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Surfside at Yallingup – Recollections

Many SW residents and visiting surfers enjoyed the hospitality at Surfside Tea Rooms/Store/Cafe/Restaurant/Accommodation at Yallingup over the years. This is a collection of their Surfside recollections from the 50s to 80s.

Jim Keenan – pioneer WA surfer

Surfside tea rooms were run by the Hammond family and was a favourite amongst the 50’s & 60’s surfing fraternity for hamburgers upon arrival and breakfast whenever the rain washed out our fires.

The Hammonds were very generous with their tucker and would stay open until our arrival from the city on a Friday night, for a weekend of surfing.

We would arrive rugged up in our great coats (winter) or bear suits half pissed from the journey down from Perth. The honest guys would order hamburgers which of course required action in the kitchen a separate room.

The dis-honest took advantage of this and filled their pockets with blocks of old gold chocolate while the counter staff were preparing the hamburgers in the kitchen. I won’t mention the main culprits name but, his initials were T.H.

I guess T.H. survived because he did share the wares when we returned to our hammocks on the rock face facing Yalls. We felt guilty but, the benefits outweighed the problem.

I have met with Garth Hammond and discussed the above and he assures me that his parents were well aware of the Fagan in our midst, but chose not to complain. Wonderful people and karma will care for T.H.

The tearooms were also the venue for the tourists arriving via a state run bus. They would flood into the rooms and buy their tea and cream covered scones. If the boys happened to visit in the same time frame, I can only imagine what they thought of the strangely dressed patrons talking in what sounded like a foreign language.

Photo: 1962 Jim Keenan & Puppydog surfing outside Gallows on Barry Bennett surfboards from NSW. Photo courtesy Jim Keenan.

1962 Gallows outside break J Keenan & Puppydog on NSW Barry Bennet boards - J Keenan pic

Peter ‘Mac’ McDonald – Yallingup

In the late 60s when we travelled down south on weekends and the weather was poor, we would sleep in the public brick toilets or on Surfside’s side verandah. Later when we were working in the SW carting hay about 10 of us (George Simpson, Ronny Ratshit, Grant Robinson, Gary Kontoolas & others) used to sleep in our cars under the melaleucas. We had breakfast (tomato mince) & dinner with Bernie & Eve at Surfside.

Bernie must have felt sorry for us sleeping in our cars and offered the back toilet/shower block to George Simpson, Rick Lobe & I. We moved in to our plush accommodation.

When the hay job finished we went off picking spuds for the Smith family near Carbunup.

Photo: Early 1970s Moore River L-R Steve ‘Blue’ Nicholson, Peter McDonald, Jenny Limb & Micko Gracie – Photo courtesy of Peter Mac.

Early 1970s Moore River Mac, Blue, Jenny & Micko - Peter Mac pic IMG_05

Steve Carr – Yallingup

This is my best recollection of the fate of George Simpson’s old Ford Customline which was abandoned outside Surfside Yalls probably around 1970/71 (or thereabouts).

The car was parked out the front of Surfside for ages and we (along with a few others) used it to sleep in if we had too many for our own car.

Bernie had had enough of it sitting out the front and asked a few of us if we could get rid of it. I can’t remember how many of us there were involved in the disposal but it was a few, probably 5 or 6 at least. One of the guys that was down there a fair bit in those days was Ian Reid who lived on a dairy farm in Capel and he had a HR Holden that was probably the newest and best car of all the locals down there at the time.

Back then there would have only been no more than a dozen houses in the bay (if that) so we decided to tow it up the hill to the top of Wardanup Crescent and push it off the road into the bush. It did take a fair bit of effort to get it up the hill and I have a recollection that “Ronnie Ratshit” was sitting on the bonnet of the old bomb as Ian was towing it but I think we had to do a bit of pushing as well. Unfortunately poor Ian finished up burning his clutch out in the process of getting it up the hill so it become an expensive exercise for him!

Needless to say Bernie was happy that the car was gone and on the other side of ledger I suspect the poor bugger who eventually bought the block had the additional cost of getting rid of the old bomb from the area before they were able to start building.

Photo: 1974 Sydney NSW Steve Carr & some party animals. Photo courtesy of Steve Carr.

70s Steve Carr & party animals1

Bruce King – Dunsborough

On stormy nights we used to sleep in the toilet block behind Surfside then wake up to a Bernie and Eve breakfast special of savoury mince on toast.

