Gallery

Origin of skateboarding in WA by John Harbison & Charlie Roper

Skateboarding was probably born sometime in the late 1940s, or early 1950s, when surfers in California wanted something to do when the waves were flat. No one knows who made the first board; it seems that several people came up with similar ideas at around the same time. Source: Wikipedia.

Photo: Early homemade skateboards courtesy of Skateboard Hall of Fame USA.

1960s-Collection-5-homemade-early-Skateboards-made-from-old-roller-skates.

WA surfing pioneers Terry ’Horse’ Williams and Brian ‘Blackballs’ Cole introduced the concept to WA on their return from California in the early 60s. They had seen skateboards in action while touring the west coast of USA.

Former City Beach surfer and City of Perth Beach Inspector John ‘Roo Dog’ Harbison witnessed the first skateboard in WA. He documented the moment for a Board Club reunion held at City Beach in 2011.

John is the brother of surfing legend Tony ‘Harbo’ Harbison and Peter Harbison.

Sadly John passed away in May 2014 at Dunsborough.

Photos: 1958-74 City Beach pics. Photos courtesy of Harbison family.

Top: (Left) 1958 City Beach shop L-R Garry Stewart, John Harbison, Charlie Roper & Terry Jacks (Right) 1959 John Harbison surfing City Beach on plywood toothpick surfboard.

Bottom: (Left) 1967 John Harbison sweep on City of Perth surf boat. (Right) 1973-74 Beach Inspector John Harbison herding topless girl off City Beach.

1958-67 John Harbison City Beach.collage_photocat

First WA skateboard by John Harbison.

Back in the early 60’s, I think 1963/64, Terry Jacks, Charlie Roper, Ernie Potter & Brian Cole produced what would have to have been the 1st skateboard to appear in WA.

Skateboards were unheard of in WA at the time and I don’t know where they got the idea from, but they turned up at City Beach one weekend with this piece of equipment they’d made out of the side slat of a wooden fruit case with half a roller skate at the front, the other half at the back

We all spent the afternoon having turns riding it down the road in front of the shop. That night everyone else was digging out old roller skates and getting slats of wood to make their own. Next day they took it up to Scarborough for the Scarborough crew to try out and the following week down to Cottesloe. Before long you had all these homemade skateboards appearing about the place.

A year or so after that skate boards were being produced commercially by Midget Farrelly.

City Beach surfer Paul Meink who was good on them & won a big radio station sponsored skateboard competition held at the Floreat Forum southern car park. Place getters at that competition were Floreat boys Ross Sarson, Mike Schafer and John ‘Viz’ Fletcher.

John Harbison

Photo: 2011 City Beach Surf Riders Club 50 Year reunion. L-R Brian Cole, Keith Campbell, Zac Kochanowitsch & John Harbison. Bruce King pic.

2011 Brian Cole, Keith Campbell, Zac Kochanowitsch & John HarbisonCity Beach CBSR 191 - Bruce King

Wembley lads Charlie Roper & Brian Cole made the first skateboard in WA.

Photos: 1963 Scarborough Beach. Ernie Potter pics.

(Left) Charlie Roper & Ernie Potter. (Right) John Harbison & Charlie Roper surfing.

1963 Charlie Roper Scarborough Ernie Potter pics collage_photocat

First WA skateboard by Charlie Roper.

In the early 60s WA surf pioneer/Subiaco footballer Terry ‘Horse’ Williams bought the idea back from California where he had been travelling. He described what was happening with skateboards and what the kids were doing with them.

I thought I could make one of them. So in 1962, Brian Cole and I got an old piece of pine timber and attached wheels from my sister’s roller skates (unbeknown to her). We made the first WA skate board at Coley’s King & Cole Surfboard factory in Roydhouse Road Wembley.

I kept the old skateboard in my garage and my sons Jamie & Brett learnt to skateboard on that piece of equipment.

Photos: Charlie Roper & Brian Cole’s original skate board. The photos were taken in 2016 outside Charlie’s parents place in Wembley. Photos courtesy of Roper family.

