Stan was a merry lad. Born around 1926, he grew up in South Perth on Suburban Rd (now Labouchere Rd) near the Zoo and may have been contemporaries of the Goss and Nevard families. He was sailing mad, and with a river at his feet, he needed no invitation to get onto the water.

As all children of that period did, he probably experimented with a corrugated iron canoe, sealed with road-building pitch and perhaps a couple of planks to act as a seat. A couple of old broomsticks, some wire for stays, and a couple of gunnysacks stitched laboriously together helped you have a sail that could help propel you downwind. If you carefully picked your breezes, you could go down the river on the easterly and return on the sea breeze, but many a ride home was spoilt by the mast snapping strength of the early summer sou-westers.

But all of this fell into disarray as the war years intervened, and sailing was forbidden on the Swan River as the Flying Boats used the river as a landing area. But there were other distractions, and the scouting movement claimed Stan, and he rose through the achievement levels to become a King’s Scout; though he never actually got the medal, he could still claim in his heart that he was a King’s Scout. As many young men did, he joined the services and went to war, serving in the Navy on a destroyer, HMAS Nizam, where he had several adventures related to the ship’s history.

Once the war had finished and his service on HMAS Nizam complete, our enterprising young Stanley, now in his early 20s, headed off to New Guinea, where he was kept busy. Still, on his return, he came across a young lady named Dorothy from the eastern states, married her and re-established himself as a participant and sailor out of SPYC. It’s a little unsure, but it’s believed that he bought a 14-foot boat. However, we must assume he did because we haven’t received complete records.

But Stan had a camera, and that’s where this story began. We were offered some photographs labelled 1946 by a club member who had passed them on to him. A quick review of the photos confirmed their authenticity, but they were singular. They showed the clubhouse from different angles, and it’s rather refreshing to see someone else’s viewpoint. Unfortunately, they are copies of copies, and rather than being, as Stan thought, the photo was taken around 1946, shows the club with a full veranda, and the moorings are teeming with boats. It was probably taken around the mid-1950s, and if you look at the John Wheeler photograph, you can see the club’s appearance from the club jetty around that period.   

Stan died four years ago at the age of 94, and Dorothy, his wife of many years, was delighted to recall her years with him. They lived out their retirement years in Kelmscott, and while we can’t question him more closely, we can at least thank him for these images of our early years.     

Rick Steuart  

For the Archives and History team.