We also stayed at the Lurch house next door and quite often had card nights and séances which were downright scary at times. We communicated with the so called Yallingup ghost (he used to frequent the local area supposedly carry his head under his arm). The then president of WASRA Dr Ron Naylor was present on some occasions and could not explain the phenomena. After one session we predicted a lone swimmer who left from Cottesloe for a swim to Rottnest was apparently attacked and we would find his skull at a beach north of Perth. Trevor Burslem who was working with 6PR radio station at the time heard of this and followed it up. A skull was subsequently found on a northern beach and we gave away séances after that.

Photo: 1973 Bruce King at Three Bears. Photo courtesy of Bruce King.

1973 Bears Bruce King South West 008

Louie ‘Longboard’ Corkill – Dunsborough

In the early 70s I used to mow lawns for Harbo and Pete Dyson to earn money for food at Surfside. Pete Dyson used to pay me out of an army sock with rolled up $20 notes.

Back then Andy Jones used to be a cook at Dunsborough Bakery. In winter time I used to pinch uncut loaves of warm bread off the hot rack, hollow them out and stick my feet in them to keep warm. Mark “Murf the surf” Brescoe and I used to sleep in the hedge next to the Dunno bakery.

I felt my first women’s tits under Tom Hoye’s Board Shop next to Surfside. I fondled the girl’s breasts while her mother was above us listening to Neil Diamond’s “Hot August Night’.

Photo: 1975 Louie Corkill (age 16) at Mandurah with Len Dubben surfboard & Adler boardies. Photo courtesy of Louie Corkill.

1975 Louie Corkill age 16 Mandurah Len Dibben surfboard & Adler boardies DSC_8670a

Russell Quinlivan – Busselton.

Here is a story, printable or not. It was a cold and wintery night, 1972 inside Surfside, with myself, Paul Galbraith, Charlie Dingbat, George Simpson and this drunk guy who owned the 2 holiday units next to Surfside. George and the drunk guy were playing pool for money as we watched on. This drunk dude kept trying to antagonize George after each of his losses, but George ignored it, as he was taking this guy’s money. After his 4th loss in a row, this guy started to verbally abuse George, and even poked George heavily in the chest. George remained calm. Then this guy did the unthinkable, he slapped George across the face. “Oh No,” we thought. George, thought for a second or so. There were 3 heavy laminex tables and chairs between the pool table and the front door, which parted like the Red Sea as George upper cut this guy to the front door, casually opened it and pushed him out. George must have had a lot of brownie points with Bernie, as Bernie never said boo about the mess that we all commenced to clean up. Hope you like my story. Sorry no Bloody photos. Ha.

Photo: 1970s Russell Quinlivan at Trigg Point. Photo courtesy of Peta Quinlivan.

70s Russell Quinlivan Trigg Point - Peta Quinlivan IMG_01

Laurie ‘Loz’ Smith – Quindalup surfer & photographer

In 73-74 my brother Tony & I would sleep in his split screen Kombi in the Yallingup car park. At that time there were no rangers and camping was free. After an early surf, we used to have a brekkie of sausages & eggs on toast and a cuppa at Surfside for 60c. We would play table soccer for 10c a game while we were waiting for brekkie. We used to fill up the Kombi at Surfside using the hand pump Petrol Bowser. Surfside was the only place to eat brekkie besides the Bakery at Dunsborough. Sally Jones used to work at the Bakery and made the biggest milkshakes. If Tony & I surfed elsewhere, we camped in the Kombi at Injidup, Rocky Point or under the melaleucas near the creek at Cowtown.

Photo: 1980s Yallingup Yal Mal contest. L-R Tim Eastwood, Peter Mac & Loz Smith. Tim & Loz are holding Rob Malcolm’s 8 footers. Peter Mac’s is holding a 9ft Cordingley board shaped by Bob Monkman. Photo credit Peter Mac.

1980s Early Yal Mal unknown, Mac & Loz - Peter Mac pic IMG_01

Mal Leckie – Queensland surfer & artist

I remember one funny morning at Surfside. When you ordered your meal you got a numbered ticket and then Eve would appear at the little side door-window thing and call out the number when it was ready. We all sat waiting and talking at the tables.

Eve came to the window and yelled out “99” but nobody came forward, so she put the meal aside and served a couple of others. Then she tried again with “99” a couple of times but nobody showed up. Then she got a bit edgy and yelled out a very loud “Ninety-bloody-nine” but still nobody responded as she stood there holding the plate and looking at the ticket. Everyone was quiet now as the mystery evolved and we were all waiting to see who it was that was going to cop a mouthful from Eve. But as she stood there with plate and ticket, she suddenly got a sheepish look on her face, then very quietly said, “oh, Number 66”.