1960s WA 1st skateboard Roper family pic collage_photocat

Photo: 2009 City Beach Surf Riders Club reunion. L-R Keith Campbell, Charlie Roper & Zac Kochanowitsch. Bruce King pic.

2009 CBSR Reunion Keith Campbell, Charlie Roper & Zac. Bruce King pic IMG_8461

Other 1960s WA skateboard recollections.

Craig Henfry I remember Paul Meink pulling off a jump trick on his skateboard in the car park at Floreat Forum, a trick I practiced until I got it too, once or twice. The last time I got on a skateboard I lasted about 2 secs and nearly cracked my skull, oh to be 16 again.

I had a Midget Farrelly skateboard up until a few years ago when I gave it to a mate’s son who then proceeded to trash it. I saw similar ones on some collectors show on TV and immediately regretted my generosity. A quick search on google turned up one that looks exactly like the one I had, I was also staggered to see what sort of money people pay for stuff like that.

Photo: Mid 1960s Midget Farrelly 26” timber deck skateboard sold Sept 2008 for $1200. Source: Von Weirdos

1960s Midget farrelly skateboard dscf4988

Bruce KingI remember the skateboard exhibitions at Floreat Forum car park, we were part of the Midget Farrelly competition team. There was a slalom course, high jumping and walking up and down stairs.

“Ollies” (today’s jumps) weren’t thought of then, we used to go barefooted and wrap your toes around each end to make the board jump. Paul Meink, Dave Condon were the jets, they even had Farrelly team t-shirts and parkas, I unfortunately came in to the team at the back end and missed out on getting my “Team Farrelly” gear.

Another time I went skate boarding down Mount Street in Perth, it was about the steepest street and I thought would be a good challenge.  This was before the freeway was there & the street went straight through and joined up with St Georges Tce. Anyway about half way down I got the wheel wobbles up and couldn’t bail out, I ended up in the Terrace dodging buses and cars.

Ross UttingAfter a while of skateboarding on the gently sloping carpark at Floreat Forum Shopping Centre some of us were looking for more of a challenge than just doing tricks. Ok, so we just couldn’t compete with the likes of Paul Meink, Ross Sarson etc in the tricks department! Then we found “Brookdale Entrance”. Brookdale Entrance was the eastern entrance to Perry Lakes Stadium & was short but seriously steep. It was the big wave equivalent of skateboarding. You had to do 2 or 3 big turns to keep your speed down before sweeping down to a final turn at the bottom. If you made a mistake you were dead meat.

One time we were at The Entrance when Glen “Roy” Carroll’s older brother Lindsay turned up big noting himself. Lindsay was a seriously fit guy & at the time was playing full forward for Claremont in the WAFL. He grabbed a board & took off but couldn’t turn & hit the bottom absolutely flying.

He smashed the security grills around the turnstiles off their hinges. We were too scared to laugh in case he came after us, but the episode added to the Brookdale Entrance legend.

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Gallery

1968 Yallingup – Invitational Event at the State Championships

In 1964 Bernard ‘Midget’ Farrelly (NSW) won the World Mens Title at the first World Surfing Championships held at Manly Beach NSW. Midget won from Californians Mike Doyle & Joey Cabell.

Photo: 1964 Midget surfing Manly on his way to winning World Mens Surfing Title. Photo courtesy of Keith Campbell (former WASRA President).

1964 Midget Champion at Manly

In 1968 former Australian world surfing champion ‘Midget’ Farrelly was invited to WA to compete in a special Invitational Event held in conjunction with the State Championships at Yallingup on the LWE in March 1968.

The field for WA’s Invitational event included Midget, prominent WA surfer Terry Jacks, former South Australian Barry Young and representatives from most states.

Image: 1968 Midget arriving at Perth Airport for the Invitational event. Newspaper image courtesy of the Daily News.

