Concord & Ryde Sailing Club Inc

Life 1975


All of above nominated by Ted Kendrick at AGM 24th July, 1975 and accepted as Life Members. No details of their achievements were documented in the minutes but it is well known that they all gave many years of service to our Club in numerous capacities. Some were members of the Club from the very beginning so it was a fitting reward for them and the following are some relevant details of their efforts with our Club:

George Melrose

one of our founding fathers and according to his son, Don, George was not interested in accepting Executive roles in our Club. The Melrose family lived in Llewellyn Street close to the Club House. George involved himself in many other aspects of our Club and he was a Trustee, being one of the original 3, when a loan was secured from Concord Council in order to build the old boatshed (Club House) on Uhr’s Point. He remained as Trustee for many years until his death in 1976; he was also very active in the conduct of races as Starter/Umpire from day one of our existence, often being helped on the boat by Dick Oake or Clive Ellis, and holding this position until others took it over. George was a member of the Race Committee for the conduct of racing using his own boat for starting races until the Club bought its first starter’s boat around 1952/53. According to Don Melrose these boats were 16’ skiffs with in-board 2 stroke engines and were inclined to be troublesome if moisture got near the magneto, so this was usually removed before leaving the boat on the mooring. In those days boats of several classes were hard to right after a capsize – 12’ and 16’ skiffs, VS and Gwen 12. He was bestowed Life Membership for the enormous contribution that he made to our Club over many years.

George Melrose

Don Melrose

was a very early member of our Club and commenced sailing as an extra hand, bailer boy, in 16 feet Skiffs, firstly with Keith Brown in “Rona” and then with Trevor Gowland on “Tornado”, both of these are well known sailors. He then sailed with his brother, Eric, in a VJ called “Star” and then in later years sailed with his wife, Anne, in NS14s owning quite a few of them over time. Don was our Club President during the 1957-58 season as well as serving again in this capacity in 1965-66. For the 1964/65 season Don was “A” Division Class Captain.
He was also our Commodore for 4 seasons from 1967-68 to 1970-71 and also served as a Trustee for our Club for many years from 1976 until 1985/86; soon after this the Club became an Incorporated Body making such a position unnecessary. As well as Club duties he held positions in the NS14 Association of NSW. Don made a huge contribution to our Club in many areas until he left and he now lives in Tasmania. Reading through the old minute books it appears that he was involved in many aspects of Club life and made many suggestions about many matters including improvements in the Club’s rules.
He was also the person who put forward the idea of a “Back to Concord Reunion” held on 22nd November, 1981. Don thought it would be a good thing to get old members back to our Club to remember the beginnings of the CROSC 35 years prior before memories of its origin faded altogether. This was a very successful event. Whenever he is in Sydney he tries to make the effort to visit the Club and enjoys a talk about sailing and the old days. He is also a fount of knowledge and has been very helpful to me in chasing up historic matters of our Club. 

Lionel Ellis

was a member from the very early days and is listed as being a member of the Management Committee in our earliest minutes still held as was his father, Clive. In the time his father spent with our Club until he died in 1955, Clive was President in the second year of our Club and was the driving force behind the construction of the original Club House on Uhr’s Point - should he have lived longer I am sure that Clive would also have been nominated for Life Membership. However this was not to be and Lionel earned his nomination for the same drive for which Ellis family is known.
Lionel then served again as our President for 3 seasons 1952 to 1955. At the meeting held on 23rd July, 1955 Lionel volunteered his services to build a new rescue boat for the Club if the Club provided the materials and to raise the money several members each donated ₤10. Lionel must have worked hard on this task as the boat, fitted with an Austin 7 motor, was launched in October the same year. Lionel was one of the members who took over the starting duties after George Melrose gave it away. For the 1956-57 season Lionel served as Handicapper and Registrar; also it is possible that he may have been a Trustee for a period – I have been getting two different opinions on this matter.

Lionel Ellis

Mervyn Morgan

was very active in the Club in the early days and was Secretary for two years from 1949 to 1951. Mervyn also lived in Llewellyn Street near the Club House a few doors from the Melrose family, and was one of the original three Trustees of our Club. Like many other families who lived close to Concord & Rhodes Open Sailing Club his yard was the home to some of the Club members’ boats as they were not trailed in those days. Mervyn was secretary of our Club for 2 years 1949 to 1951. He then served as Treasurer for the 1954-55 season and may have held this position for further years as there are some gaps around this period as to who was our treasurer. He did not sail himself but was very interested in the Club and helped in many ways.
An anecdote about Merv, as he was known to most, was passed on to me by Don Melrose who said that Merv used to work for the Maritime Service Board. One day the Board put one of its boat up for sale, this was similar to a half cabin cruiser, so Merv bought it and named it “Bronze Wing”. At the time he could not swim and of course in those days personal buoyancy vests were unheard of for safety either generally or at our Club. One day whilst on the river Merv somehow fell off his boat and floundered in the water some 100 metres off shore. He eventually got to shore by scrambling along the bottom of the river and at intervals pushing himself up to get a breath of air. Eventually he made it to shore with no damage to himself but somewhere on the bottom of the river his false teeth took residence – they are probably still there under a lot of silt! This was not the reason for his Life Membership Award this being presented to him for all the efforts he made for the Club over the years.

Mervyn Morgan

Joan Pagett

came to our Club in 1969 with her family, Ross, Ivan, Martin and Narelle, when as youngsters they began sailing in Manly Juniors. She took a keen interest in the Club and its affairs becoming officially involved in 1971 when she was elected Convenor of the Ladies Auxiliary. She was tireless in her work in this area particularly the Canteen which in those days as rather primitive. The Canteen was a little alcove in the corner of the old Uhr’s Point Club House and little meant very tiny. There was no window and every time there was very high tide or a huge wave from a passing boat the floorboards would be under water. Each Saturday by 11.00 a.m. Joan and her little band of assistants would have lunches and afternoon teas ready for serving. One afternoon in the early 1980s a volunteer was needed to do the finishing so Joan jumped in to help here. This finishing task extended over the next few seasons – what stories she would have been able to impart of the old days. Mrs Pagett (as most people would have called her in her canteen days) passed away in February, 1992.

Jean Senior

from what I have been able to find Jean was very much like Joan Pagett in that she was a stalwart of our Club. Like many others she became involved at CRSC when her son, Graeme, sailed with our Club and she was also the Convenor of the Ladies Auxiliary, but the date of her appointment to this position is unknown. In her time in this position she would bring along cakes and slices every Saturday after spending time baking them at home. The Canteen in those days was rather primitive being a little alcove in the corner of the old Uhr’s Point Club House and little meant very tiny. 

Mrs Senior was described to me as being a person who was larger than life. Don Melrose told me she was a rouse-about type of person who helped in many areas and was very popular with the VJ boys almost like a mother figure to them. 

I am sure that both she and Joan Pagett would be surprised at the luxurious comparison of our current canteen when compared with the space where they worked in ‘the old days’. There was no window and every time there was very high tide or a huge wave from a passing boat the floorboards would be under water. Nothing edible could be left on the premises as very short work would be made of it by the little four-legged beasties that occupied our water front building.