East Fremantle Yacht Club has been a part of the sailing history of Western Australia for the best part of a century, having been formed in 1933. The club was originally called Melville Yacht Club and celebrated its first opening day on October 21, 1933. Proving popular, the first club rooms were completed the following year. East Fremantle Yacht Club has always prided itself on being a family club and notably women have played a prominent part in its development right back to its formative years.
In 1939 the West Australian mentioned a lady skippers’ race, an event that still has an important place on the club calendar. The prize on offer, though, has thankfully changed with the times –the winner of that 1939 event could look forward to a three-decked wedding cake as their prize – to be claimed any time within three years! A year later, in 1940, the first Life Membership Gold Medallion was presented.
In 1947, the club changed its name to the East Fremantle-Melville Yacht Club. A grand new clubhouse was built the same year, formed from three old army huts, with disused tram rails used as supports. Much of the money for this major project was raised by club members conducting socials and dances.
Officers and members of the club built a retaining wall on the foreshore and a willing band of volunteers worked weekends to level the large tract of land on which the clubhouse was built. This “can-do” attitude has been a hallmark of the club over the years. The efforts of the club’s members proved worthwhile and have been enjoyed by many generations since. The clubhouse, said the West Australian newspaper of 1947, was “equal to any on the river, with an unobstructed view both upstream and downstream.”
Power boat memberships became available in 1960 and ten years later a keelboat section was formed, and Ian Donaldson was elected as the inaugural Captain. Both groups continue to be active within the club to this day. In 1961, the club was incorporated and changed its name to East Fremantle Yacht Club.
Progress has continued both on the water and off it. A Member’s Bar and Observation Lounge were built in the 1974 and 1983 respectfully, while the 1990s saw the opening of the club gymnasium and sauna and a major refurbishment to the existing facilities. In 1993, EFYC’s long-standing partnership with the Cockburn Dragon Boat Club established.
In the early 2000’s, there was a major upgrade to the Function Centre and the completion of a substantial balcony extension. An impressive pen development was also completed in 2008. The club’s facilities underline an ongoing commitment to providing the best for its members.