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.





1973 Australian Surf Titles #1 Contest images by Ric Chan

West Australia hosted its first Australian Surf Titles in 1969. Contest rounds were held at Scarborough, Margaret River and Yallingup.

In 1973, WA hosted its second Australian Surf Titles. Contest rounds were held in the South West at Left Handers, Redgate and Margaret River Main Break.

Queensland sent a strong team which included reigning Aust champion Michael ‘MP’ Peterson and Peter ‘PT’ Townend, Richard Harvey and Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew in the Mens divison and Kim McKenzie in the Womens divison.

NSW had Terry Fitzgerald and Col Smith in the Mens division and Mark Richards in the Juniors. They were very good surfers.

WA was well represented. The WA team included Ian Cairns and Tony Hardy in the Mens division, brother’s Craig and Stewart Bettenay in the Junior Mens and Kevin Merifield and Tony Harbison in the Senior Mens.

Stewart Bettenay (WA Junior) – Round one heats started at Margs, but when the swell dropped, the remaining heats and finals were held at Left Handers. In the Juniors, my brother Craig came 3rd behind Mark Richards NSW 1st and Bruce Hocking WA 2nd.

Round two heats were held in good waves at Redgate, but I don’t remember the results.

The Finals were held in very good waves at Margaret River main break. In the Mens division Tony Hardy surfed well and placed 4th overall. In the Juniors Craig came 3rd behind Mark Richards NSW 1st and Peter McCabe NSW 2nd. However, when results from the second round were taken into account, Craig was relegated to 4th place in the final results.

Overall Contest Results

Mens: 1. Richard Harvey Qld, 2. Peter Townend Qld, 3. Michael Peterson Qld, 4. Tony Hardy WA.

Junior Mens: 1. Mark Richards NSW, 2. Peter McCabe NSW, 3. Dave McDonald Qld, 4. Craig Bettenay WA.

Womens: 1. Kim McKenzie Qld, 2. Gail Couper Vic, 3 Mary Flynn Vic,

Senior Mens: 1. Brian Austin QLD, 2. Ted Harvey NSW, Doug Warbrick Vic.

Surf photographer Ric Chan was there to capture the action for the Independent Newspaper.

Round 1. Left Handers surf break

***Update 29 June 2017 *** Tom Blaxell recognises his F100 4wd and has dated the following Left Handers pic as 1978 and not 1973 as posted. Thanks Tom.

Photo: 1973 Aust Titles contest competitors in the old dirt car park behind surf break at Left Handers. Ric Chan pic.

Photos: 1973 Aust Titles competitors surfing at Left Handers. Ric Chan pics.

Top: (Left) Chris Fullston (WA). (Right) Tony Hardy (WA).

Bottom: (Left) Terry Richardson (NSW). (Right) Col Smith (NSW).

Photos: 1973 Aust Titles unidentified competitors surfing at Left Handers. Ric Chan pics.

Photos: 1973 Aust Titles unidentified competitor getting a cover-up at Left Handers. Ric Chan pics.

Photo: 1973 Aust Titles – Film West camera crew at Left Handers. Ric Chan pic.

Finals – Surfers Point at Margaret River

Photo: 1973 Aust Titles contest meeting in Marg’s car park. Ric Chan pic.

L-R competitor Doug ‘Claw’ Warbrick (Vic), competitor Richard Harvey (NSW), Channel 7 News cameraman Bryan Dunne, 7 News reporter Errol Considine, media Ric Chan (NZ) and unidentified.…you can see the Channel 7 Holden news van in the background …

Photos: 1973 Aust Titles contest officials at Marg’s. Ric Chan pics.

Top: (Left) unidentified) (Right) contest director Trevor Burslem (WA).

Bottom: (left) unidentified), (Right) competitors, contest judges and officials including John Balgarnie (WA) and Richard Harvey (NSW) ….

Photos: 1973 Aust Titles competitors surfing Margaret River main break. Ric Chan pic.

Top: (Left) unidentified surfer. (Right) Craig Bettenay cover-up.

Bottom: (Left) Michael Peterson. (Right) unidentified surfer.

Photos: 1973 Aust Titles personalities in Marg’s car park. Ric Chan pics.

Left: Qld competitor Peter ‘PT’ Townend. PT went onto to become the first IPS/ASP World Surfing Champion in 1976.

Right: spectator Steve ‘Sheepdog’ Cockburn and surf photographer Ric Chan.

Photo: 1973 Aust Titles celebrities at Marg’s. Ric Chan pic.

This photo features legendary Australian surfer Michael ‘MP’ Peterson (Qsld), Rip Curl surf co-founder Doug ‘Claw’ Warbrick (Vic) and a host of WA surfing heavy weights.

