VICTORIAN OUTBOARD CLUB
The Foundation of the Club
How did it all come about.
During the early years of the 1950’s Stan Mudford and Ray Dowling were going up to Echuca to race with the local speed boat club members which consisted of mainly of inboard owners. They next turned their attention to something closer to home and through word of mouth they were able to find more people in the Preston Northcote area who had boats and very old outboard motors who had similar desires as themselves.
While these guys were racing in the Northern suburbs, another group down the bay were using the flood prone water seepage ponds at the sandpits in Armstrong Rd. Seaford, among these were Kelvin Hosking, Earl Krieger and a young eighteen year old Joe Cameron. All keen to race their small boats around, but looking for more people with similar interests
We must remember that most of the available outboard motors were pre- war of 1930- 1939 vintage with a few ex Army 22hp Johnson’s which were designated as POLR models, made in Canada during 1943 thru 1945. Although these engines had the ‘R’ in the model they were definitely not built as racing engines These were produced for the war effort as barge motors with ‘L’ long shafts, about 25 inch. transom height.
Again the name, Stan Mudford appears as he was responsible for many of these motors being converted down to about 15 inch for racing runabout use.
However, from about 1954 onwards, the more enterprising and more financial people were finding ways around the limited importation conditions.
Some Johnson 25 hp models were coming into the country and our members who were in the “know” were able to obtain the them. Also some 1954 model Mercury 4 cyl. Mk40’s found their way into Victoria, later followed by the very popular 4 cylinder Mercury Mk55 models of 1956 onwards were now coming into the country and were eagerly sought out by our members.
‘OMC’ Outboard Motor Corporation, the manufactures of the Evinrude / Johnson range of motors were being left behind in the horsepower race forcing the to introduce the 30hp, the later a 35hp and once again whilst still lagging behind in the horse power ratings they had now introduced the 40hp. These motors were all still only twin cylinder and failed tho have the smooth running power of the Mercury outboard motors
The First Meeting of the club.
The first meeting is believed to have taken place at the ‘Rudder Grange’ Boat Shed operated by Clive Caporn on the Yarra River at Fairfield some time during 1954.
Who was there ?
Clive Caporn, Kevin Ades, Stan Mudford, George Hanson, Ray Dowling ,
Hec Frankel, Harry Tate, John Young, Harley Mehegan and a fellow named Kevin Raleigh although he never followed on with it.
A little later on in time Geo. Hanson found a newspaper cutting, that was about a group of guys racing boats on the sand pits near Armstrong Rd. Seaford.
It was Kelvin Hosking’s idea to advertise to see if anyone else was interested in racing outboard boats. Kelvin had an old ‘Elto’ Quad 4 cylinder engine and Joe Cameron had a 10 hp Lockwood outboard.
This introduced Kelvin Hosking, Earl Krieger, and Joe Cameron to the club
When was the first meeting ?
Probably early to mid 1954
Stan Mudford has a copy of the original Club Constitution , which contains two valuable leads to the formation date :- I have reproduced it in the back of this document.
1. The first clue is in Article # of the Constitution which states that :-
“Full Members “shall be those accepted for membership prior to November 1955. Now, when we consider this, it could and probably means that the first full year of existence dates from November the previous year of 1954.
2, The next Clue if found in the Rule 1 attached to the Constitution which states :-That the annual general meeting shall be held not later than the fourth week in July
My logic is this, The club was formed in 1954 and it is not logical to have Office Bearers and the Club management changing over the summer months when the members were going to be actively engaged in the boating program.
Hence the choice of July for the AGM and change of management.
And finally these Foundation members would have paid some form of fee to start the club and it is logical that they would see themselves at the end of the first year of
existence as the first full members, hence the inclusion of the November date.
Also a Constitution would be drawn up during the first year ie 1954 – 55
These years however definitely tie in with marriage dates and the ages of the people that I have spoken with as I tried to seek information on the early years
Early Club Management
I have had to rely upon other peoples memories and to date this is the best I can come up with
And I believe John Young was the first Commodore,
Others to serve as Commodore Hec Frankel Dr. Ken Burnside Commodore 1961-62
Vice-Commodore, Harley Mehegan , Bill Marris
Rear –Commodore John Moore
George Hanson was the Foundation Secretary.
Treasurer, Tom Jephcott Snr
Names like Bill Green , Ernie Preston,
Russell Rhodes social secretary
Edwards Park Lake
I believe the racing on Edwards Park Lake started in 1955, but it could have been earlier. George Hanson is believed to be responsible for the approval to use the lake. Sometime mid 1960’s we were banned because of megaphone noise from the little Anzani’s and Konig’s. Stock motors were ok. But we were forced off the lake by local residents complaining of the noise on the Sunday race days.
Limitations on how often the Club could use Edwards Park lake was also a factor.
This meant that the Club was forced to continually seek out other venues:- they were many and varied up and across the State of Victoria, names like Waranga Basin or Reservoir, at Rushworth, via Murchison East. Lake Modewarre out from Geelong and Lake Bolac down in the Western district.
Then there was the Hume Weir at Albury, Lake Eildon Pondage below the Weir wall near the Eildon Township.
Also we used several privately owned lakes, places such as Twin Lakes up near Ballarat.
The Mercury models, seemed to be able to dominate the racing aspect of out-boarding, this was because of their ‘H’ models. The H for ‘Hydro-Short’ designation were outboard motors that were specially built for racing, namely the 20H, 30H, 40H, 55H and the classic Mk75H which was a 6 cylinder 60 hp motor with a racing leg and gear box. Only one of these motors was known to have found its way into Australia.
We first saw this motor at Wagga Wagga, NSW in the 1960 Australian championships. It was owned by Ronald Boggs, the Commodore of the Sydney based Australian Outboard Club and it dominated the ‘Unlimited Class Racing’.
It was not until about 1960 when Australian companies were able to gain import licences and agencies for the OMC brands, Johnson / Evinrude and the Mercury range of ‘Jewelled Power’ were becoming freely available.
These brands were now being followed by Scott Atwater later as Mc.Culloch, Gale, West Bend, and some of the lesser known European and British brands, Archimedes, Penta and the small powered British Sea Gull,
Then we saw the arrival of the German built ‘Konig’ racing engines , also the small powered British ‘Anzani’ racing engines. These engines were keenly sort after by the more dedicated racers because they had extremely high engine RPM and were capable of high speeds on the lighter built ‘B’ and ‘C’ class boats.
However most of the racing members with the desire for speed opted for the Mercury Mk 20H a twin cylinder powered 20 cubic inch motor with the short ‘H’ leg and the slim line ‘Quicksilver gear box with the 1:1 gear ratio that increased the propeller speed up to that of the engines RPM.
Whilst others looked to the Mercury, four cylinder 40 cubic inch Mk 55H with the short ‘H’ leg and the slim line ‘Quicksilver gear box with the 1:1 gear ratio.