The place erupted with belly laughs. I’m sure whoever had 66 will remember that, it was a classic.

Photo: 1973 Nedlands Mal Leckie & Tony Hart. Photo credit Faye Hart.

1973 Nedlands Mal Leckie & Tony Hart - Faye Hart pic

Al Bean – Surfboard Shaper Dunsborough

In the early 70s I shaped surfboards for Gary Greirson in Osborne Park. Then I convinced Gaz to let me shape boards down south. In 1975 I moved down south and shaped 10 boards per week at an Ellenbrook Road rental property. I converted an old lean-to on the side of the house into a shaping bay. I surfed and shaped 2 boards per day & drove boards back to the city on a Friday night, socialised over weekend & then drove back to SW with surfboards blanks on a Sunday night.

Late in 77 my dad told me his accountant had a syndicate that had bought a caravan park and store in the SW and they wanted me to manage it for them. When I found out it was at Yallingup I was rapt. I became Manager of Surfside & the Yalls Beach Caravan Park on 20 Dec 1977 at age 20 years. I learnt to cook and employed local girls to help at Surfside.

Back then city surfers would sleep in cars in the car park and we would get up to 60 surfers waiting for breakfast each morning over the weekend. It was a different story during the week and we would be lucky to sell a choc milk & newspaper to Harbo at Hideaway Homes. So I would close the shop mid-week and go surfing. On a Wednesday I would play country darts at Caves House with all the House boys (local family).

Young Mark ‘Hillzee’ Hills used to cash soft drink bottles at the shop and then sneak around the back and pinch them to re-sell again (-:

I did a bit of grass slashing at the Caravan Park, but not much else. Leon Thomasian used to live in the Caravan Park and would hide in the long grass to avoid paying camping fees.

I managed Surfside and the Beach Caravan Park until 1979.

Photo: 1974 Al Bean (age 19) with Grierson Surfboard at South Point. Photo credit Ric Chan

1974 Sth Pt Al Bean - Ric Chan DSC00021

Leon Thomasian – Dunsborough

In the late 70s, I lived in Al Bean’s unkempt Caravan Park on Yallingup beach. The park was covered in double-gees and would puncture thongs. I was worked as a lighthouse keeper at Cape Naturaliste, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Leveque in the NW before heading over east.

In the 80s young Dane & Scotty Richardson lived in the Beach Caravan Park with their dad. The Richardson boys were like terrorists and got up to all types of mischief with Mark Hills.

Photo: 1978 Leon Thomasian at Meelup Valeey. Photo credit Vance Burrow.

1978 SW Leon Thomasian Meelup Valley cropped VB IMG

Mark ‘Hillsy’ Hills – Quindalup

Biggest memories for me at Surfside as kids were the pinball machines. It was 20 cents a game and to get money to play we used to go through the bins and look for cool drink bottles which you could cash in for 8 cents at Surfside. Would have been around 1978/79 and I was about 12 or thirteen. Tony and Coral Harbison owned Hide Away Holiday homes where we would stay through the holidays and down the side of their home they would stack cool drink bottles in crates left by guests . This was a treasure trove for the pinball machines. Me and Pete Felton thought it would be a good idea to knock off this treasure trove and cash it in a Surfside. We got busted by Harbo and being pretty bloody fair he offered us half the profit if we took the cool drink bottles over to Surfside instead of just taking them. This worked a treat as we also noticed that it was very easy to access where Surfside stacked their bottles. So we would carry Harbo’s bottles over, half the profit, then later take back our bottles from Surfside and cash them back in again. We played a lot of pinball .

Photo: 1990 Mark Hills surfing Rabbits on Mitch Thorson’s Campbell Bros Bonza surfboard. Photo Credit Kevin ‘Twiggy’ Sharland.

1990 Rabbits Mark Hills on Mitch Thorsons Campbell Bros bonza board - Twiggy Sharland pic

Refer to Surfing Down South book for Garth Hammond’s & George Simpson’s Surfside recollections.

Gallery

1960s Malibu surfboards

Malibu ‘Mals’ surfboards where introduced into the WA in the early 1960’s. They replaced the longer, heavier, less manoeuvrable Toothpick surfboards. At that time, there was no balsa or fibreglass surfboard business in WA and the Malibu boards were imported from Gordon Woods and Barry Bennett Surfboards in NSW.