1968 Invitational Comp Yalls - Midget Farrelly

There was a big crowd in attendance to watch Midget surf at Yallingup. He bought rounded pintail surfboards to the event and WA surfers saw the new design from the East Coast for the first time. It introduced another advance in WA surfboard design.

Photos: 1968 Yalls Midget Farrelly & spectators at the Invitational Event. Photos courtesy of Sally Jones (nee Gunter).

Top: (Left) Midget with WASRA President Ron ‘Doc’ Naylor. (Right) Midget descending steps to the beach.
Bottom: (Left) Midget heading out to surf in Invitational event. (Right) Midget returning to the beach with his rounded pintail surfboard.

1968 Yalls Midget Farrelly invitational Event Sally Jones collage_photocat

The invitational event was held in sunny offshore conditions at Yallingup. Midge rode the lefts in his smooth controlled style. Terry Jacks was frothing and went for it. At the conclusion of the event many spectators thought Terry had won the event, but Midge’s name was already engraved on the trophy and that was that!

Some of Terry’s supporters kicked up a bit of dust, but it was in vain.

Images: 1968 Midget Farrelly at the Invitational event. Still frame images courtesy of City Beach Surf Riders Super 8 movie film.

1968 Yalls Invitational event Midget Farrelly collage_photocat

Image: 1968 Terry Jacks surfing in the Invitational event. Newspaper image courtesy of the Daily News.

1968 Invitational Comp Yalls - Terry Jacks1

COMMENTS ON INVITATIONAL EVENT

Peter ‘Spook’ BothwellMidget had just got back from Hawaii and was full of stories about Joey Cabell and his pintails.

Barry ‘Baz’ YoungBesides me, for the Invitational, another surfer from interstate was Alex Chobinoff (NSW) who had been here for 6 months roughly like myself. I placed third in that Invitational as well as coming 2nd to Spook in the State Titles. It was pretty small that day and I gambled and surfed the ‘Bunbury Break’, which was named because of the crew of Bunbury surfers who surfed it more than most. It’s now known as “The Cove”. Whilst Midget and the other 4 competitors hassled each other at Main Break I got a little lucky where I was.

When Midget arrived for the contest and pulled 4 Pintails out of his car we were all flabbergasted. The Press on what was happening design wise over East was very limited and I’m pretty sure no one had heard about boards that had pointed tails. It seemed weird to have a tail shape that looked the same as the nose. There was a lot of disbelief and almost jeering as he walked past the big crowds lining the steps and beach with one of these strange designs under his arm on the way to the water. I think he thought about not staying for the Invitational, but the WASRA contest directors talked him around and tuned a few crew to keep their opinions to themselves for the rest of the weekend.

I have been surfing in the Maldives twice now in recent years, at the same time as Midget and his wife, and he still surfs pretty good for age 71.

Photo: 2015 Former WA Surfboard Manufacturer Tom Blaxell with 1964 World Surfing Champ Midget Farrelly in the Maldives. Photo courtesy of Tom Blaxell.

2015 Maldives Tom Blaxell and Midget farrelly at Pasta Point

In 2001 Surfing WA made a presentation to Midget Farrelly at Yallingup Beach.

Photos: (Left) 2001 montage presentation to Midget at Yalls designed by Quindalup’s Loz Smith. (Right) 2006 Midget & Loz Smith at Jack Egan photo exhibition held at Vasse Felix Winery.

2001 & 2006 Midget Farrelly & Loz Smith images collage_photocat

1968 STATE SURFING CHAMPIONSHIPS HELD AT YALLINGUP.

The state championships were held in good offshore conditions at Yallingup over the March long weekend. Members of most WA Board Clubs competed in the Titles. Finalists in the divisions went onto represent WA at the National Surfing Titles held in NSW in May 1968.

Editor’s NoteA month after the State Titles finalist Arty Sherburn nearly died when he was stung by a blue bottle jellyfish while surfing at Cottesloe. He was unable to take his place in the WA State Team and compete in the ’68 National Titles in NSW.

