5. Lismore Angling Club ©

Lismore Angling Club members - 1999
         Lake Tooliorook was destined to became a popular fishing spot from the moment the first white settler laid eyes on it, so it was no surprise that eventually an angling club would be involved in its future. After some attempts by interested individuals Lake Tooliorook was stocked with whatever fish they could afford to purchase. To help organise stocking of the lake a public meeting was called to see if anyone was interested in joining an Angling Club.

         On April 18
th 1934 the Lismore Angling Club was formed with the main purpose of stocking the lake along with various dams and streams throughout the district. Any suitable fish they could get would suffice as long as more fishing was made available for those who desired to do so. In 1935/36 The Angling Club's Annual Meeting had 100 members on their books, each costing 2/6 per membership ticket.

       The C.C. tells us that the first Lismore Angling Club office bearers consisted of President: Dr H Gillbee Brown ,Vice President: A walker and Hon. Secretary and Treasurer:  M.H. Long. By the end of 1936 the club had faded.

        In a letter written by H Gillbee Brown to a fellow angler in Palmwood, Queensland, he remarks that at the end of 1936 Long had bought a business in Derrinallum so he'd dropped out of the club. He himself had left for the South Seas and had heard the club had folded not long after. He also stated that at one stage the club was discussing a scheme to stock local streams and large dams with fish including Murray Cod. It's not known what happened to this plan but Murray Cod do not exist in the local area now.

           The present Angling Club was reformed in 1957, again for the main purpose of restocking Lake Tooliorook. Five thousand Rainbow Trout and fifty thousand Brown Trout were released, making anglers happy. Meetings were held at the Lismore Mechanics Hall at a cost of five shillings a time. Other times they used the hotel or in some cases member's own private home. Clive and Lorna Bustard held monthly meetings in their home during the late 1950's, with President Mr McIntyre thanking the Bustards for their unselfish work and contribution to the club by saving their resources. Some meetings were also held at other members' homes or, as they are today, at the the Lismore Hotel. The club has its own shed at the lake but it is felt to be impersonal, cold and too inconvenient to set up for every meeting.

         In June 1957 the Angling Club's Constitution was developed. The 1st ruling was that the club would be officially known as the Lismore Angling Club, the 2nd, “One of the objects of the club is to run and conduct the club for the betterment of angling in general”. 21st August, 1959 the constitution is expanded from 2 pages with 25 simple rulings, to a huge 14 page booklet.

          L.A.C. Minute books and other records.
Minute books are the heart and soul of every organisation but, when it comes to reading them, it can often be an acquired art, with the writing of many a secretary almost unreadable. Here are some interesting bits that I was able to decipher.

          The early years of the club make for interesting reading. The first thing noticeable was the references to Lake Ettrick, it wasn't until mid 1960's that the name Tooliorook was first mentioned. The next thing quite obvious was their long term plan for the lakes foreshore, with records showing a club looking forward. Right from the very first meeting arrangements were being made to bank a minimum of £10 or more yearly into a building account, with roads to be resurfaced and a reserve to be formed. But naturally fishing has always been their first interest.

        4 April, 1957. Club to buy trophy for £1-1-0, to be awarded to the biggest fish caught in local waters prior to September,1st 1957. Possibly this was the club's first trophy awarded.

        Club becomes affiliated with S.W.D.A.A.C ( South Western District Associations of Angling Club and the Angling Club,s Constitution was developed with the Lismore Angling Club officially being named as such. The clubs minutes quoted that “One of the objects of the club is to run and conduct the club for the betterment of angling in general”.

         August, 1957. The club's 1st competition is held. Trophies for each - Heaviest Trout/bag of Quinnat (Chinook) Salmon, English Perch and Heaviest English Perch for the season. Also heaviest English Perch for a junior and a lady. Club to approach S.W.D.A.A.C to ask for lake to be declared a Trout Water. The Club comes in under the rulings of the South Western Association Of Angling Clubs (S.W.A.S.O.A.C). Inaugurated in1948 and composed of all fishing and gaming clubs in the South Western And Western District of Victoria. Too many rulings for me to bore you with here, feel free to contact the Angling Club if you wish to know them. 