Malibu Surfboards background

Malibu surfboards originated at Malibu Beach in California. The longboard shape has a slightly pulled in nose and tail sections for extra manoeuvrability. This classic shape has been ridden and praised by experienced surfers for its manoeuvrability and performance. Classic party tricks eg “Hang Five” and “Hang Ten” can be performed on a Malibu board. There was a resurgence of longboarding in the late Eighties and Mals are still popular worldwide.

Photo: 1959 the boys & their toys on Yallingup Beach. This image includes a collection of different surfboard types at Yallingup Beach. The boards range for plywood toothpicks to balsa and a few fibreglass Malibu surfboards. The boys include Ken Hamer, Bernie Huddle, Dave Williams, Cliff Hills, Mark Paterson & others. Photo credit Bill Pratley.

My beautiful picture

Jim Keenan: “My first Malibu board was a Gordon Woods balsa with a centre stringer for added strength. Balsa was imported from South America and was expensive to say the least. My board if I remember right cost about 30 quid and represented approximately five weeks salary. On a relative scale that would put a new board at approximately $10,000.
I well remember the Californian life guards performing at Torquay and Sydney in 1956. They certainly created surfing history with the introduction of Malibu surfboards into Australia.
We were so isolated in WA in those early days, as the ‘Septics’ had been riding Mals way back in the forties. Those bloody Gidget movies stuffed up surfing because it revealed the life style and as a consequence a greater participation.”

Photo: 1961 pioneer SW surfers resting on Yallingup Beach with imported Malibu’s & some homemade balsa surfboards. The crew includes Keith Campbell, Don Roper, Bob Keenan, Brian Cole, Howard ‘The Ghost’ Kent and other unidentified persons. In the background are the old timber change rooms, timber steps and a shelter for the lifesaving reel. Photo courtesy of Terry Williams.

1961 Malibu Boards at Yallingup - Terry Williams1

In 1961 Brian Cole & Barry ‘Joe’ King formed King & Cole Surfboards in Wembley and commenced making fiberglass Malibu surfboards to cater for the local market.

Brian Cole: We used Bennett blanks and at that time Bennett Surfboards were experimenting with coloured foam. They blew foam with different colours and some of their surf boards had dual colour foam. Previously most fibreglass boards were coloured white to cover the discolouring in the foam.”

Photo: 1961 King & Cole Surfboards logo. Photo courtesy of Brian Cole.

1961 King & Cole Surfboards Wembley Brian Cole pic1

Photos: 1961 Howard “The Ghost” Kent surfing a King & Cole malibu surfboard at the Gallows in the SW. Photographer unknown.

1961 Ghost at Gallows on King & Cole surfboard unknown photographer1

By 1962 Dibben & Cole, Cordingley Bros & other surfboard manufacturers followed King & Cole and started manufacturing fibreglass surfboards in WA.

See Surfing Down South and Surfing WA celebrating 50 Years books for more details of WA’s surfboard industry in the 60s.

 

 

Gallery

1956-57 Surfers Camping at Yallingup

In the 50s’ pioneer SW surfers camped under melaleuca trees in front of the Yallingup Beach car park.

Surfside Tea rooms was available for meals at the time but the beach Caravan Park and Hideaway Homes accommodation options didn’t happen until the 70s.

Photo: 1956-57 Yallingup campsite L-R Tony Burgess, unknown, John ‘Red’ Abbott (hammock), unknown, Bernie Huddle, Alan Hamer, unknowns (3). Photo Credit John Budge.

Let us know if you can identify the unknown persons.

1956-57 Yalls camping Tony Burgess, unknown, John 'Red' Abbott (hammock),unknown, Bernie Huddle, Alan Hamer, unknown- JB pic img583

Photo: 1957 Surfers cooking on camp fire at Yallingup Beach. L-R Des Gaines, Jim Keenan, unknown, Laurie Burke, Bernie Huddle & Artie Taylor. Photo credit Jim Keenan.

1957 Yalls Des Gaines, Jim Keenan, unknown, Laurie Burke, Bernie Huddle & Arty Taylor - J Keenan pic

 

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Surfing Rotto in the 50s.

Surfing at Rottnest Island has been a popular pastime since the mid-50s. Cottesloe surfers made the maiden voyage to Rotto by surfboard.

Mark Paterson: “Cottesloe surfers John ‘Artie’ Shaw (champion board paddler), Lester Watkins and George Bevan from Coogee NSW were the first to paddle to Rotto on surfboards in the mid-50s. They paddled 16ft plywood boards and wore Army grey coats from Cottesloe to Rotto & return. On arrival the boys had a beer or two at Rotto pub before returning to the mainland. Their exploits were reported in the West Australian”.