MP (in wetsuit) is making his way through contest spectators to enter the water for his heat. Doug ‘Claw’ Warbrick (Vic) is on the far right in the hat. Amongst the spectators at the back of the pic are WA boys Len Laskewicz, John Balgarnie, Trevor Burslem, Tom Blaxell and Errol Considine. On the right are Fred Annesley and Colin Ladhams. Dave Ellis is at the front in the cap with his back to camera.

Len DibbenI was one of the contest organizers ie comp Marshall at the 1973 Aussie Titles in the South West. I was WASRA Vice President to President Ron ‘Doc’ Naylor at that time. I also had the task of transporting the media reporters around the venues ie Trevor Burslem & Doug White, as well as anyone else that needed transport. In 1974 I took the state team to QLD for the AUSSIE titles.

In the following photo I am wearing a Baron Wear striped T shirt, (very popular at that time), Levi Jeans & John Arnold Hararchi Leather Sandals from then Adelaide.

Photo: 1973 Aust Surf Titles. Contest official Len Dibben with official car (Kombi) in Yallingup car park. Len is with his daughter Kim and son Troy. Photo courtesy of Wendy Dibben.

Mark Hills – I was living Down South when the ‘73 Aust Titles were on. Lots of people came down to watch the event. Back then Bill Oddy was running Cordingley’s and the Titles were a big deal in WA. I acquired my first surf board after the Titles. It was a West Coast single fin left under Hideaway Homes at Yallingup by a contest competitor or spectator.

Coming soon 1973 Australian Surf Titles #2 Media coverage by Errol Considine.





1970-80 Yallingup Beach car park

Update: 20 March 2017. According to Wardandi Elder George Webb’s book ‘Noonyabooghera’, Yallingup means ‘place of land falling away‘ referring to the limestone cliffs. The ‘place of love‘ myth was created by the people that opened up the caves and Caves House as a honeymoon destination. Source Melia Brent-White.


Yallingup Beach car park has been a meeting place for surfers since the mid-50s.

The Wardandi aboriginal meaning of Yallingup is ‘Place of Love’. In 2011 a large bronze sculpture of a surfer was erected at Yallingup to recognise its role in ‘the origins of surfing in WA’.

Photos: 2011 unveiling of surf pioneer sculpture at Yallingup. Jim King pics.

2011 Yalls surf pioneer statue Jim King picscollage_photocat

Surfers used to camp under the melaleuca trees at the beach car park in the ’50s. Then in the 60-70s surfers used the old public toilets as overnight accommodation in inclement weather.

Things have certainly changed since those days, camping is now banned on the beach front, the public toilets have been relocated and the car park curbed & landscaped. Today’s surfers meet in the car park to check the waves & ‘chew the fat’ on surfing, footy, women……and more recently ailments issues.

This is a collection of car park images with a sprinkling of comments from surfers who frequented the Yallingup car park & Surfside Store back then, when times seemed so much simpler.

Photo: 1970 State Open Champion Tony Hardy in the car park at Yallingup. Ric Chan pic.

1970 Yalls State Titles Tony Hardy - Ric Chan img192

Peter ‘Mac’ McDonaldIn the 70s when we were working in the SW carting hay, about 10 of us (George Simpson, Ronny Ratshit, Grant Robinson, Gary Kontoolas, John Molloy & others) slept in our cars under the melaleucas at Yallingup and ate breakfast (tomato mince) & dinner with Bernie & Eve at Surfside.

Photo: 1970 Steve ‘Sheepdog’ Cockburn behind & in front of the camera in Ric Chan’s Kombi at Yallingup. Ric Chan pic.

1970 Yalls Steve Cockburn in Ric's kombi- Ric Chan img202

Peter Dunn (NZ expatriate) Yallingup regular John ‘Tex’ Branch arranged my first trip down south in 1972. Tex met my mates & I at the Cottesloe pub and we then headed to Yallingup in a convoy.

Photos: 1972 First trip Down South. Peter Dunn pics.

Left: Yallingup car park team photo. L-R Peachy, Paul, Renya, Murray, Tex, Keith, Wayne, Dick, Steve & Bow.

Right: Busselton pit stop. Bearded ‘Tex’ sitting on the roof of Prive’s former Holden panel van.


Len DibbenThis Photo was taken by my wife Wendy in the Yallingup car park at the Australian Surf riding Championships, about July 1973. I was part of the Contest committee to run the 1973 Australia Surfboard Championships. At that time, I was Vice President to Ron Naylor president. I organized the Kombi to help run Contestants & Reporters to & from venues, if needed. The two children are my daughter Kim at 7 year of age & son Troy at 5 years of age. They are now aged 48 & 46. The gear I am wearing is a Baron wear striped t-shirt…very popular at that time, Levi Jeans & John Arnold Hararchi Leather Sandals from then Adelaide.