Images: (Left) 1968 Cover of WASRA program. (Right) Preview of State Titles at Yalls. Images courtesy of WASRA & the Daily News.

1968 State Surfing Titles Yalls media 2 collage_photocat

Images: 1968 State Surfing Titles at Yalls. Images courtesy of the Daily News & Trevor Burslem.
(Left) Media preview of the WA Titles. (Right) Jim King competing in Open Division.

1968 State Ttiles Yalls Jim King 3 collage_photocat

CONTEST RESULTS

Peter ‘Spook’ Bothwell (age 19 years) from Sand n Sea board club won the Open Mens. Competing in 6ft surf Spook beat former South Australian Barry Young and Arty Sherburn the Southern Surfriders champion. Surprisingly, John Balgarnie & 1966 champion John Staley were eliminated in the semi-finals.

Ian Cairns from Southern Surfriders was the outstanding junior surfer & won the Junior Title from Phil Taylor & Ian ‘Moochie‘ Strongman.

Dave Williams won the Senior Title.

Maureen Farrell won the Womens Title.

Images: 1968 State Surfing Titles at Yalls.
(Left) Media review of the WA Titles courtesy of WA Newspapers.
(Right) Contest spectators & judges scaffolding on the beach. Photo Jim King.

1968 State Titles Yalls 4 collage_photocat

COMMENTS ON STATE SURFING TITLES

Peter ‘Spook’ BothwellThe 67 titles were when I thought I could win and was surfing at my peak. I didn’t get out of my heat, John Staley went on to win. In 68 I was over it (the competitive hype) and more relaxed. I thought John Staley was surfing good enough to win in 68, but he got over anxious like I did in 67 and was knocked out. My other memory was that everyone who surfed went in it. A bit like a festival.

I next went into a state contest in 76, after not surfing much for a few years and the crowd and competitive crew numbered about fifty. The atmosphere had changed, still seriously competitive, but the wider social interest went for a time.

Barry ‘Baz’ YoungIt was borderline whether I was eligible to compete in the main event (State Titles) because you had to have been living in WA for 6 months and I got Arty Sherburn and John Staley to say I had been here that long, but I think I was about a week short.

I had been called up for National Service and came to the West to surf as much as possible before going in. I ended up doing my Draft medical in Bunbury, and swallowed silver foil in the hope it would show up as a spot on my lung (it had worked in the Big Wednesday movie) but they never remarked on it. What they did notice was my very large surf bumps on my feet. I had gone to the medical in suede Desert Boots, which were the rage at the time and they asked me if I could wear leather boots, and I said I doubt it, so they got me to try a pair on, and I faked pain enough that they didn’t sign me up….relief! We had been losing about 3 or 4 soldiers a day in different skirmishes in Vietnam and I didn’t want to be part of it. I remember I hitched back to Yallingup and went out and had just the best surf. A big weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

SOCIAL

With a big LWE crowd in attendance it was not surprising that some anti-social behaviour occurred at Caves House pub on the Saturday Night.

Image: 1968 Media report on an alleged brawl at Caves House pub. Newspaper cutting courtesy of the daily News.

1968 Caves House Yalls pub brawl

A fun long weekend surfing & socialising in the South West was had by all.

Gallery

1970s Scarborough Beach

Scarborough Beach was the hub of metro surfing & social life in the 70s. Local surfers had their own surf shops, surf board clubs (North End, Scarborough, Boomerang & Contacio) and hotels (White Sands & Scarborough). The Scarborough Hotel built 1938 was demolished in mid 80s.

Photo: 1974 Scarborough Guest House replaced by Observation City Hotel. (now known as Rendezvous Hotel Perth, Scarborough). Vance Burrow pic.

1974 Scarb Guest Hse now Observ City Vance Burrow IMG

Photos: 1976 Scarborough Beach front. Ric Chan pic.
Top: (Left) busy beach break (Right) Scarborough car park looking north towards Threepenny reef.
Bottom: (Left) Gay Gordon hamburgers (Right) Ric Chan’s gold coloured Kombi parked in front of Gay Gordon.