Circa 1955 young City of Perth clubbies Jim Keenan, Graham ‘Cocko’ Killen & Tony Harbison paddled wooden surf skis from City Beach to Rotto and surfed waves at Transit Reef and Salmon Bay. This action on SLSC equipment eventually led to the boys being suspended from the surf club.

Jim Keenan: “Rottnest in the 50’s from a surfing point of view was absolute fun, especially when the Transit breaks were running. There were quite a few of us that surfed the Transit area. Dave Williams, Tony Harbison & John Budge were part of the group. These boys would travel over on the ferry and surf on their toothpick surfboards.

Salmon Bay was less well known and surfed and when we did it was very hairy. Salmon Bay produced challenges above and below the water line. On south west swells the ‘bommies’ threw up some quality big wave surfing above and below sharks ensured you stayed with your board or ski.

We did toy with the idea of taking on West End, but I am glad that’s as far as it got as that spot is full on.

Rottnest was heaven in those early days. Dhufish, crays were prolific and the beer was good also. We used to send our crates across on the Islander ferry and then float them across Thomson Bay to our camp site. We used to get our gear across on the Islander for free in the very early days.

It certainly was a step up from what was available on the Perth coastal beaches. It also toned up the skills necessary to what was to follow at Yallingup and Margaret River once our transport needs were cured.

Paddling to Rottnest was an adventure on its own especially at the ripe old age of 15 to 16 years. It was hard work and on occasions dangerous. On one particular journey a fog moved in while we were paddling through the shipping channel. A ship’s fog horn could be heard but not seen until it was bearing down on us at close quarters. Cocko and I on the double were able to escape reasonably quickly but for Tony Harbison on the single ski it was a close call as the Orcades (a passenger liner) bore down on us.

On another return journey from Rotto, my paddling partner Cocko on the two man ski fell asleep and slipped overboard, it was some time before I realized and returned to pick him up.

Our eventual suspension from the Surf Club for refusing to comply with a Harbour and Light’s ‘No paddling to Rottnest directive’ was indirectly an absolute blessing. It freed up our weekends and along with our newly found wheels firmly embedded Yallingup into our veins.

Yes, Rottnest played a part in many of the early Yallingup crew and is fondly remembered by all.”

Photo: 1956 Surfing at City Beach. L-R: Dave Williams on plywood toothpick surfboard and Jim Keenan & Cocko Killen on plywood double surf ski – Photo credit Ray Geary.

1956 City Beach Dave Williams toothpick board and Jim Keenan & Cocko Killen on double ski - Ray GearyA

In November 1958 pioneer surfers Brian Cole, Don Roper, Ken Hamer & others spent a couple of weeks holidaying on Rotto. Some of Brian’s holiday snaps & comments follow.

Brian Cole: “On a still night sounds carry from Transit reef back to Phillip Rock and the settlement in Thomson Bay. One moonlight & windless night Don Roper, Ken Hamer, myself (and others) went surfing at Transit after a few beers at the pub. The next day Mrs. Homes from Homes Tearoom, told us she could hear everything we said and asked us to keep our voices down and be more discreet in future.”

In the mid-50s the Islander & Wandoo worked the Freo to Rotto ferry route. The Wandoo was primarily a work boat and the trip could take a few hours on a fresh NW wind.

Photo: 1958 Don Roper (3rd from front) arriving at Rotto on Wandoo ferry. Photo credit Brian Cole.

1958 Rotto Wandoo ferry arriving Don Roper 3rd from front - Brian Cole pic 004

Pioneer surfer Barry ‘Joe’ King was a pilot and flew an Austen monoplane to the Island to get his hours up for a commercial licence. His mates often kicked in for the trip and did winter flights to Rotto with Joe. The boys were sometimes allowed to take over the controls over the water.

Photo: 1958 Don Roper & Barry ‘Joe’ King with the Austen monoplane at Rotto airport. Photo credit Brian Cole.

1958 Rotto Don Roper & Barry 'Joe' King next to Auster monoplane  - Brian Cole pic 005

Photo: 1958 The main street of Rotto. The famous Bakery is on the left and the Butchers shop is on the right. Photo credit Brian Cole.

1958 Rotto main street - Brian Cole pic 007

Photo: 1958 Brian Cole and Owen Oates sitting on an old bomb at Rotto Salt Works. Other old vehicles from the former Salt Works can be seen in the background. Photo credit Brian Cole.

1958 Rotto old bomb at the salt works Brian Cole & Owen Oates - Brian Cole pic 012