History of Koombana Bay Sailing Club
The Bunbury Sailing Club was set up after a man called John Allen arrived in town and enquired about a
sailing club. Finding there wasn’t one, he enlisted the help of two friends and set the wheels in motion to
build the club as it is known today.
The inaugural meeting of the Bunbury Sailing Club was held on 29th August, 1954, at the Bunbury Rowing
Club. John Roberts chaired the meeting and John Allen was elected Secretary-Treasurer. The foundation
membership was fixed at two guineas and the fee for juniors was one guinea. Associate (lady) members were
charged half a guinea. All members who joined the club that season were foundation members.
A bank account was opened in the club’s name with ES & A Bank, Bunbury.
At the second meeting on 12th September, 1954, other officers were elected for the following season.
John Roberts and John Allen were re-elected to their positions, while H Grayson was elected Handicapper,
Norm Parker the Sailing Officer and W Asser the Publicity Officer.
The club opening was set for 4th December 1954, allowing members time to procure boats, mainly from
Perth, and get acquainted with them. In the early days the club consisted of VJ’s (Vaucluse Juniors) and the
prices ranged from £45-£60 second hand.
Land was secured after approaching the Council about using one of the old camping huts on the North Shore.
After securing a loan of £200, club members built the first clubhouse, purchasing a tubular steel frame from
Tubular Steel Constructions of Fremantle for £83/10/-.
On Saturday 4th December 1954, the Bunbury Sailing Club on the North Shore was officially opened by Bunbury Mayor FJ Withers.
A marquee was erected to shelter visitors and guests, afternoon tea was provided, and more than 100 spectators watched the yachts contest the club’s first race of two three-mile laps. The winner was John Roberts’ “Mustang”, followed by H Grayson’s “Trip” and L&R Healy’s “Audacious”.
At the 8th General Meeting on December 18th 1954, it was decided to re-name the club “Koombana Bay Sailing Club”. A Constitution and sailing regulations were read and accepted. Norman Parker was elected Commodore.
In four short months the club had obtained land, built a clubhouse, had on the membership roll 34 members both senior and junior, and seven associate members.
By the end of the first season an annexe was added to the clubhouse as a galley and the original bank loan was repaid. Sharpies were being bought into the sailing programme for the following season.
Club Changes Guard
Len Townsend was elected Commodore between 1955-1958 and carried the club through the hard years. He did his utmost to prevent the decline of the club in what were very trying times. Well known local identity, Newton Roberts, was elected Commodore in 1958.
In 1959, Lightweight Sharpies came along to replace the Heavyweights. The first lightweight Sharpie in Bunbury was “Robese”, sailed by Colin Goodlad.
Well known local Doctor, Derm Foster was elected Commodore from 1963-1965, with the man who kicked off the club, John Allen, taking over the reigns from 1965 – 1967.
These years saw the building and opening of a new clubhouse after the club secured a $12,000 loan and built a $25,000 facility. Ten years of intense negotiation had secured a land grant in the current location. The new clubhouse was opened by WA Premier Sir David Brand on 5th March 1967.
During these years a permanent jetty and a launching ramp was built. Andy Jamieson and a group of helpers used a system of slipping cruisers by dragging them out of the water on jinkers with his Foden truck.
Norman Parker returned as Commodore during 1967-1968, with Laurie Armstrong appointed Commodore from 1969-1971. Bob Legget served in the top position from 1971 – 1973, followed by club stalwart and former trustee, Colin Goodlad.
The club hosted a number of sailing titles during the 1970’s, including the 35th Commonwealth VJ titles, the 18th Skate National titles.
With such a solid foundation, is it any wonder the club has grown and prospered.
07.09.1921 – 15.12.2016
Tim Lee Steere
Commodore: Stuart Thompson
Immediate Past Commodore: Jon Birch
Vice Commodore: Ian Anderson
Rear Commodore Sailing: Darrin Tinley
Rear Commodore Business: Russell Batley
Rear Commodore Juniors: David Pilbeam
Membership Officer: Pending
Treasurer: Sheree French