Our Heritage

Our venerable clubhouse serves as a repository of art, trophies, artifacts and memorabilia, and our history has been well documented.

Meet our Commodores

Research conducted by Life Member and Club Handicapper John Maclurcan.

I – William Walker  1862- 1867
2 – James Milson Jnr 1867
3 – Henry Carey Dangar 1867-1875

More to follow…

Eclipse by Oswald Brierly
Barque Veritas by John Allcot
William Walker
Gretel wins race 2 America's Cup 1962, John Allcot
Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Ian Hansen
Rovers Bride, Jack Earl

Art Treasures of the Squadron

Have you ever admired the paintings around our clubhouse and wished you knew more about the artist, the events depicted or the connection to RSYS?

Squadron Member Robyn Coleman is researching a selection of our most important paintings.

Gypsy Moth IV in the vicinity of Cape Horn 
by John Allcot, hangs in the Club main entrance.
Read the article here

Gretel Wins Race 2 America’s Cup 1962
by John Allcot, hangs outside the Carabella Room
Read the article here

Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron
by Ian Hansen, hangs in the Neutral Bay Verandah
Read the article here

Rovers Bride
by Jack Earl OAM, hangs in the Kurraba Reading Room
Read the article here

Shamrock V  in the Solent – 1930
by Peter Anderson, hangs in the Kurraba Reading Room
Read the article here

HMY Britannia
By Norman Wilkinson, in the hallway leading to the Carabella Room
Read the article here

Norske, Saskia and Erica
by Ian Hansen, hangs in the Members Bar
Read the article here

The Hon. William Walker
By Eugene Montague Scott, hangs in the Neutral Bay Verandah
Read the article here

Barque Veritas
By John Allcot, hangs in the hallway by the Carabella Room
Read the article here

Eclipse
By Oswald Brierly, hangs in the Reception hallway
Read the article here

Morna
By Peter Yeomans, hangs in the hallway of the Carabella Room
Read the article here

HMS Victory
By John Allcot, hangs in the Neutral Bay Verandah
Read the article here

Royal Sydney Yacht Club
By John Allcot, hangs in the Main Hallway
Read the article here

Interstate Challenges (Sayonara Cup)

The Interstate Challenges at the turn of the last century subsequently became known as the Sayonara Cup. These were big news stories in the press of the day, and have been researched and collated by Squadron Member John Maclurcan.

The first Interstate Challenge 1904
Wednesday, 15th July, 1903 – The Daily Telegraph read here

The second Interstate Challenge (a long story, broken for you into four chapters)

Part 1 – ‘The Lead up’
13th October, 1906 – The Sydney Morning Herald read here

Part 2 – ‘La Carabine Cup’
5th January, 1907 – The Sydney Morning Herald read here

Part 3  – ‘The Sayonara Cup’
Thursday, 17th January, 1907 – The Australian Star  read here

Part 4 – ‘The Controversy’
Friday, 18th January, 1907 – The Melbourne Age read here

The 1908 Challenge
Thursday, 28th March, 1907 – The Sydney Morning Herald read here

The 1909 Challenge
Friday, 30th October, 1908 – The Sydney Morning Herald read here

The 1910 Challenge
Wednesday, 9th March, 1910 – Referee read here

Interstate Challenge 1911
Thursday, 28th July, 1910 – Evening News read here

‘Sydney Sails’

Members may not be aware that the Club produced a book, called ‘Sydney Sails’, in 1962 to commemorate their Centenary.  The book was compiled by P. R. Stephenson and his ‘Acknowledgements’ at the start of the book provide a worthy description of the project.  The book came in a cardboard sleeve for protection and has become somewhat of a Collector’s Item.  While the Club no longer has copies available for purchase, they can be picked up at second-hand bookstores and we urge you to grab a copy if you find one, for the Club, if not yourself.

The volume is a source of information for the History Committee, particularly when answering enquiries from Members.  In recent years, the volume has been digitally scanned and is reproduced below.  Furthermore, with the advent of ‘Trove’ and the ability to scan early newspapers in the comfort of your home, a number of corrections have been identified and they too are available below.

