Vale - Esther Douglas
by Marg Douglas
Charlie Douglas – Bruce’s father first bought the block of land in Fethers Rd, Balnarring Beach, in partnership with his brother Frank in 1949 for 187 pounds.
He then sold his share to his brother Jim who had it for 10 years at which time Charlie and family regained possession in 1963.
Charlie and Esther married in 1951.
Charlie and Esther’s first association with Westernport Yacht Club occurred in the first year or so of the club. Around 1961. Charlie’s brother, Jim, was on the founding committee of the club and they were looking for a yard manager over the summer vacation. “We towed the caravan down with the old FJ and set up camp within the yard. It was a pretty arduous job for Charlie as he had to operate the winch to launch all the fishermen who used to go out at all hours, and mount search and rescue teams when some yachties or boaties did not return on time.”
Esther recalled “One time, Jim Williams (one of the first Commodores of WYC) talked Charlie into sailing around French Island with him. Well, by the time they got up to the top of the Bay, the tide was racing out, they capsized about 27 times in the channel, put a hole in the hull when they ran into a submerged tree trunk, and had to drag the yacht through mud and slime to Tooradin – then Tess and I had to take the boat trailer, cars and kids all the way around to Tooradin and bring them home. Neither of the men were very happy by this time.”
This branch of the family joined the yacht club around 1963 after now setting up camp on the block at Balnarring. Many long and happy holidays were had here, and Charlie and Esther moved from Burwood down to live at Balnarring in 1975.
Bruce and I moved down to Balnarring at the end of 1979 and have lived here ever since, bringing up our children here and now have the pleasure of watching our 5 grandchildren also enjoy Westernport Yacht Club. A great legacy from Esther and Charlie.
The boats owned and operated by the Douglas family included a Sparrow, number 25, one of the first off the production line in Tyabb. A Botteril Explorer number 35 which was in the family 30 years. Hobie cats, Tornadoes, Hobie Tigers, fishing boats and various assorted dinghies have more recently been part of the fleet.
Esther had an amazing life with many different experiences with her husband Charlie who unfortunately died too young in 1990. Charlie and Esther brought up 3 wonderful children, Bruce, Elizabeth and Merren. She leaves behind her 3 children, 7 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.
Esther was a wonderful person who was universally loved by all for her humor, calmness and mild manner plus her patience with a husband who was keen on having many adventures.
Marg Douglas (Daughter-inlaw)
P.S. Esther wrote down ‘Mum’s Memories’ 1995