Photo: 1973 Aust Surf riding Championships contest official Len Dibben in the car park at Yallingup. Wendy Dibben pic.

1973 Aust Titles yalls contest marshal Len Dibben with daughter Kim 6 & son Troy 4

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 (nee Gunter) used to work at the Bakery and made the biggest milkshakes.

Photo: 1973 Yalls Lobster Pot Restaurant at Surfside. L-R Grant Robinson, George Simpson and Bernie Young at Sally Gunter’s 21st birthday party. Sally Gunter pic.

Photo: 1975 Yallingup car park during State Surfing Titles. Surfside Store is on the left and the old brick Toilets are under the melaleucas on the right. Ric Chan pic.

1975 Yalls State Titles Yalls car park img097 (6)

Andy JonesWe used to kick the footy in Yallingup car park. It was an open area with few cars and was a good meeting place for surfers. Before technology (surf reports/web sites etc) we used to check waves conditions from the car park before heading off to the best surf destination for the day.

Photo: 1975 Mark Favell ex Bundaberg Qsld & Andy Jones in Yalls car park. Gina Pannone pic.

1975 Yalls Mark Favell ex Bundaberg Qsld & Andy Jones - Gina Pannone pic_0004

Julie FavellAndy Jones, Mark Favell, Neil Juster and myself all lived in Dunsborough. We all work in the Dunsborough Bakery. It was a hell of a time. We travelled to Bears along the old road following coast. One vehicle we had was an old VW with balloon tyres. We always made it through the dirt track. Neil had a blue heeler dog (sorry forgotten his name), Neil was always tying him up and that darn dog always got himself out, could climb ladders at a great pace. At this time there was a surfboard maker at Willyabrup Peter ‘Stumpy’ Wallace who made Pegasus Surfboards. And the beginnings of Creatures of Leisure leg ropes at Injidup by Helen & Dave Hattrick and John Malloy.

Photo: 1975 Yallingup Mark Favell & Southey the dog in front of old brick toilet block. Julie Favell pic

Bruce KingIn inclement weather we used to sleep in the old toilet block behind Surfside tea rooms/store. I never had a sleeping bag and used to sleep in thongs in keep warm as my feet used to stick out the end of the blanket.

Photo: 1976 unidentified surfers in Yallingup car park. Ric Chan pic.

1976 Yalls car park unknown - Ric Chan 006

Al Bean (Surfboard shaper) – I became Manager of Surfside & the Yalls Beach Caravan Park in 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.

Photo: 1978 an empty Yallingup car park with Surfside Store, Bali Hai surf shop & Surfside rental accommodation in the background. Vance Burrow pic.

1978 Yalls Bali Hai surf shop Yalls VB IMG

Ross UttingIt was always difficult to fill in long hot surf-less afternoons, particularly on holiday or contest weekends when there were a lot of high spirited people about. Fortunately there were a few blokes who fancied themselves as stunt drivers. These blokes would relieve our boredom by putting on a display of burning rubber and wheelies in the Yallingup car park.

On one occasion, two of these charismatic drivers in Bill “Big Eyes” McVeigh and Kevin “Odey” O’Dwyer fed off each other, with each stunt becoming more outrageous than the one before.  They ended up, each in turn, racing down the hill from the pub at high speed, over the bridge and throwing the wheel on full lock entering the unsealed car park, sliding and spinning wildly through the car park and coming to a halt in a cloud of dust in front of the cheering masses, leaping out of their cars and taking a bow.

Both brilliant drivers, but how none of the vehicles parked in the car park were not damaged or pedestrians killed still amazes me.  The owner of Surfside Tea Rooms with it’s petrol bowser out front wouldn’t have been amused either.

Photo: 1980 Parking spot with a view. Gary Gibbon’s Ford Cortina with protruding surfboard in Yallingup car park. Gary Gibbon pic.

1980 Yalls car park Gary Gibbon's Cortina - Gary Gibbon pic IMG_0018

Louie ‘Longboard’ CorkillI left school at age 13 and started hitchhiking down south. I used to camp in the old toilet block at Yallingup beach. I slept in a board bag made of quilt by my mother. The best camping spot used to be in the melaleucas just before the bridge on the right, as you come down the hill into Yalls. Brian Bell and I would set up our tent or sleep in the car next to the fresh water creek which flowed from the pub.

Photo: 1980 Ray Nott & Dave Seward preparing to go for a surf at Yallingup. Gary Gibbon pic.

1980 Yalls car park Ray Nott & Dave Seward - Gary Gibbon pic IMG_0025

Mal Leckie – Steve “Horny” Campbell used to do an interesting performance for tourist buses in the Yall’s car park when he pulled his boardies up as high as they would go, puff his stomach out like he was pregnant and do an emu walk. 