           February 18th, 1960. A junior Comp was held, and for a change the parents swam and relaxed while the kids fished, with Nick Cole congratulating the club on including women and children into the club.

            31st March, 1965 club informed by Fisheries and Wildlife that they are one of a few lakes that have no closing dates for fishing, with it now being allowed for the entire year once gazetted at the end of April.

            April 7th 1960. Up to 200 anglers attend the N Cole Shield Competition held at Tooliorook for the first time. Over 40 boats were on the lake with members from 11 Angling Clubs attending plus others from Ballarat, Geelong, Skipton, Mortlake, Newtown, Lexton, 2 from Queensland and 1 from N.S.W. Unsubstantiated information says that possibly 577 fish were caught, with Lismore's No.2 team winning with a good bag of fish, including 4 Rainbow Trout.

         Clive Bustard informs the Fisheries and Wildlife that the club has over 300 members and is endeavouring to improve the facilities on the one and a half acre lake foreshore being leased and hope to eventually purchase.

         April 14, 1960 the club had 330 members. Members had spent over £100 on fencing, they planted 200 trees, a notice board was erected, a directional signpost had been erected by the Hampden Shire and placed on the Camperdown Road, the lake banks had been reinforced with stones and two water access ramps for boats had been built. Club members had originally formed the one mile long lake road several years prior, but by the 1960's traffic was heavier so the Hampden Shire had been contacted in regards to having the road sheeted.

        By early 2000 the Angling Club had 60 -80 members but when it came to working bees they were getting very little, if any, help from members of the public. Being a venue developed especially for the public, some members felt it would be ideal if locals could pull together for the betterment of tourism to the town, if nothing else, but most people are involved in several committees so it's not uncommon for them to save their valuable spare time for their own interests. Having said that, I'm sure if anyone does have time on their hands, the Angling Club (or any local club for that matter) would be thrilled to hear from you. Slick Pemberton once told me that “If it was not for the angling club there would be no lake”, a statement many have no trouble believing.

         October 10th 1962. The club receives a letter from the Hampden Shire quoting various water usage regulations for boats and water crafts for Lake Tooliorook in regards to the Motor Boat Act 1961. A “boat” described as being no more then 65 feet in length which is used or is capable of being used for water transport. Part of the regulation put to the club was -
Unless an exemption is given, no person shall without written permission from the council operate a boat at as speed exceeding 5 miles per hour or ride upon or any water ski, surfboard or similar device being towed, pulled or propelled in water less than 6 feet deep, within 200 feet of the waters edge, within 200 feet of a jetty, wharf, launching ramp or diving platform, within 200 feet of anyone swimming or bathing, within 200 feet of any vessel under way, anchored, moored or engaged in fishing or in passing through an anchorage for small vessels were some of the regulations proposed to the club.

By 31st October, 1962 Club President, Mr R.J.C Steele, replies to the council that the club which consisted of over 500 members, giving it the highest club membership in Western District, voted against the new boating requirements. Stating that it was the club's considered opinion that the council would not be in the position to give equal consideration to all the requirements of the varied bodies using the number of waters within the Shire.
Those being - As each sport has its own requirements whether it be motor boating, water skiing, rowing, yachting, fishing or swimming. So every location should be ruled according to those needs. These included: water depth, weed quantity and growth areas, shelter from prevailing winds, seasonal requirements and wave action. Only those who know and use their own designated lake should have the say on its safety issues. Every water way is different and must have different considerations as to how it is managed. While the club has no control over non club members most join the club. The club decided the size of the camp ground and allowed no facilities other then the club,s. Launching a speed boat was allowed but would be done with difficulty, . Several organisations use the lake for fundraising or picnics and members often assist the group's fundraising with boats rides. The president continues, by saying “The Lismore Angling Club has no problems with any of its members under the law of the club, and wish to keep it that way”.

           August 31st 1989. Children are encouraged to join the club with one young boy, a junior angler, winning an award for his age group. Michaels father, Ian, had taught him to fish when he was only five years old.

           A member since the club reformed in July 4th, 1968 Mr Frank Jones is presented with a Life Membership for being a member in the newly reformed Lismore Angling Club since it started.

