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1950s Ray Geary’s surf art

In the 50s WA surf pioneer Ray Geary made hollow plywood surf boards & decorated the boards with art work.

Ray was a sign writer by trade and also designed t-shirts, parkas and surf shop signs for the surfing community.

Photo: 1954 Ray with his ‘Jasper’ toothpick surfboard at City Beach groyne. Ray Geary pic.

1954 City Beach R Geary with Jasper surfboard - Ray Geary

Images: 1954-5 Ray’s cartoon character drawings on plywood surfboards #1. Images courtesy of Ray Geary.

1954-55 Ray Geary surf art #3 collage_photocat

Images: 1954-5 Ray’s cartoon character drawings on plywood surfboards #2. Images courtesy of Ray Geary.

1954-55 Ray Geary surf art #4 collage_photocat

Photos: 1955 Ray Geary & Rob Wakefield with plywood toothpick surfboards. Ray Geary pics.

(Left) Ray Geary & Rob Wakefield with Rob’s new 16’6 board. (Right) Rob Wakefield’s old 13′ & new 16’6 board.1955 Ray Geary & Rob Wakefield surfboards collage_photocat

Photo: 1956 Ray with his sign writing work Ute & homemade 4 man wave ski on top. Photo courtesy of Ray Geary.

1956 R Geary work ute picking up 4 man ski - Ray Geary1

In the mid 50s Ray Geary designed & printed parkas for the City Beach Board Club. Neil & Rob are wearing board club parkas designed by Ray in the following photo.

Photo: 1956 Rob Wakefield’s Holden Ute parked in front of City Beach groyne with homemade 4 man wave board on roof rack. L-R Colin Taylor, Neil Chapple, Ray Geary & Rob Wakefield. Photo courtesy of Ray Geary.

1956 City Beach 4 man ski on Ray's Holden ute C Taylor, N Chapple, R Geary, Rob Wakefield - Ray Geary1

In 1958 there was a typhoid scare at City Beach. Ray designed & printed City Beach Tifoyd Club t-shirts for local surfers.

Photo: 1958 City Beach Typhoid scare t-shirt designed by Ray Geary. Brian Cole pic.

1958 City Beach Typhoid scare t-shirt by Ray Geary - Brian Cole pic IMG_06

In 1961 Brian Cole & Barry ‘Joe’ King started King & Cole Surfboards in Roydhouse St Wembley & produced WA’s first foam surfboards. Ray Geary designed and painted the business sign for King & Cole surfboards shop/factory.

Photo: 1961 King & Cole Surfboards sign designed & painted by Ray Geary. Brian Cole pic.

1961 King & Cole Surfboards Roydhouse St Wembley sign writer Ray Geary - Brian Cole IMG_0001a

Geary’s surf break near Mandurah is named after Ray Geary’s beach shack, which was located on the hill overlooking the waves.

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1950s Surf Mobiles

WA surf pioneers had a fine array of surf mobiles in the 50s. They travelled with their large wooden boards to metro & south west surf destinations in their motorised chariots.

Photo: 1955 Ray Geary’s Essex ‘Super Six’ at Wembley with plywood wave ski tied on the roof. L-R Mark Whittome, Barry ‘Stretch’ Gallon & Ray Geary. Photo courtesy of Ray Geary.

1955 Wembley Essex 'Super six' Mark Whittome,Barry Gallon,Ray Geary

In 1956 Ray Geary (19) and three young Wembley lads Neil Chapple (17), Colin Taylor (17) & Rob Wakefield (18) spent 5 weeks (and £49) making a 24ft plywood four man wave ski.

Refer to Surfing Down Surf book for images of the four man wave ski and other old automobiles.

Photo: 1956 Ray with his Sign Writing work ute & homemade 4 man wave ski on roof rack.
Photo courtesy of Ray Geary.

1956 R Geary work ute picking up 4 man ski - Ray Geary1

Photo: 1956 Rob Wakefield’s Holden ute at City Beach with homemade 4 man wave ski on roof rack. L-R Colin Taylor, Neil Chapple, Ray Geary & Rob Wakefield. Neil & Rob are wearing City Beach Board Club parka’s designed & printed by sign writer Ray Geary. Photo courtesy of Ray Geary.

1956 City Beach 4 man ski on Ray's Holden ute C Taylor, N Chapple, R Geary, Rob Wakefield - Ray Geary1

Photo: 1956 John Budge’s Morris minor & surfboards in Yallingup car park (outside Surfside tea rooms). John Budge pic

1956 Yalls car park outside tea rooms J Budge's Morris minor & boards - John Budge pic img358

Photo: 1957 Owen Oate’s Holden FX ute, Brian Cole’s Morris Minor & Laurie Burke’s Mayflower at City Beach. Photo credit Brian Cole.

1957 City Beach Owen Oates Holden FX ute, Brian Cole Morris Minor & Laurie Burke Mayflower - Brian Cole pic

Photo: 1957 Ian Scott’s Austin A40 at City Beach. L-R Ian Scott & Brian Cole with hollow ply surfboards (Brian’s 10ft Malibu & Ian’s 14ft Toothpick) & WW2 flying suit on the car roof. Photo credit John Budge.

