Early Days with Dave Wilson

Posted: October 27, 2010 at 6:21 pm

The following post is the first in a series  by longtime Cronulla surfer Dave Wilson. Dave has an extensive knowledge of Cronulla in the early days of the sport and has been involved in surfing ever since……. I was born in Cronulla in the late 40s ,and my parents were born there as well. My family on both sides lived and worked with the ocean and bays. Both my grandfathers worked on the 2 pubs, the odeon picture theatre and all the rock pools on the peninsula. My pop Freddie Wilson was a Narragansett Indian from Connecticut USA  and arrived here in 1919 after fighting in France for Canada in WW1 and never left Australia, he was well known in Cronulla. In the early 30s they built a new house on the corner of Robinson st and Kurnell rd, and owned the block next door, my grandmother owned 18 horses and had the riding school and horses for hire [fond memories of Kurnell and boat harbor when i was little before the road was built] , they had the first surfoplane hire business, so on weekends and holidays they had the rights to rent surfoplanes, sell hot water, rent deck chairs ,wigwams [large beach shades], and horse rides to wanda/boat harbour. This all operated out of Dunningham Park and everything was stored behind old Mr Lucases house beside the surf club and the horses were corralled on vacant blocks of land or out at Kurnell where they owned 2 blocks of land. My father and Frank Lattas father were  shell gritters in the winter and Dick made money by towing people out of bogs [thats how the Kurnell bus service started] who were foolish enough to attempt to drive out to Kurnell… …….more to come from Dave on the surfboard side, including the original surfers and manufacturers plus Dave’s involvement with Floyd Smith and Gordon and Smith in 1966 and eventual ownership in 1995…stay tuned. The photo below is of South Cronulla Beach back in the day pre 1950s.

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