Club History

THE HISTORY OF THE PHGFC

This is a summary of the Port Hacking Game Fishing Club History compiled by one of your club’s Life Members John McIntyre – who is also a noted author, researcher and historian within the game fishing fraternity. It was compiled in 1999 so some of the references are slightly outdated now.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF GAME FISHING FROM PORT HACKING, NEW SOUTH WALES.

LOCATION: S 34.05.06 E 151.11.30

Whilst Port Hacking and the adjacent ocean waters had yielded outstanding catches of kingfish, snapper, tailer and jewfish (mulloway) since settlement in the early 1800’s, the first recorded reference to ocean game fishing dates back to 1906.

In an article printed in the “Rod Fishers Gazette”, the magazine of the pioneering Club of the same name in December 1939, Dr Geoffrey Maitland recounted his first fishing outing as a child in the company of his father Dr (later Sir) Herbert Maitland, Australia’s leading surgeon in the early years of the 20th century.

The Maitland family had a holiday home on Port Hacking River, as did a number of other prominent Sydney families. The account tells of fishing outside the Port in his father’s Santa Catalina style launch in pursuit of game fish. This was when Geoffrey Maitland was aged 7 and the year was 1906.

Mention is made of Dr Maitland (Senior) and his fishing companion Mr C.H. Gorrick in the November 1916 edition of “The Australasian Traveller” wherein these gentlemen are credited with catches of tuna to 45 pounds, kingfish, salmon, tailer, sharks and barracuda in various areas, including off Botany and Cronulla.

From this time until the late 1930’s there is no available record of game fishing from the Port, but we can be certain that there were anglers seeking game fish and sharks during this time. In 1936 a local newspaper made brief mention of a discussion at Sutherland Shire Council on a proposal to extend an invitation to the famous visiting US angler Zane Grey to fish the waters off Port Hacking. No mention is made whether such an offer was subsequently extended to Mr Grey. At this time his fishing exploits off the NSW coast were so well publicised that his every triumph made national headlines.

Apparently a game fishing club was formed under the auspices of the Royal Motor Yacht Club, Port Hacking Division, in 1938. The formation is briefly described in the Silver Anniversary booklet published by the RMYC in 1959. A weighing gantry was erected adjacent to the Gunnamatta Bay, Cronulla, clubhouse on a section of reef jutting out from the shoreline in a location now occupied by a large slipway.

In the January 1939 edition of the magazine “Angling and Gun Sport”, a report of a visit by several leading lights of the game fishing division of the NSW Rod Fishers Society to Port Hacking noted that: “an outing was held from the Club rooms (RMYC Cronulla) on Sunday January 15th, when the following anglers took part: Milton Kent, Max Lawson, Ken Wheeler, Sturt Griffiths, E. Hunt, F.K. Porter (President of the Club), E. Moore (Hon. Secretary), Caption C.C. Logan MBE, T.G.A. Harle, C. Daly, J. Kelshaw, W. Beat, E. Hill, H. Peel, B. Yates, Hunt Jr and L.S. Brookes.

On the previous afternoon fires had swept the district but fortunately the Club House had been saved, although the fire was still smouldering outside the club’s fences at 8 o’clock the next morning. The Club House is situated on an ideal spot, overlooking Gunnamatta Bay, ten minutes run from the open sea”.

Apparently the weather was poor and as a result no fish were captured but the level of hospitality extended by the Club was favourably reported.

Presumably the game fishing division languished during World War 2 and it appears not to have been resurrected after the cessation of hostilities in 1945.

The “modern era” of Game fishing from Port Hacking dates from the formation of the present Port Hacking Game Fishing Club (PHGFC) at a meeting held at the home of Captain C.C. Logan MBE, in Cronulla on August 27th, 1953.

Captain Logan was a distinguished master mariner and fishing enthusiast who had canvassed the formation of a club amongst people who may have been interested. In the event, seven attended the inaugural meeting whereupon a constitution and set of rules was agreed. Captain Logan was elected President and his son, Charles Logan, was appointed as delegate to the NSW Game Fishing Association, a prerequisite to recognition as an official club and an affiliate. Initial subscriptions were 2 Guineas for male members and I Guinea for lady and junior members.

The first years of the PHGFC were a struggle for the early members. Captain Logan and his committee attempted to recruit new members from the local boating community and foster enthusiasm amongst the small number of existing members.

The subsequent election of the late Frank Lipanovich as President in 1958, following the decision by Captain Logan to retire to northern NSW, provided a person who by his strong leadership and outstanding fishing ability was to guide the fledgling Club during its formative years. When not President, he was variously Vice President or Committee member for nearly 20 years.

The growth of the Club was assured from 1960 onwards in the 40 years since then PHGFC has been an important member of the NSW and Australian game fishing scene.

Members of the PHGFC currently hold 41 Australian records and a number of IGFA World records. The Club’s oldest World and Australian record was also the first by a PHGFC Member and remains the record. Mrs June Turnbull’s 1173lbs (533Kgs) Tiger Shark on 80lb (37Kg) line was caught from Frank Lipanovich’s “Adriatic” on March 24th, 1963.

Since the formation of the Club in August 1953, Members have had 12 IGFA World and 63 Australian records ratified. There has been an increased emphasis on the tagging and releasing of sharks and game fish over the past 10 years and this trend is obvious in the booming tag and release competition within the Club.

The Club’s growth since formation has been gradual rather than spectacular and probably mirrors the growth of Sydney’s economy. Membership has waxed and waned during this time, peaking at 248 in 1994 – 95 Year, with the maximum number of vessels on the register being 46 in 1969 – 70 Year. Current membership is a healthy 202 with 31 boats registered.

This is an extract from the history of the Club that covers some 26 pages. Should you wish to read the entire document please contact John via the committee or leave a message on the web site and John will contact you.