          Records show that members of the club have worked exceptionally hard on many occasions especially when it comes to tree planting with hundreds planted on the lakes high water mark hopefully stopping erosion and stock from wandering onto the lake bank. All adjoining farmers, bar one, allowed trees to be planted along the bank of their properties.

          2003. The club also raises thousands of dollars planting trees for private property owners, all of which goes into improvements on the Eastern shores public reserve. In one day alone community volunteers, Landcare workers and angling club members planted 25,000 tree including putting up tree guards. They then enjoyed a well deserved B.B.Q.
Being tree planting experts, the club started up a network by encouraging other angling clubs to have yearly tree planting days within the South-West community, with each angling club taking it in turns to arrange a time that suited them.

           The late John Borysenko had been a member since early 1960. Others not so long including John Buchholz, - who asked Clive Bustard to remind him of any upcoming meetings. - has been involved in the angling club for several years. Some members have left the area, some passed away others are unwell but once a member, nearly always they stay a member. That's a testimony to what a great bunch of people they are.

            Before his death, Trevor Dickson had been another long time member of nearly 50 years. As a young boy Trevor had moved to Lismore in 1948 and reminisced about moving into a house next door to a police station, where he lived until he married. Continuing, Trevor told of his dad, who worked for the Hampden Shire, as did Trevor himself, of his mother, a seamstress, who could put her hand to anything including painting, and of his memories of a fully operational Lismore Flax Mill. But his fondest memories where that of being a member of the Lismore Angling Club. For all the years he was a member, Trevor admitted he had never seen Tooliorook as dry as it was in the last big drought of early 2000.

            L.D&C.A January 8th 1935: Anglers are asked to respect private property when crossing private property on the way to competitions. Gates were not being shut, allowing stock to get into crops or mix with other stock.

             January 9th 1935: The club,s second competition is to be held at Banongil Bridge. Sixpence to enter.


          23/12/1959. Motion moved that Derrinallum Angling Club be approached to see it they'd consider an inter-club Fishing Competition. That club to be invited to the January 1960 LAC meeting where it will be discussed. At the January, 1960, meeting it was decided that a suitable shield be bought jointly between the clubs to the value of £10. The annual competition is to be held at a location chosen by the winning club, can be by either boat or bank and is to be held in 2 heats, one day at Tooliorook, the other Deep Lake as long as that particular spot had water, in which case it would be moved elsewhere or postponed until a suitable location was found. The winner will be decided by weighing the total bag of fish caught by each club and dividing this weight by the No. of anglers from each club with the highest average caught being the winner. Minimum length is to be Perch or Tench – 9 inches exclusively and all fish to be gutted and cleaned and the shield is to be presented at a location and date chosen by the loosing team. Being a Perpetual Trophy, the winning club keeps it for a year.

           May 1st , 1960. The Shield is bought at a cost of £9-16-12, to be donated by Dick Steele. With Lismore naming it the Rainbow Shield, after the Rainbow Trout, the battle was ready to start. This competition allowed the Lismore Angling Club to hold a competition at Tooliorook instead of travelling to other places. Today the Shield is contended in March and October of each year.

           Always finding an excuse to fish, Slick and Clive Bustard were happy when one year it was decided to hold a competition at Lake Tooliorook against the Geelong Rod and Gun Club, a decision they regretted as, for reasons unknown. Slick said “It was not as good as elsewhere”.

          Over the years the club has fished for not only trophies of all sorts but also several shields. The Senior Shield, the N Cole Shield, guessing named after Nicholas Cole, President/ Secretary of the S.W.D.A.A.C, the Clark Shield, possibly named after another member of the same organisation are all hotly contended. This shield is contested for by all clubs in the association. It's held over 2 legs, one at Boggy Creek,the other the Hopkins River. Originally won by the heaviest bag it's today won by the heaviest fish.

         These days the club has fewer members than in the past but those members are as dedicated to keeping Lake Tooliorook in as pristine condition as was those before them. They have earned the right to sit back, take it a easy and enjoy what they have worked hard to achieve. Most members have been involved in the club for many, many years, some don't have the chance to do as much as others, some only want to enjoy the water or fishing, others are getting on in age but still do what they can to help but all in all Lake Tooliorook is a place they can be proud of.

Lorraine Graham - Editor