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Club History

By the light of a spluttering hurricane lamp on Montague Island the Swordfish and Tunny Club of Australia began in 1934.

The Swordfish and Tunny Club of Australia was formed on Montague Island appropriately, at Lyne’s Camp, in February, 1934. Mr. C. R. Lyne had organised a party to proceed to Montague Island with a view to exploiting the possibilities of big game angling in Australian waters. The party consisted of Dr. J. C. Lewis, Messrs. Roy Michaelis, C. R. Lyne, J. R. Porter, John Bowen, Ray Symmons, I. D. Sargood and John V. Rittenhouse.

On this memorable trip to Montague Island, the initial members faced some of the worst weather in the history of the Club, and it took an experienced and plucky Boatman like Bill Warne to make the Island. There on Montague, with the wind whistling and the sea roaring, by the light of a spluttering hurricane lamp, the first Committee Meeting was held. 

This Meeting was notable because it brought into being the first Game Fishing Club to be formed in Australia. The Swordfish and Tunny Club of Australia is proud of its position as the pioneer and premier game fish angling club in Australia and, whilst members have fished and will continue to fish from whatever ports take their fancies, the village of Bermagui and its beautiful bay will be for us the centre of game fishing sport. 


At this first meeting, it was unanimously resolved that Dr. Lewis be elected as President of the Club, which office he ably filled for three years, and Mr. H. W. Joseph as Honorary Secretary pro tem. Mr. Rittenhouse was elected as the first life member.

The very first STC AGM and Annual Dinner

Reg Lyne and his black marlin, Montague Island 1934

Following a resolution that the first formal meeting of the Club be held on March 2, 1934, at Mr. Michaelis’s home, members tendered a vote of thanks and appreciation to Mr. Lyne for his efforts on their behalf.

The day after the meeting, the first swordfish was caught by a Club member. It was hooked at 6.50 p.m. off the North West corner of Montague Island by Mr. Reg. Lyne, and eventually gaffed off Mystery Bay, a distance of nearly seven miles. The battle lasted 1¾ hours. The tale of this battle is a saga of the sea, and would call for more space than is allowed in this abbreviated booklet on our Club. The party during their stay hooked into several other swordfish, but only one more was landed and that by Mr. Reg. Lyne – a 240 lb Black Marlin. Notwithstanding that, however, from a national point of view the trip was successful. The expedition had set out to establish the fact that Swordfish were in Australian waters in sufficient quantities to warrant a big game club being formed, and so a new sport was born to Australians. The party had landed two Black Marlin, lost four Striped Marlin and had sighted altogether over fifty Black and Striped Marlin for the fortnight’s fishing. At a subsequent meeting held in April, Dr. Lewis and Messrs. Lyne and Joseph were appointed a Committee to draw up the Rules of the Club, and the Honorary Secretary was instructed to write to the overseas Catalina and British Sea Anglers’ Clubs advising them of the formation of our Club and its intention to seek affiliation with them.


More reading 

The history of the Swordfish and Tunny Club is summarised in an excellent article written by John McIntyre, an Australian game fishing historian.The article appeared in the 2011 GFAA Journal. The STC thanks the GFAA and Mr McIntyre for their kind permission to reproduce this extract and the accompanying photographs. Read the article.

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