Woollahra Sailing Club had a very humble beginning. It was founded at a meeting on the 8th of May 1953 by some very enthusiastic Moth Class sailors resonating from the Woollahra Municipality, with Victor Friezer becoming President – and Henry Arthur being appointed Club Captain. Racing during this period was typically conducted on Sunday mornings and consisted of no more than seven or eight boats sailing short courses in Rose Bay.
In December 1958, Woollahra Sailing Club underwent a decisive change. It moved locations from a shed near the Rose Bay Police Station and took up occupancy over the other side of the Bay in the old RAAF officers’ Canteen Building of the Rose Bay Flying Boat Base which was leased to the Club by Woollahra Council. Until 1974, the appearance of the Club house was that of a humble weatherboard building. Smaller boats were stored inside, with a number of the larger boats being stored on the grassed area. With the acquisition of the new Club House, membership numbers soared.
In 1964 the first sailing camps were conducted over the Christmas/New Year break. The camps focused on teaching the skill, and some say, the art of sailing to beginners, just like the camps we run today. Emphasis during this time was placed highly on competitive sailing at the Club, and as a result we have since produced many state, national, and Olympic champions. Additionally, the Club involved itself heavily in the administration of important regattas for many different classes, with the Woollahra Sailing Club Annual Regatta in 1968 being the high point, drawing 509 entries in 27 classes.
In the late 1970’s with membership and boat numbers continuing to increase and the proposed redevelopment of Lyne Park, the Club acquired a special lease until 2021 and embarked on the construction of a new Club house and adjoining facilities. The construction begun in 1980 and required the relocation of the Club house back from its previous position where it hugged the foreshore (near our current jetty) in order to make way for a public walkway. The new and current Club house was built first as a large terracotta brick structure which is bisected by a long sloping glass pane.
Later on, all the other amenities, such as boats racks, etc., were added until 1984 when construction on the site ceased.
Today, the Club house remains pretty much how it was seen in 1984, though admittedly some modifications have since taken place: such as the renovation of the Wharf and the new crane which was financed mainly by the Olympic training fees from the British, Swedish, New Zealand, and Italian Sailing Federations. The Club house has also seen some changes with recent polishing’s to the café in 2014 and new bi-fold doors and awning opening up the beautiful views of Rose Bay for members’ to enjoy.
With Sydney winning the Olympic bid for 2000, Woollahra Sailing Club welcomed a large influx of Overseas Teams requiring boat space together with various facilities and services in order to train for the Olympics on Sydney Harbour. The apex of this influx was In December 1999, where there were hundreds of sailors and boats occupying the Club from no less than 23 different nations.
Woollahra Sailing Club enters the New Millennium and its 57th Year with a sense of pride over its past and a clear vision for the years ahead. The Current Committee continues to navigate the Club into a bright and prosperous future- upholding the image of Woollahra Sailing Club being one of the most impressive dinghy sailing clubs in Australia.