View Acknowledgements and Corrections

Download the PDF of Sydney Sails   – warning: it is 32MB.

‘Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’ 1862 – 2000

In commemoration of the end of the 21st Century, the Squadron produced a follow up volume to Sydney Sails, published in 1962.  Here is the Forward written by our Patron, the Duke of Edinburgh:

’Sydney Sails’ was published in 1962 to mark the centenary of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.  That is now nearly 40 years ago and in the intervening years the premises of the Club, its facilities and its activities have undergone quite substantial development.  Like all leading yacht clubs, the Squadron has successfully adjusted to the very considerable economic and social changes of the last half-century.  This book takes the story up to the end of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

It is well worth recording the practical details of the development of the Club, but what is much more important is that it has continued to foster and encourage the sport of sailing for all ages both in Sydney’s splendid harbour and further afield in Australian and foreign waters.  I believe that members have every reason to be pleased with what the Club has achieved during the last 38 years and I have every confidence that their enthusiasm for the sport will ensure that the Club continues to prosper for many years to come.

The History Committee is pleased to announce that the Second Volume of the Club’s History has been digitally scanned and is now available online for Members to read via the links below. NB the PDFs are very large, c 250MB each, so we recommend you read them insitu from the DropBox folder rather than downloading them.

1862 – 2000 Volume A

1862 – 2000 Volume B

Corrections – March 21

Beecroft Watercolours

The History Committee are pleased to announce that the project to restore the Beecroft Watercolours in the northern entrance to our Club has been completed. The restoration entailed creating a digitised copy of each painting, including four in disrepair which have never been on display. Modern technology meant that the digitised versions could be enhanced, both in colour and definition and, best of all, removal of any foxing or damage which may have appeared through the years. It is the digitised versions which have now been hung and the originals can be stored safely for long term preservation.

Please take a moment to have a good look at the results which we feel are spectacular. The paintings are bright and for the first time, you can clearly see the detail, particularly any script.

Treasures from the Archives

Every picture tells a story…

The Archives Committee have been busy identifying, documenting and digitising more of the Squadron’s historical collection, and as on an archaeological dig, some days you hit pay dirt and come up with treasures.

Anyone for tennis?
“Carabella”, like many estates of the time, contained tennis courts. There are two newspaper references within the first six months of the Club taking occupancy of the premises. They also describe a new type of entertainment, ‘A Squadron Afternoon’ which became an item of interest in the social pages of the day.
Read the story here

Billiards at the Club
100 years ago it was mandatory at a Gentleman’s Club to have a Billiard Room.  Billiards was a serious competitive sport. While there is evidence that there was dedicated space for this purpose as early as 1904, it was sometime later that the space was refurbished.
Pictured is a photo of the newly refurbished Billiard Room which the History Committee have dated to this period.
Read the story here – and a recent postscript

Milson and the mysterious German
In one yellowing envelope marked ‘Old Photos’ there was a series of intriguing sepia prints…
Pictured is one-time Commodore Alfred Milson. But what of handsome German Otto Bauer, giving no hint of the intrigue that would soon follow him…
Read the story here

1862 to 2012 – the Squadron’s Sesquicentenary

The 8th of July 1862 marks the formation of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, and in 2012 we celebrated our 150th anniversary. In this special Sesquicentenary edition of the Logbook you will find many fascinating stories of renowned Members. There are stories highlighting the great successes of the Squadron, including the Youth sailing program, our initiatives to foster women’s sailing, and our highly successful Annual Cruise.

Contents

Commodore’s Message
1862 to 2012 – the Squadron’s Sesquicentenary
1862 – Founding the Squadron
Field Guns
Innovation – from the Australian to the Australia II
Carabella – the Squadron’s Harbour home
Fort Denison Cellar
Olympic Gold and World Championships
Volunteers – still key to Race Management
The Squadron Cruise – 43 years strong
America’s Cup – the Squadron Challenges 26
Hardy Cup – Youth Match Racing 33
Women Sailing at the Squadron 34
One Design Racing – a Squadron Specialty
Youth Sailing – lifeblood of the Squadron
Intercolonial Challenges and the Sayonara Cup
Bridge and the social side of the Squadron
Cruise of the ‘Sirius’
Gasciogne Cup – from the siege of Khartoum to Sydney Harbour
Admiral’s Cup – Ultimate in Offshore Racing
Australian Yachtsman of the Year
Squadron Commodores and Life Members

Club History: “Read all about it!”

