On the 19th January 1937 24 people attended a meeting convened by John Kingswell Lloyd at the Soldiers Memorial Hall in Bairnsdale with the purpose of forming a motor boat and sailing club. After it was agreed to proceed, Robert Simpson moved that the name of the club be the Gippland Lakes Yacht Club, and Ralph Sinclair Thomson was elected as its President. Subsequently A. Holden became the first Commodore, to be followed by RS Thomson in 1938. William D’Avila Tilley, a jeweller and pawnbroker who retired to Paynesville in the mid thirties, offered $100 by way of an interest free loan to construct and equip a clubhouse. He also offered land at Sunset Cove, adjacent to his property Linton on Newlands Backwater, as a site for the new club. For his generosity, Bill Tilley became the first Life Member of the GLYC in 1938.
Mrs Annie Thomson (wife of the Commodore), cut the ribbon at the opening day ceremony on Dec 3rd 1938. The names of the people present are listed on the WD’A Tilley page. The boats sailed in the pre-war period included JK Lloyd’s ‘Monsoon’ a 14′ cedar dinghy previously owned by Jock Sturrock, ‘Boomerang’, and ‘Hiker’.
The Club went into recess during the 2nd World War, and recommenced in March 1945, at which time the balance of Bill Tilley’s loan was repayed.
In 1947, in response to Else Tilley’s request that the Clubhouse be removed from Sunset Cove, Club stalwart Charles Gordon Drummond arranged for it to be relocated to it’s present site. The original clubhouse was dismantled and carried along a track cleared along the foreshore, and erected on a block behind Main Street. It was then redesigned and extended. To minimise public outcry, the new club house was then transferred from it’s construction site to the current foreshore location in a single weekend by a crew of members led by Charlie in what must have surely been the biggest working bee the Club has ever seen.
As the Club moved into the post war era, Douglas Gordon Potter, whose boat ‘Four Winds’ is commemorated by the trophy for the Ocean Grange race, became a prominent member of the committee, serving as Vice-Commodore, Secretary, and Treasurer for a total of 22 years. He was made a Life Member in 1969.
Read more about these important people who did so much to make the club what it is today, and other well known identities such as Bill Whelpton. Thanks must go to long time GLYC member Leigh Robinson for preparing the notes, and to Jo Underwood for initiating the series which originally appeared in the Wanderer.