Life membership is the highest accolade that the Fremantle Sailing Club can bestow on a member, and in this our 100th year the club has chosen to nominate our Chief Bosun, Arthur Johns, for Life membership.
Arthur joined the club in 1975, before it moved to its’ current location and from day one became a volunteer and active member in the various sections that over the past 45 years he has supported and actively participated in. Arthur and his equally supportive and active wife and member, Anne formed an integral part of the early days of the Angling Section, membership of which has extended throughout their time with the club to this present day.
Arthur was a member of what was originally known as the “Coolimba Camp Group” in the 1980s, that over a decade set up annual campsites for club members and their families at Leeman, helping drag equipment and boats through what was then virgin bush. This in addition to the establishment of a strong and thriving small boat angling section that operated out of the new FSC premises from 1978/9 onward. Arthur used his first boat, “Rebellee” to great effect in Club competitions.
He went on to become a strong and consistent member of all facets of Angling as well as the initial game fishing Section that was established in that same era.
As an accomplished and enthusiastic Tradesman in the metal, fabrication and construction industries, Arthur was involved on a practical level in the establishment and maintenance of virtually every piece of infrastructure both land-backed and on the water that was built from 1979 onwards in and around the Fremantle Sailing Club. In those days most of the land-backed wharves, launching ramps, junior club house and a range of other gantries, weigh stations and countless other pieces of infrastructure were built by an army of willing volunteers and teams of which Arthur was but one of those dedicated and committed members. This part of club history is well documented in “Sailing to Success in which both Arthur and his wife Anne are mentioned.
In addition through his Business and employment over the years he provided services, tools and materials both commercially and on a voluntary basis.
He is not a person who has ever sought committee, flag officer or board positions, apart from membership of his beloved Bosun’s Section where he has occupied many roles over the years as Bosun, Chief Bosun and regular committee member. He has preferred to be a dedicated and committed, practical “hands on” member.
He came of his own in the years after the establishment of the Bosuns section, and has worked tirelessly in building and maintaining structures, vessels, racing marks, and the overall maintenance of the Marina and myriad club premises, all as a volunteer, often using his own tools and materials. No task has been or is too much trouble for this example of a true club member.
Whether it be making ground tackle for moorings and racing marks, Safety equipment for the conduct of racing regattas of all sections in the sailing season, construction and maintenance of FADS for the Angling and Game fishing sections, construction of the Children’s playground equipment, or just taking part as an on water or land based volunteer during the countless dinghy, sailing and Club events, open days, season openings etc. etc. etc. the list is endless.
Since the purchase of “Mystique” in 1980, the Albany Crayboat that was refurbished by the club and is now the Main Club Vessel, “Success”, Arthur has had a hand in these refurbishments and the maintenance of all club vessels. Much of the racing paraphernalia, masts and deck infrastructure being made by he and the Section, as well as floating pontoons for RIBs, and the maintenance of the Main club premises, tables chairs, BBQs, Radio Masts, you name it, over the years he has had a hand in it all, quite literally.
Successive Harbour-masters and general managers have sung his praises. The savings in actual dollar value, that Arthur and the teams of bosuns over the years have provided to the Fremantle Sailing Club and its members, is inestimable, but certainly would run to many hundreds of thousands of dollars in labour, man-hours and material cost.
There is not a section of the club that he has not provided some direct or personal service to. Similarly numerous individual members have been the beneficiary of his expertise and personal labour as a “Mr Fix-it”, on countless occasions. Many a visiting Race Yacht or dinghy has made it back onto the water due to Arthur and his willing team.
On a broader sphere, virtually every visiting or round the World Yacht has received amazing support from the Team often led by Arthur over the past two decades. Sir Robyn Knox-Johnson has commented on Arthur and his team during the Clipper Visits to FSC. Setting up temporary workshops, providing valuable expertise. Comparing his involvement as a team leader, and individually at so many World, Class, National and State Championships, against the dollar value is inestimable. However the more intangible value is the reputational enhancement that these activities have given to FSC on both a National and International level.
He has been celebrated and awarded as “Club Person of the Year” in 1988, and again in 2010. In addition he has been nominated on at least 4 other occasions for the same award, and has received Commodores Citations for his outstanding volunteer efforts. A truly remarkable record of service above and beyond just personal membership.
He has led the Bosuns Section as the Chief Bosun for much of the last decade. Their daily routines and their monthly “Breakfast meetings” give so much pleasure to the willing participants. In the words of his nominator, “ It provides a “Marine Men’s (and Women’s) Shed, where fellowship and individual well-being is created, where people of different back-grounds and ages can gather for a common cause and do good. Everyone is made to feel welcome.”
He is a humble, quiet man not known for his articulate speeches, but who is not afraid to voice his views at general meetings. He is a deeply committed club person who believes strongly in the maxim that it is not just his club, it is “Our” club. Above all he is a thoroughly decent human being that any club would be proud to have as a member.
In this our 100th year, it is very fitting that a member who has been a part of that history for over 45years should be recognized with the award of “Life Membership”. Arthur Johns’ outstanding record of volunteering and personal commitment, (underpinned by his equally committed and supportive wife, Anne), eminently qualifies him for the essential criteria this Award was designed to celebrate.