Surrey Park Lake (otherwise known as ‘Surrey Dive’) is the location of The Surrey Park Model Boat Club, started in the 1980s by a small group of model boat enthusiasts. The lake was formerly a quarry supplying clay to the local brickworks which, when the pit was exhausted, was allowed to fill with water and became the local swimming pool. The noted swimmer Sir Frank Beaurepaire trained in the ‘Dive’ prior to competing at the 1924 Olympics.
A bi-centennial initiative, the Box Hill City Council called for expressions of interest as to how the lake could be used for the benefit of the community. Following approval for model boating on the lake, in 1989 the Surrey Park Model Boat Club was formed with the old changing rooms/pump room beside the lake becoming our clubrooms.
In 2011 the Whitehorse City Council undertook a refurbishment of the Lake and its environs and built a magnificent extension to the clubrooms. It is probably true to say that facilities of the Surrey Park Model Boat Club are on a par with any model boat club in the world! Currently the Club has 130 members who operate their model radio-controlled boats on the Lake. Our membership includes people of all ages, gender, skills and professions. Some members build their models from plans while others buy their models ready-made.
Vessels operated by members range in size from 300mm to three metres in length and include scale models, fishing boats, naval craft, submarines, landing craft, paddle-boats, yachts, tugs, pleasure craft, cargo boats and electric craft. Models, constructed from kits or ‘scratch-built’ from plans obtained from various sources, are built to provide a lifelike and realistic appearance on the water.
Most boats are of timber construction covered with fibreglass resin or have plastic hulls with wooden superstructures. Council does not permit the use of internal combustion engines on the lake so the boats are powered by electric motors, steam plants or are wind-powered in the case of sailing craft.
The craft are operated with high technology modern radio-control systems that give life-like control over speed and steering and sometimes involve other features such as whistles, pumps, navigation lights and the winching of sails of yachts.
The Club provides a very social and friendly atmosphere where ideas and skills are exchanged freely between members. Throughout the year Club members attend external exhibitions and festivals where the models are shown in either static display or ‘on water’ presentations for the benefit of charities.
Our members meet on Wednesday and Sunday mornings at the Surrey Park Lake, rear of the Whitehorse Aquatic and Leisure Centre near the corner of Canterbury and Elgar Roads, Box Hill. Anyone interested in viewing the boats would be welcome. More information on the Club may be found at spmbc.org.au