1957 City Beach Ian Scott & Brian Cole with Austin A40, hollow ply surfboards (Brian 10ft Malibu & Ian 14ft Toothpick) & WW2 flying suit - JB pic img586

Photo: 1957 City Beach crew including Brian Cole (2nd from right) heading to Cable Station for a surf in a Morris 10 . Photo credit Brian Cole.

1957 City Beach Brian Cole & crew Morris 10 heading to Cable Stn - Brian Cole pic

Photo: 1958 City Beach Board Club members with an assortment of autos on a day trip to Avalon Point. Photo credit Brian Cole.

1958 Avalon Point Brian Cole & City Beach crew - Brian Cole pic

 

 

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1950s City Beach memorabilia

WA surf pioneer Ray Geary and other ex City of Perth SLSC clubbies formed and ran the City Beach Board Club 1953-58. Refer to Surfing Down South book for more details of City Beach in the 50s.

Photo: 1953 surfing the North side of City Beach groyne on plywood Toothpick surfboards. Photographer unknown.

1953 City Beach groyne surfing Nth side

This City Beach photo shows the old coast road, tea rooms on the left, tent poles on the beach and surf club boat shed on the right. None of these structures exist today, they are extinct.

1953 storm surf City Beach groyne. Photo credit Brian Cole.

1953 City Beach groyne storm surf B Cole pic

Photo: 1954 beach erosion on coast road at City Beach pre building of Floreat rock groyne in 1959/60. The coast road was removed in the 1970s due to constant beach erosion. Photographer unknown.

1954 City Beach Erosion - unknown photographer

Image: 1957 Brian Cole (age 18) surfing City Beach on a homemade 10ft hollow ply wave ski. Image courtesy of West Australian Newspapers.

1957 City Beach Brian Cole 1st hollow 10ft Ply board - West

In 1958 there was a typhoid scare at City Beach. So local sign-writer Ray Geary made up Typhoid Club t-shirts for the City Beach Board Club boys.

Photo: 1958 Ray Gearys’ Typhoid T-shirts. Photo credit Brian Cole.

1958 City Beach Typhoid scare t-shirt by Ray Geary - Brian Cole pic IMG_06

 

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1950s Bert’s Shop at City Beach

Tea Rooms History

The City Beach Tea Rooms were located on a foreshore road at City Beach from the 1930s to 1970s. It is assumed the Tea Rooms were built in the 30s around the time the City of Perth SLSC Club building and rock groyne were built in 1935.

The beach formerly known as Ocean Beach was named City Beach by the Perth City Council in 1928 (after acquiring the Lime Kilns Estate in 1917). Access to City Beach was by plank road from Wembley from 1918 to 1951.

In the mid-70s The Perth City Council demolished the wooden Tea Rooms building and replaced it with a concrete kiosk. Sometime later the foreshore road was also removed due to constant beach erosion.

Photo: 1930s photo of City Beach. This image shows the foreshore road, rubber surf mat hire shed in foreground, two beach kiosks and the Tea Rooms in the background. Image credit Cambridge Library – Local Studies.

1930s City Beach foreshore road, kiosks & shop- Cambridge Library-Local Studies

Tea Room Leaseholders

Late 50s- 62 Bob & Bert
1962 Fred
1963-64 Eric (ex England)
1965-67 Colin
1968-70 Mario

City Beach Board Club

In 1953 Ray Geary (age 16) from Wembley started the City Beach Board Club (CBBC) with Graham Killen, Johnny Budge, Brian Cole & some keen surfing mates.

Ray Geary: “The leaseholder of the Tea Rooms gave the Club approval to dig out sand below the building and make an enclosure for Club Meetings and surf board storage.”

In the late 50s the local surfers referred to the Tea Rooms as ‘Bert’s shop’ (after the lease holder at the time).

Photo: 1958 Bert’s Shop (aka City Beach Tea Rooms).  Photo credit Brian Cole.

1958 City Beach Bert's Shop - Brian Cole

Bert’s shop was the unofficial base for surfers in the area. Grommets from CBBC used to ‘hang out’ on the steps of the shop.

Photos: 50s hanging out at the shop.

The photo on the left was taken in the winter time as many of the boys are wearing bears suits (WW2 flying suits) to keep warm.

Left: 1956 Ian Scott, Don Roper, Ray Geary, Ian Chapple and others.  Photo credit of John Budge.
Right: 1958 (sitting) Garry Stewart, John Harbison & unidentified, (standing) Charlie Roper & Terry Jacks. Photo credit Brian Cole.

1950s City Beach grommets compilation 01

Photos: 50s surfing at City Beach #1.

Top left: 1956 Ray Geary riding 16ft toothpick plywood board. Ray Geary pic.
Top Right: 1957 Brian Cole on hollow 10ft Malibu plywood board. WA Newspaper pic
Bottom Left: 1957 Ken Hamer on plywood surf ski made by Brian Cole. WA Newspapers pic.
Bottom right: 1957 John Peterson on toothpick plywood board. WA Newspaper pic

1950s City Beach surfing IMG_002

Photos: 50s surfing at City Beach #2.

Left: 1958 Peter Docherty (13) with 12 ft plywood board near rock groyne. Peter Docherty pic.
Right top : 1958 Colin Taylor & Dave Williams surfing south side City Beach. Brian Cole pic
Right bottom: 1959 John Harbison (15) surfing 13 ft plywood board. WA Newspaper pic

1950s City Beach surfing IMG_006

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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