More than one dead snake arrived at speed into the Yall’s car park behind a car, tied to the back by fishing line and “whipped” into the entry area to Surfside.

Photo: 1981 Steve ‘Horny’ Campbell and hound installing electricity at Caves Caravan Park. Gary Gibbon pic.

Floyd IrvineIn the early 80s my mates and I used to pitch our tent on the lawn in front of the ugly old brick toilets at Yallingup. We had a friendly council ranger who would provide firewood for our camp fire and chat with us. Back then nobody gave a shit what you did!

Photo: 1980 Tony Harbison reading West Coast Surfer magazine at Yallingup car park. Tony and his wife Carol built and ran Hideaway Holiday Homes at Yallingup in the 70s. Ric Chan pic.

1980 Yalls Tony Harbison with West Coast Surfer mag - Ric Chan 065

Photo: 1980 surfboard shaper Greg Laurenson and Dave Kennedy from Star Surfboards in Yallingup car park. Sadly the surf industry legends are now deceased. Ric Chan pic.

1980 Yalls G Laurenson & D Kennedy - Ric Chan 069

Photo: 1980 Greg Laurenson, Dave Kennedy, Tony Harbinson and Mitch Thorson in Yallingup car park with Harbo’s dog Prince. Ric Chan pic.

1980 Yalls Harbo, Greg Laurenson, Dave Kennedy etc- Ric Chan 072

Yallingup Beach car park is still a meeting place for surfers in the South West.



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: Mid 1960s A collection of Cottesloe & City Beach girls in Cottesloe Beach car park. Bert Moriarky pic.

L-R. City Beach girls unidentified brunette & Glenda Higgs (deceased), Cottesloe girl surfers Stef Myer, Tina Daly, Jeanne Abbott & Sue Ellen in front (deceased), City Beach girls unidentified brunette, unidentified blonde & Gail Smith.


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.





1970s Len Dibben skateboards

In the early 70’s I started selling the Australian skateboard Surfer Sam & also a few Midget Farrelly’s.

As skateboard sales increased people like Barry Bennett from Sydney surfboard fame, started to import Skateboards from the USA. I brought a shipment from him & having seen the product, I thought gee I can do this. So I started to make wooden skateboards out of solid timber as well as ply. To do this, I had to import Chicago Trucks & Roller sports wheels which were the toast of the skateboard industry in the USA. Roller sport wheels were the first urethane wheels to be made worldwide to my knowledge. The first were small about 1 1/4 ” wide, all these wheels were open bearings with cones & washers & locking nuts.

Photo: 1970-71. Len (age 33-34) riding a skateboard in a car park near his surf shop in North Fremantle. Len Dibben pic.

1970 Len Dibben riding skateboard car park North Freo - Len Dibben pic1

I then started to make fibreglass decks, at first were just straight, then I made one with a kicked tail. These were about 12” in length & 6 ” wide with the kicked tails. I had to make moulds, I remember that the moulds had indentations so show where the truck had to be mounted each end. I did this because demand was growing. I employed a heap of school kids like Dave Kennedy when he was at Scotch College. They would all be given jobs like in an assembly line, drilling out the holes, mounting the trucks, fitting the wheels & loose bearings,adjusting the wheels for smooth performance and sanding the decks. After I had finished glassing, as well as cutting out the fibre glass and before I impregnated the resin, the decks were dry glassed finished, so as to have a grippy finish and not be slippery with your bare feet or sand shoes (sneakers).

As time went on, wheels got wider & were called Stockers. These were about 2” in Diameter & 2 1/4” wide, still open bearings. We learn’t that by taking out 1 ball bearing & leaving 9 instead of 10, they went faster. We used Graphite Powder for lubrication as Oil would collect sand & ruin the bearing surface.

As the skateboards got more sophisticated I started to make Laminated Ply, which I purchased from Sydney Ply Co. These were much wider like 8” with wide trucks, something like today.

Other Skateboards I imported back in the early days were Bing, these had fibre glass decks & Rolls Royce wheels. And GT Plastic Skate deck Skateboards had 19”, 24” & 25” lengths in 5 different colours.

Photo: 1976 Len & Wendy Dibben outside Len’s surf shop & factory in North Fremantle. Len Dibben pic.

1976 Len & Wendy Dibben church shop & factory Nth Freo L Dibben Cropped pic

I also imported Roller sports skateboards. Roller sports were roller skate manufacturers with shoes, I think they were in Florida. I remember when we receive out first shipment from the USA, my wife Wendy had to go to the Airport to get the Shipment. I knew when it was arriving as I had a heap of customers ringing all the time. Well when Wendy arrived back from airport I must have had about 50 plus Customer waiting for me & the boys to open up the boxes. I got home that night about 9.30 pm (No late night trading back then).

Cheers Len.