was told they just left! At Yallingup the dolphins usually catch one wave and go. I soon discovered that they frequent Sandpatches (the bay just north of Sugarloaf rocks) almost daily and while they are there they stay for lengthy periods. So I began visiting Sandpatches and as I came to understand their behaviour better I had more success.

At the time I was working with Curtin University on whale photo-id and they heard of my dolphin photos. Individual dolphins can be identified by the nicks and cuts in their dorsal fins, and over time the rate at which you discover new individuals can be used statistically to estimate the population visiting the bay. The WA universities vie with each other for dolphin populations to study. Fremantle is Curtin territory, Mandurah and Bunbury dolphins are being studied by Murdoch. This was a good opportunity for Curtin.

All we need to do now is to process around 10,000 photos of fins. It seems the photography was the easiest part! When we have done this we will have gained a lot of information about the dolphin population who visit Sandpatches, their behaviour and health, the number of groups who use the bay, and hopefully why Sandpatches is so popular with them. We may be able to  assess whether the population is increasing or decreasing and if necessary recommend management strategies for their long term viability.  

Ian Wiese

Image #1. Dolphins surfing at Sandpatches. Image Ian Wiese.

Image #2. Dolphins surfing at Sandpatches. Image Ian Wiese.

Image #3. Dolphin playing with salmon at Bunker Bay. Image Ian Wiese.

Image #4. Dolphin turbo charged aerial at Sandpatches. Image Ian Wiese.

Image #5. Dolphin re-entry at Sandpatches. Image Ian Wiese.

Image #6. Dolphins playing at Sandpatches. Image Ian Wiese.

Image #7. Abstract – Dolphins surfing at Sandpatches. Image Ian Wiese.

Image #8. Dolphins surfing at Yallingup. Image Ian Wiese.

Image #9. This collage shows the extent of damage to the dorsal fins of some dolphins. Image Ian Wiese.

Click on this link to view or purchase Ian’s prints Ian Wiese’s Photography blog.

Click on this link to view Ian’s short video of dolphins surfing. At the end of the video the dolphins gang up on a small shark that had been annoying them.

Coming soon South West Marine life images by Ian Wiese – Series #2 Sharks




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.