Have you ever wondered how our Club came into existence?

Let us take you back to 14 June 1862 when it all began, in a series of articles compiled by Squadron Member John Maclurcan on the origins and early history of the Squadron – as reported in the Press of the day.

Language warning, as they say on Triple J, it’s edifying Victorian prose at its best…

50th jubillee menu
Opening Day 1886
1886 Season Opening
Walter Reeks
Dr Milford
Sao
The Australian
The Mistral
Alfred Fairfax
Hon. George Thornton MLC
James Milson Jnr
Friendship
SMH 1915
  1. Several Gentlemen meet to discuss reviving the Sydney Yacht Club
     Saturday, 14th June, 1862 – Sydney Mail
  2. How we obtained Royal Patronage and the origins of our Club Burgee
    Friday, 3rd July, 1863 – Empire (Sydney)
  3. A lively account of the opening harbour race, featuring some oddly familiar boat names
    Saturday, 14th November, 1863 – Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle
  4. The scene is set for a Harbour race. They don’t write race reports like that any more!
    Saturday, 30th January, 1864 – Sydney Mail
  5.  The exciting conclusion to the ‘First Class Yacht Race’ commenced last week
    Saturday, 30th January, 1864 – Sydney Mail
  6. Sydney welcomes HRH the Duke of Edinburgh Prince Alfred
    Saturday, 1st February, 1868 – The Sydney Morning Herald
  7. An assassination attempt on His Royal Highness.
    Saturday, 14th March, 1868 – Sydney Mail
  8. Opening Day 1886  ‘was celebrated with a series of evolutions in the harbour and a luncheon at Cremorne…’
    Monday, 18th October, 1886 – The Sydney Morning Herald
  9. A challenge for the America’s Cup is under consideration
    Saturday, 17th November, 1888 – The Evening News
  10. Meet James Milson Jnr, our first Vice Commodore. At the time of this interview, he recalled regattas from 1834!
    Saturday, 30th January, 1897 – The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser
  11. Meet Mr. George Thornton, one of the founders of the Squadron. He rescued numerous souls in peril in the shark-infested harbour.
    Saturday, 30th January, 1897 – The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser
  12. Henry Cary Dangar served as Commodore from 1767 to 1875. He recalls fine ‘crack’ yachts competing in a race.
    Saturday, 30th January, 1897 – The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser
  13. Dr. Milford was the younger brother of one of the original signatories when our Club was formed and an enthusiastic yachtsman.
    Saturday, 30th January, 1897 – The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser
  14. The first Pointscore
    Thursday, 10th March, 1904 – The Sydney Morning Herald
  15. The Australian Cup 1911
    Wednesday, 29th June, 1910 – The Daily Telegraph
  16. The Squadron celebrates its 50th Anniversary
    Wednesday 26th June, 1912 – The Sydney Morning Herald
  17. A Splendid Fete at RSYS with the objective of equipping Graythwaite
    Sunday, 18th July, 1915 – The Sun
  18. Sad news of a Squadron Member. Vale Capt. Stewart Milson.
    Monday, 8th November, 1915 – The Sydney Morning Herald
  19. RSYS recommences racing following The Great War and Spanish Influenza
    Saturday, 8th February, 1919 – The Daily Telegraph
  20. The 1919 Torres Strait Island Cruise of Stormy Petrel
    A presentation by John Maclurcan

Archive Browser

The History Committee has sponsored a project to catalogue in a database all the Squadron artefacts and memorabilia.

The goal is to create an accurate and up-to-date record of the location, description and historical information of the Squadron’s ‘treasures’.

The database has so far been populated with more than 700 items which represent 99% of the items on display around our clubhouse and also many of those hidden away in the dark recesses of the Squadron. Included are the artworks and photographs on the walls, the trophies in the cabinets and the many pieces of memorabilia such as tillers, bells and models on display.

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