Our History

Our history at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron has taken many turns down the river and up the bay…

The Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron was ‘born’ in 1885 when a group of gentlemen interested in water sports formed the Brisbane Sailing Club. Sailing quickly became the prominent sport of the new entity and within a few years competition with the sailors of Sydney had commenced with the inaugural inter-colonial sailing race in 22 Footers.

By 1894, the restriction of ‘Brisbane’ was adjusted and the club took the title of Queensland Yacht Club. In that year also the Admiralty granted members permission to fly the Blue Ensign of Her Majesty’s Fleet. In 1902 His Majesty, King Edward VII bestowed the title ‘Royal’ on the club and, in 1961, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II approved a change of name to the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron. The final step came in 1991, when the club was registered as an incorporated company and became the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron Limited.

The early 22 foot sailing vessels gave way to the Raters in 1909, which in turn were superseded by the 21 Foot Restricted class which saw the start of true interstate competition. Dinghy racing really developed in the late 1940′s and 1950′s when the club was sailing from premises on the Brisbane River at Bulimba. Fleets of 30 and upwards in a class were common, and many fine yachtsmen grew out of competition in trainees, 12 Square Metre boats, Gwens, Wrights, Finns, Sabots and Flying Dutchmen.

The club occupied various premises in and near the centre of Brisbane prior to moving to Manly for both clubhouse and sporting activities in 1964. Construction of Marina 1 began in the early 1980′s, with a second marina ‘Marina 2’ being completed in early 2009. The premises at Manly were freeholded in 1994. Further developments at the Manly site now include a hardstand area, trailer boat parking and dinghy storage, on-site trades facilities, a motel and the Yachting Queensland headquarters. 2014 saw a major clubhouse development with the relocation of the former Port of Brisbane Visitors Centre to Manly and redeveloped as a clubhouse and function room facility.

This expansion and upgrading of facilities has been mirrored in our sporting achievements, with Olympic gold medals, world and national championships, participation in America’s Cups and Admiral’s Cups with many fine performances in a number of blue water events.

Some families are now in the fourth generation of membership, while many can count three. Over 600 members claim greater than 21 years membership. Perhaps it is the energy of the young combined with the wisdom of their parents that has helped create an outstanding Squadron, the envy of many. That combination will ensure the Squadron progresses in the years ahead.

RQYS - History - Image of early clubhouse SMALL