In 1951, the Hobsons Bay Yacht Club at Williamstown burned down, along with 45 yachts, 14 dinghies and all paper records in the clubhouse.
Now, the club is seeking people’s stories and memorabilia to create a mural displaying some of its 129-year history.
Commodore Tony Dawson said the club, fondly known as “Hobbos”, had experienced many tragedies and triumphs.
“In 1925, a yacht at opening day capsized and three people passed away, including Mrs Ellen Dennis who was a past mayoress of Williamstown,” he said.
“In 1899, the yacht Queenie sank and her seven crew drowned.”
In 1900, as other clubs were only opening their doors to women once a year, the Hobbos began a Ladies Skippers Race.
“Our first female senior member and keelboat owner was Dr Shirley Freeman, in 1974,” Mr Dawson said.
“This was a first for Victoria.”
A breakaway group of members formed the Williamstown Sailing Club in 1906.
A yacht from the club, Thistle, was the first to win Australia’s oldest ocean race from Melbourne to Launceston, which started in 1907 – 45 years before the Sydney to Hobart.
Mr Dawson said the club now had more than 650 members aged from one to 89 years old.
“Many families can proudly boast generations of involvement,” he said.
“The yacht Ericka was sailed for generations by the Erickson family, including John Erickson [the current yardmaster], his sister Margaret Erickson, his father Les Erickson [slipmaster for many years], and before that, his grandfather Charles Currie.”
Anyone with information for the club can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 93976111.