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 On 1st January 1945 a charter was issued to form “The City of Fremantle Sub Section of Naval Association of Australia” (Originally known as The Ex Naval Mens Association).  This was the first charter issued by the Association in Western Australia.

Some of the members of the Association, namely Noel Murphy, Gus Lenz, Matte Wayman and others investigated the formation of a licensed club house with the Naval Association running the Club. 

The Navy Clubhouse was situated in 42 Cliff Street, Fremantle with the keys and money being left with the Dockyard Policeman at Naval Staff Office.

 The Inaugural Meeting of the Clubhouse was held on 23rd February, 1948 when election of officers took place.  Noel Arthur Murphy (President), Gustav T.P. Lenz, William Horace Paddon and Watson Wilkinson Wayman (Vice Presidents), Rowland George Roberts (Secretary), Robert William Bromley (Assistant Secretary), Albert George Ellement (Social Secretary), Eric George Hookway (Treasurer) and Percival Henry Paull, Samuel Boot, Ernest Arthur Humfreys,  Stanley William Jones, Roy Dick, Bernard James Hughes, Henry Silver Burge and Frederick Henry Taylor (Committee members).

 

The first drinks over the bar were soft drinks at 3d per glass and Dry Ginger at 6d per bottle.

At a meeting held on Tuesday 9th March, 1948 Club Rules were presented and adopted by members pending the approval of the Licensing Court.

On 3rd April, 1948 the Club held its first Ladies Night and tapped its first 10 gallon keg.

 Advice was then received that the Club would need to be reconstituted to be awarded a liquor license.

Under the laws of the day “The Club” could not be restricted to just ex Naval or Naval members. An ideal number of 400 members was also listed.  (This proved extremely difficult).

At a Special General Meeting held on Friday 30th April, 1948 W. Wayman proposed the names of 109 members (en block). His motion was seconded by R. Dick. These members were granted Foundation Membership of The Navy Club. From this point members, other than Naval Association Members were accepted into the Navy Club.

Following the reconstitution of the Club in order to comply with the conditions of the Licensing Act, “Navy Club Incorporated” applied for a license on 10th May, 1948.

 On 29th June, 1948 bottled beer was sold for 1/8 and a billiard table was installed.

In January 1949 Mr W.H.Taylor presented an Historical piece of “Pluto” (a coupling from the pipeline laid across the English Channel during the Second World War).  “Pluto” has always held an important place in the Club.

 

The first Annual General Meeting of Navy Club Inc., held on 17th June 1949, was presided over by the President N.A. Murphy.  The Committee had been kept very busy meeting on 22 occasions during the year.

Ladies’ annual Christmas Parties were commenced in December 1949.

Also late in 1949, the City of Fremantle Sub Section was presented the task of instituting a Memorial Service for HMAS PERTH.  Navy Office was asked to assist by supplying the official list of Western Australian survivors.  26 names were supplied.

Each survivor was written to and a meeting was called at the Cliff Street premises of the Navy Club. 

From this meeting there was full support to assist the City of Fremantle sub section with an annual church service to be held at St John’s Church, Fremantle on the last Sunday in February.

The first parade and Service was held in February 1950 with 22 survivors attending with members of City of Fremantle Sub Section.

 (This tradition continues to this day with HMAS PERTH Association assisting in the arrangements for the annual church service).

In February 1952 a plaque was erected in St John’s Church and dedicated to men of HMAS PERTH.  This dedication was made by the Archbishop of Perth Dr Moline. The service was broadcast for the first time and attended by The Governor of Western Australia, Sir Charles Gairdner who spoke to each survivor after the service.

The Navy Club joined the Fremantle Darts Association for the first time in April 1953.

The first major expansion of the Club took place when the lower part of 40 Cliff Street was taken over by the Club on 1st June 1953.  Alterations to the Bar-Lounge, Billiard Room and building took place in August and September 1953.

October 1955 saw an extra temprite, new engine unit and 17 extra feet of bar refrigeration installed.

In February 1956 at their reunion, the HMAS PERTH survivors presented to the City of Fremantle Sub Section a Dolphin mounted on polished jarrah with the appropriate inscription on two plates.  This was presented by Charlie Thompson on behalf of his shipmates.

 

In November 1956, the Secretary reported that he was following up a report that the Masonic Hall in Marine Terrace and the adjoining vacant block may be on the market.  The Committee decided that the corner of Mouatt Street and Marine Terrace would be an excellent location for the new club and instructed the Secretary to do his utmost to buy this site.

The agreement covering the purchase of the Masonic Building and vacant block of land for 10,500 pounds was drawn up in April 1957 and the following month Mr John Fitzhardinge of Forbes and Fitzhardinge was requested to submit drawings of a complete new Club and renovations of the Masonic Building, together with approximate costs.

In June 1957 it was resolved to accept the plans submitted by Mr John Fitzhardinge in principle and a building sub-committee comprising of A.G. Ellement, L. Jardine and E. Waring (ex Army) were given the power to carry on with the responsibility of calling tenders for the erection of the new portion of the building and the necessary renovations.

August 1957 saw the acceptance of a tender by W. Potter & Co.  of 9,566 pounds for the building of the new portion of the Club.  This tender did not include the building of the bar and installation of refrigeration.

In September 1957 it was decided to make a feature of the new bar and Ellis Waring (ex Army) proposed it be built in the form of a boat.  Mr Alf Bragg was asked to submit models and build the final bar.