1970s Scarborough beach front collage_photocat

Photos: 1970s Ric Chan’s rental house at Scarborough. Ric Chan pics.
Top: (Left) Firefighter controlling burn-off next to Ric’s place (Right) Ric & his red Jaguar next to his Scarborough rental.
Bottom: (Left) Mick Black (Right) Ric Chan on front verandah.

Steve CockburnRic worked as a DJ at The Sheraton Down Under Bar & Gobbles Night Club in Wellington Street Perth. I lived in a flat under his rented house at Scarborough while I was an architectural student & would often go into the clubs (gratis). Ric would come in about 4 am each morning, usually with a lovely women companion and would stomp on the wooden floors & often woke me up.

1970s Scarborough Ric Chans palce 4 collage_photocat

Photos: 1970s Surf industry personalities. Ric Chan pics
Top: (Left) Scarborough water shot. (Right) Murray Smith & Unidentified surfer.
Bottom: (Left) Tom Blaxell Surfboards Osborne Park. (Right) Gary Greirson Surfboards Osborne Park.

1970s Scarborough surfing 7 collage_photocat

Photos: 1970s Scarborough Beach surfing #1. Steve Hannett bottom left. Other surfers unidentified. Ric Chan pics.

1970s surfing Scarborough 1 collage_photocat

Photos: 1970s Scarborough Beach surfing #2. Steve Hannett bottom left. Other surfers unidentified. Ric Chan pics.

1970s Scarborough surfing 2 collage_photocat

Photos: 1970s Scarborough Beach surfing legends. Ric Chan pics.
Top: Terry Jacks (dec’d) on the beach and surfing.
Bottom: (Left) Hume Heatley (dec’d). (Right) Terry, Hume & unidentified.

1970s Scarborough wildlife 5 collage_photocat

Photos: 1970s Scarborough wild life #1. Ric Chan pics.
Top: (Left) Greg Laurenson (dec’d). (Right) unidentified beach girls.
Middle: (Left) Charles ‘Chuck’ Stewart (dec’d). (Right) Ric ‘flower power’ Chan.

1970s Scarborough wildlife 4collage_photocat

Photos: 1970s Scarborough wild life #2. Ric Chan pics.
Top: (Left) Coffin Cheaters. (Right) unidentified beach girls.
Bottom: (Left) fashion photo shoot unidentified girl. (Right) unidentified beach girl.

1970s Scarborough wildlife 3 collage_photocat

Photos: 1970s Scarborough wild life #3.
Top: (Left) Steve Mathews (Channel 9) with unidentified Band. (Right) Unidentified girl in Mini Minor – Ric Chan pics.
Bottom: (Left) Blue Nicholson, Prive Morris, Micko Gracie & Rex Biddle with Prive’s Fiat in Scarborough Beach Rd – Peter Mac pic. (Right) Dolphins Board Riders footy team at Deanmore park – Tom Blaxell pic.

1970s Scarborough wild life 7 collage_photocat

 

 

Gallery

1960s City Beach memorabilia

Students Peter Docherty and Viv Kitson started the City Beach Surf Riders Club (CBSR) in 1962. The Club is still running today.

Photo: 1963 Charlie Roper & Ernie Potter at CBSR Intra Club competition at Scarborough. Photo credit Ernie Potter.

1963 CBSR Charlie Roper & Ernie Potter Scarboro

Image: 1963 Terry Jacks (age 18) CBSR’s ‘favourite son’ surfing City Beach. Image courtesy of the Daily News.

1963 City Beach Terry Jacks surfing ex newspaper

Photo: 1963 CBSR young guns hanging out at Trigg Beach. L-R John Harbison, Lennie Kochanowitsch, Wayne Lynch & John Hanley. Photo courtesy of John Harbison.

1963 John Harbison, Lennie Kochanowitsch, Wayne Lynch and I think John Hanley at Trigg

Photo: 1964 City Beach Tea Rooms. CBSR’s unofficial head quarters. Photo courtesy of Robyn McDonald.

