Our History

Our History @ PYC

Alan McDonald - Club Founder

Alan's name graces the Club wall board as the Founder of the Club. Actually, a small group founded the Club, and that group originally sailed from Alan McDonald's bathing box which was located at the foot of Birdwood St in planked V.J.s in 1939. 

Alan was a very active person in the local area and was involved in many activities and organisations such as; The Mordialloc Citizens League, Mordialloc Tree Planters Association, Parkdale Kindergarten and Mordialloc City Council Library. Along with Club member Charles Healy, Alan negotiated with the Lands Department for the Club site. He played a leading role both in the Club and the Auxiliary for 25 years and certainly earnt the title of Father of the Club.

Club Founder Alan McDonald


Our Beginnings

Following the club formation in 1945 it was given permission the following year to erect a temporary clubhouse on the beach opposite Monaco Street. The land was obtained for the current site with occupancy "in perpetuity" for a rent of £1 per year but no permanent structure could be erected until the sea wall was constructed from the Mentone corner of Beaumaris Bay down beyond Monaco Street. In 1946, our first temporary clubhouse was constructed almost entirely from second-hand packing cases because building materials were in very short supply after the Second World War.

The first official clubhouse was approximately 12 feet square with a flat roof and boat racks on the northern side. It was built on piles which club members erected on a clay base beside an old concrete stairway which led from Monaco Street to the beach. Remains of this this stairway make up a part of the rock pile in front of the club to this day. Our Club had no protection from the big seas when westerly and southerly storms developed. Fences which were built across the front of the shed and racks were washed away with monotonous regularity. 

About 1950 the club obtained permission to put up a temporary boat storage shed with the emphasis clearly on temporary. Two large car importation packing cases were purchased for £25 and erected beside the Club, they were painted blue with two large swing doors constructed in the middle facing the beach painted yellow. 

First clubhouse built of second hand material. Source: City of Kingston.

  3 Foundation Skippers, Ken Cooke, Laurie McDonald, Donald Knights.

In the 1950s our Club membership had been declining but a membership recruitment drive brought about more than a doubling of our member number placing strain on our Club facilities and boat storage. The Club committee considered several options; the first was to gain the lease of the exisiting Mentone Baths for boat storage, the second was to extend the exisiting temporary facilities and the third was to build an entirely new clubhouse but this would require the construction of the sea wall. 

The wait for an announcement of the construction of the sea wall seemed interminable and the Club, having built up memberships steadily until the mid 1950s almost fell apart when leading members lost heart and moved to Chelsea and Mordialloc. Under the leadership of the then commodore Graham Walker along with the Auxiliary including Alan McDonald, Stella & Ray Whitford, Dave Evans Snr and Len Press, this core group of members rallied to provide finance and experience to bolster the club.

The annoucement of the building of the sea wall injected new life into the club and prompted the formation of a building sub-committee to develop plans for the erection of a new Club building on the foreshore. 

Second Clubhouse - 1960s

Building plans became the core of Club life and the need for money gave rise to the setting up of the Parkdale Yacht Club Co-Operative Society which provided the base for obtaining a government-backed loan. The sea wall was completed in the summer of 1962 and the club building was commenced in August 1963 with the hope that boat storage would be available in late October.

The Club decided to build in two stages, the ground first and in several years time the upper level. The contract for the first stage was signed by Jim Etheridge and Ray McMahon while Alan McDonald was appointed to be the Club Officer responsible to oversee the construction. Max Press produced the first concept for the upper storey. The ramp was cut into the cliff to provide access to the beach. The Club was restricted by the Board of Works and was not allowed to build on the bluestone wall along the back of the club, otherwise the building could have been extended towards Beach Road.

Originally a wire cage was constructed on the Mordialloc side of the new Club to store all the gear for the crash boat. The Club eventually obtained permission to brick it in and the area then became the men's dressing shed. 

The beginnings of the first stage, 1963. PYC Historical Photos.

First stage of building nears completion, 1963. Source: Leader Collection.

This building was paid in full by the Club's fundraising activities which included raffles, gala events and a debenture scheme. The Auxiliary was particularly active in fundraising which took on all sorts of aspects; Street Stalls in Parkdale Shopping Centre, Wine Tasting Nights, Progressive Dinners, Dinner Dances, Family Nights, Catering for Weddings and Parties, Square Dancing, Jam Making, Bingo Nights, Fashion Parades, and even a Book Fair. 

One raffle which produced $3,000 over three years was created by Ray Charter and was called the Blue and Gold Stars Club. The Club sold 250 tickets for $10 each or for $1 per week (10 payments) during the sailing season. To keep up the interest of the members, a weekly draw of $10 took place at each Sunday's briefing. This was done by using numbered wooden balls and a barrel, where members present would place a ball with their ticket number on it into the barrel prior to the draw. The final prize at the season was $1,000. The Blue and Gold Stars Club provided the core of the funds to pay for the ground of the second clubhouse.

Newspaper article about PYC Vision, costing and debenture scheme. 

Examples of fundraising efforts at PYC.

The Mayor of Mordialloc, Cr Cliff Sambell officially opened the ground floor of the clubhouse on October 27, 1963 alongside Parkdale Yacht Club Commodore Alan McDonald. After many years of planning, hard work and fundraising the second clubhouse has finally become a reality with plans for the addition of the second storey to be completed a few years later.

Official opening of second clubhouse. Source: Leader Collection.

Official opening of second clubhouse. PYC Historical Photos


Have you got some Parkdale Yacht Club history to share? We are all ears, please make contact with us by emailing secretary@parkdaleyc.com.