( A cartoon of Ellis at the bar with Drake and Nelson looking on, is displayed on the Observation Deck - The cartoon is displayed courtesy of Ellis daughter)

The Secretary was instructed to make enquiries and given the power to arrange the necessary financial assistance that would be required to carry out the building programme.

This proved rather difficult due to the credit squeeze of the time, but in December 1957 the Club were very thankful to the Fremantle Branch of National Bank of Australasia (now NAB) when arrangements were finalized for the Club to overdraw 9,500 pounds.  This, together with the cash assets of the Club and the amount expected  to be loaned by members by way of debentures, was considered sufficient to carry out the building programme.

The Marine Terrace site was completed in 1958 and was officially opened by Naval Officer In Charge Western Australia (Commodore J.C. Morrow) on 4th October, 1958 at 3pm.

A “Ladies Plate Night” dance was held in the evening from 7.30pm to 11.45pm

The Officers and Committee of the New Club were:

President: A.G. Ellement, Vice Presidents: P.H. Paull, R. Rutland, and F. Metcalf.  Committee: J.C. Adams, C. Mews, L.T. Jardine, A.H. Gartrell, O.H. Nicholls, A.K. Cromwell and J.F. Rankin. The Immediate Past President was M.L. Bird and Social Secretary K. Mitchell.

Staff In the New Club: Secretary: Ellis Waring, Stewards Bill Perkins, Stan Rear, and Paddy Whelan.

The cook was Mrs. O. Seeber

In the programme of the opening of the new Club, Ron Warr, President of the City of Fremantle Sub Section of Naval Association of Australia aknowledged the work done by the Committee of Management of the Navy Club.  He thanked them for helping the Sub Section  fullfill its ambition for the HMAS PERTH Memorial Service and congratulated them on achieving their goal of forming a new Navy Club.  The Sub Section looked forward to ongoing association with the new Navy Club.

In February, 1961 MHR Kim Beazley snr. presented both the Fremantle City Council and the Navy Club with souvenirs from HMAS FREMANTLE.  The ship’s bell and one nameplate were presented to the Fremantle City Council and the other nameplate was presented to the Navy Club.

Between 1958 and the 1993 the Club went through some very difficult financial situations from time to time.  Particularly as older members either died or did not renew their membership for various reasons. 

In 1977/78 “Alby’s Bar”, named after Albert Ellement, was built as an extension on the floor above the main bar.   Alby used to run a Goose Club into which members put 2 shillings per week enabling them to receive a hamper at Christmas which included a ham.

On 14th September, 1981 Brum Carroll from the Royal Yacht Britannia presented a plaque to the Navy Club. 

On 4th June, 1983 The Royal Marines Association Western Australia received their charter which is on display near the Function Room entry and where they have some of their memorabilia. 

With members passing on, or not renewing membership, the cost of maintaining the Marine Terrace Heritage site was becoming harder.  A steering committee was formed to look for another home preferably nearer to the centre of town and close to all forms of public transport.

At a Special Committee Meeting held on Wednesday 21st April, 1993 the President (Ralph Clarke) stated that the steering committee had received a formal offer to buy the Navy Club at 26 Marine Terrace and for the Navy Club to buy the top two floors of 64 High Street.  It was agreed that the steering committee comprising of Ralph Clarke, Ted Lewis, Ian Newton and Craig Gorham meet with Mair and Co Sales Manager, Peter Walden on 26th April, 1993.

The Navy Club moved to our current premises on 9th December, 1993.

On 17th September, 1995 The Royal Naval Assocation Western Australia received their charter and meet at the Club in the afternoon of the first Tuesday of each month. 

In 2008, Mr Ron Stout, Secretary of the Day, arranged a grant under the “Saluting Their Service Commemorations Grants”  for the Royal Australian Navy display in the Function Room foyer.

The display cabinet contains original memorabilia donated by veterans or their families.

Ron also organized a display honouring Leon Goldsworthy, the most decorated Naval Officer of the second world war.  This was unveiled by the then Chief of Navy (Vice Admiral Russ Crane) in 2009.

Due to the passing of members and age of the few left, the City of Fremantle Sub Section elected to disband in early 2008.  However, the Naval Association of Australia saw the importance of this sub section and challenged a new younger President and Secretary to form a Committee and get members.  This has proved most successful and the Sub Section is currently one of the fastest growing in Australia. 

On 6th May 2011 the Fairmile Association honoured the Navy Club and City of Fremantle Sub Section by unveiling a plaque in memory of the Fairmiles based in Fremantle during the Second World War. Over 120 dignitaries and guests attended the unveiling and dedication ceremony.

In November 2011, a group of Sub Section members visited Geraldton for the ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the sinking of HMAS SYDNEY II. 

 Whilst there we were fortunate enough to meet up with the family of Able Seaman Benjamin Barker. They had his ‘dog tag’ which he left behind when urgently ordered to join HMAS SYDNEY on 1st November, 1941.  The family were adamant that they wanted this preserved in Fremantle, Western Australia from where HMAS SYDNEY departed.

 Following the church service for HMAS PERTH on 26th February, 2012 and with the agreement of the Perth survivors, the HMAS SYDNEY memorial was unveiled alongside that of her sister ship HMAS PERTH.  It was dedicated by Chaplain Steve Gunther, RAN. 

 (Between 19th November, 1941 and 1st March 1942 Australia lost over 1000 young sailors in these two cruisers).

LEST WE FORGET