Optimism: Past, Present and Future Albert Park Yachting & Angling Club

By Lee Spyrou, President,  Albert Park Yachting & Angling Club

Optimism!  What makes you optimistic?  Victor Perton, guest speaker at James Nixon’s recent APYAC Melbourne Network Group lunch, posed this question to the room. He stated “That there is no future, or growth without it.”  It made me question, how, has, and does ‘Optimism’ effect us as a club.

The beginning —in 1909— some local fishos were fishing for snapper off Kerferd Road Pier. Their banter led one of them to have the optimistic suggestion that they form an Angling Club, a place where they could store their boats, compare fishing tales, and get together as mates.

Meetings were held with the South Melbourne Council, and letters were sent to the Finance, Legislative and Lands Committee of Melbourne Harbour Trust. Their hard work paid off and with the help of the Mayor, Cr.F.G Farr, it was unanimously decided to form a Club and call it the Albert Park Yachting & Angling Club.

Subscription was fixed at five shillings per member, and on 30th July 1909, the Commissioners of the Melbourne Harbour Trust, granted APYAC a piece of foreshore next to the Pier, the rent was 20 shillings per annum, with a lease of 21 years.

Oh, how their optimism has blossomed! Today our Club boasts over 2,000+ members, and is proud to be one of the largest fishing clubs in Australia.  

This hardcore fisho optimism still lives within the Club today. Each time we set our alarms and rise at 3 a.m. we’re optimistic; that sunrise, or that first cargo ship that passes-by, will be the key to catching the longest Snapper of the season.
Which then bought me to the optimism shown by the Angling Sub-committee. This year saw them change the Club’s 114 year tradition of weighing-in fish. For the 2023-24 competition we’ll measure fish length instead. They were optimistic, that as fisher people of the 21st Century, we would see, and embrace, the environmental and moral advantages, of having the choice to catch-and-release.
As mentioned, we’re proud to be one of the biggest Fishing Clubs in Australia. This bold change shows APYAC leading by example, they deserve an enormous pat on the back for having the courage and determination, not to listen to the pessimists, and strive forward —well done guys. APYAC is very proud of what you’ve achieved in such a short period of time, and also well done to our fishing community for supporting them in this change.

Probably our Club’s biggest Optimist is Life Member Bob Pearce. He has been leading our Shellfish Reef Restoration Program for many years now. He was instrumental, along with the Nature Conservancy, the Victorian Government, and the Thomas Foundation, in bringing ‘Margaret’s Reef’ back to life.

Early in the 1900’s Port Phillip’s native oysters were harvested to near-extinction, creating what is known as a collapsed eco-system. Bob, having fished his whole life in the Bay, was determined to change this, and thus began his underwater revival mission.
Each Oyster acts like a mini water filtration system, filtering approximately one bathtub of water a day. These reefs are vital to the health of the bay and its critters, both large and small. Bob is now at it once again, currently working hard with the powers that be, to create ‘Kayaker's Reef’, hopefully not far out from the front of the Club. 

A separate project of his sees the club, along with the Victorian Fisheries Authority, using an underwater drone to monitor all that hard work. It will also be used to help map out other areas around our Bay, amazing viewing for our members on our big screens. Keep up the brilliant work Bob, and thank you.
It's nice working with such a bunch of Optimists!

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." - Anne Frank

Read More about the Albert Park Yachting & Angling Club https://apyac.org.au/

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