Australia Fremantle Branch

Meets: 1st Wednesday of month at 7.30pm. at Leeuwin Sail Training Office. (Entrance is at the western end of ‘B’ Shed), Victoria Quay, Fremantle.

Contact: Chris Gee, PO Box 757, Fremantle WA 6959.  Email:

Publications: monthly “Fremantle Branch Newsletter”,

editor: Rhod Jones,     [11.2015]


Happy 30th Birthday 1981 – 2011 — Branch celebrates 30 years

The First Meeting — Our first meeting was held on September 2 1981, where people who were interested in Ships and shipping gathered and it was decided to form a Branch of the World Ship Society. Richard McKenna was voted to be the Chairman and Jeff Thompson was appointed to be the Secretary.  Persons who were at that first meeting that are sill members of the Branch arre: Rod Ambrose, Alan Cornes, Dennis Dewar, Chris Gee, Arthur Robertson and Jeff Thompson.  [10.2011]

A large group of Society members and their families had an extensive visit over the battleship, USS MISSOURI (BB 63) anchored in Gage Roads off Fremantle on October 18, 1986  [photo by Bruce Farrington]

Newsletter Report

This month [September 2011] marks the 30th Anniversary of the Fremantle Branch of the World Ship Society.  The first meeting of the Branch was held in September 1981 in the premises of the Flying Angel Club in Queen Victoria Street and the first newsletter was published also that month.  An initial public meeting to gauge interest in such a club had been held in the upstairs meeting room of the Flying Angel Club previously and from which office bearers were elected to get things underway.  Little did those at that meeting think that 30 years later the Branch would still be functioning.

Ideas of a branch were fermented at regular meetings of the newly formed Fremantle Maritime Museum in Cliff Street by four Society members that attended these functions.  Alan Cornes, Carl Anderson, Ian Stewart and Jeff Thompson went along to these meetings mainly dealing with high brow maritime archaeology followed by wine and cheeses.  We did not know whether those attending were interested in marine archaeology or the wines and cheeses.  From then on it was decided to form our own branch dealing with the nuts and bolts of ships and shipping.  Fremantle at that time was still a busy port with public access to the wharf areas.  After a few months the idea progressed from there, to the public meeting, to the first meeting of the Fremantle Branch of the World Ship Society in September 1981.

The World Ship Society was formed in England in 1946 to chiefly record the history of ships and shipping brought about by the events of World War 2.  It was then and still is, fully operated by unpaid volunteers.  Since then it has come a long way and has become a voice in the shipping industry despite its humble beginnings.  The monthly publication — Marine News — continues to record ship events and fleet lists and many company histories have been put into book format.  The Society operates throughout the world, the interest in ships being international.

Of the four original founders, two remain as members of the Branch — Alan Cornes and Jeff Thompson.  Others who attended the inaugural meeting and have remained as members include Denis Dewar, Arthur Robinson, Rod Ambrose and Chris Gee.  If there are others not mentioned then we apologize for their omission.  Many others have also contributed to the Newsletter and to the Branch over the years and continue to do so.  The Branch Newsletter endeavours to record shipping events of Fremantle and Western Australia both current and historic.  Many such happenings failed to be documented in the past and their significance has virtually disappeared with the passing of time.

We can now celebrate the first 30 years of the Branch and look forward to the next 30 years.  We thank you for your interest and participation.