1964 City Beach Tea Rooms - Robyn Mac IMG_0003a

Photo: 1965 Ron Moss doing a head stand at City Beach. Ron is a Life Member of CBSR and it’s longest serving member. Photo credit Trevor Burslem.

1965 Ron Moss head stand City Beach T Burslem pic

 

 

Gallery

Peter Dyson & The Banned

In the mid 60s Peter Dyson was a member of the Yallingup Board Club and the lead singer in popular Perth band ‘The Banned’.

‘The Banned’ formed in 65/66 and played at Perth’s top night clubs including Pinocchio’s, Top of Town, Whisky a Go Go and the Top Hat in Northbridge.

Peter was the proud owner of a VW Kombi van. He used the van for surfing and transporting the band to gigs. There were times when the band practiced in the van in the back streets of Dalkeith.

In the following photo, Peter is using a home-made wooden step ladder to access Malibu surfboards on the roof rack of his van.

Photo: Mid 60s Dyso’s Kombi at Rocky Point. L-R John ‘Blue’ Burridge, Peter Dyson (on step ladder), Kevin Ager, Mick Maddren, John Balgarnie & Charlie Roper. John ‘Ned’ Franetovich is sitting on the boards. Photo courtesy of Peter Dyson.

mid 60s Rocky Pt John Burridge, Peter Dyson, Kevin Ager, Mick Maddren, John Balgarnie. Roo Dog, Ned F on roof. PD pic IMG_23

Peter was a talented surfer and finished 2nd to Mike Bibby in the 66 WA Winter Championships held at Scarborough.

Photo: 1966 Scarborough finalists WA Winter Championships L-R Maureen Farrell, John Pozzi, Mike Bibby, John Balgarnie, Peter Dyson, Terry Jacks & Eleanor Proud. Photo credit Trevor Burslem.

1966 Scarborough WA Winter Champs - T Burslem pic

In the 70s Peter served as a WASRA official along side President Tony Harbison and vice President Ken Trainer..

Photo: 1978 WASRA Surfing Awards presentation. L-R Peter Dyson, Ken Trainer & Mike McAuliffe. Photo credit Ric Chan.

1978 WASRA Surfing Awards P Dyson, Ken Trainer & M McAuliffe - Ric Chan 025

In the 80s Peter was involved in the entertainment business in Bali. Peter with his Balinese business partner known colloquially as ‘The King of Kuta’, ran the popular Casablanca, Peanuts & Manhattan night clubs in Kuta Bali. They held the first disco license in Bali and were very successful.

Photo: 1985 Bali. Peter Dyson outside the Casablanca Night Club in Kuta with Kath King & Fran Fimmano. Photo credit Jim King.

1985 Bali Kuta Casablanca Nightclub Peter Dyson. Kath King & Fran Fimmano - Jim KIng pic

In 1994 Peter Dyson was seconded into the Surfside Surf Team to compete in the annual Yallingup Malibu Surf Classic.  The boys were entertaining but did not win the Teams Challenge event.

Photo: 1994 Surfside Teamriders L-R Peter Mac, John ‘Tex’ Branch, Loz Smith and Peter Dyson enjoying Yal Mal Presentations at Caves House. Photo courtesy of Loz Smith.

1994 Yal Mal Surfside Team Riders Mac, Tex Branch, Loz & Peter Dyson. Loz pic DSC_1077

In 2014 Peter Dyson attended the Surfing Down South book launch held at Vasse Felix Winery in the SW.

Photo: 2014 Surfing Down South book launch. L-R Jim King, Kevin Merifield, Kevin Ager, Jim ‘Lik’ McKenzie, Peter Dyson & Ray Nelmes. Photo credit Loz Smith.

2014 SDS Book Launch IMGP3937 L-R Jim King, Kevin Merifield, Kevin Ager, Jim 'Lik' McKenzie, Peter Dyson & Ray Nelmes