Club History



Our club has quite a long history and it all began back in 1979 when two men happened to meet on the Maroochy river.

When Ron Fox arrived on the coast in 1979, he brought a model with him and began to look for other modellers in the area. Searching for twelve months without any luck he began to think that he was the only one here, until one day a customer walked in to his business saw his model in the workshop and told him that he saw one like it on the Maroochy River.

After much questioning Ron found out the spot to which he was referring and set about investigating it. Driving past one day he saw a rather tall fellow holding what looked like a transmitter. Immediately he stopped and walked over introducing himself, he struck up a conversation about his model. It was a nice model of the DICKEY, the famous wreck the beach was named for near Caloundra. The mans name was Neil Dowsett. After explaining to him that he too was a modeller Neil invited Ron back to his home just across the road.

What Ron saw amazed him. In his garage were four very large paddle wheelers under construction and a model of the NAUTILUS. Neil explained that modelling was his job and hobby and the paddlers were for a museum. Neil went on to build 35 paddle wheelers for the museum. Together they formed a small modelling group that sailed on the Maroochy river until 1986.

In Neil's lifetime, which ended at the age of 42, he built close to 1,000 models. His best known work came in the form of a 15' aircraft carrier the USS CARL VINSON, which went down to the Gold Coast War Museum at Mudgeeraba. The CARL VINSON was a fully working model with a fibreglass hull. It had aircraft lifts over 500 working lights, 200 lit up landing sights on the deck. It was powered by four large motors, which looked like car starter motors, as they ran off eight car batteries. Unfortunately Neil died befor he could launch her.

Neil was one of the first boat modellers on the coast with any sort of claim to contributing to the start of our association. After the passing of Neil the small group of modellers moved to Mooloolaba canals for a short time till developers forced them out.

Another group of modellers were sailing their boats on a small lake at North Buderim, this was formed by a man named Ashley Blades, a Triple S member from Brisbane who had just moved to the coast. The other modelers were John Banbury, John Herrick, Ray Coe and Tony ? and later Ron formed the original group in 1988.

In 1990 a new lake was built by the Maroochy Shire Council at Alexandra Headland, the group moved to the new lake and formed a club affiliated with the Triple S Model Boat Group, using their constitution and insurance until the club grew large enough to form the now club, Sunshine Coast Model Boat Club INC in 1993. They continued to sail here until 1998 when the lake became over weeded and unusable.

Later that year they were invited to the opening of a new area called Chancellor Park, which had a man made lake. During the display they were approached by Mr John Burgess, the head of school of the Sunshine Coast Grammar School, offering them a venue to sail on if they were interested.

So off they went again and the club moved to Forest Glen where they enjoyed some very productive years and growth.

{This extract was taken from the Sunshine Coast Model Boat Club INC newsletters June2001 and Spring 2001. Told by Ron Fox and written by editor of the day Robyne Russell}