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 manufacturers : mcdonagh surfboards 

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A major manufacturer, the company maintained a high standard and a quality stable of shapers 1960 - 1968.  One of the original Brookvale Six - manufacturers with national sales and reputation.
In October 2007, Mr. Denis Mc Donagh made contact by email and phone resulting in significant additions to this entry.
Many thanks to Denis for his contrbutions.

'' Greg McDonagh is a hard-working, thinly-thatched bachelor of Brookvale, Sydney, and has been a board addict since he learned to swim at the age of fifteen.
He pioneered the construction of boards in Australia from a foamed plastic core.
He built first his own hollow marine ply board and was forced into the industry because there was no one to make the newer Malibu-type boards in Australia.
From a shed on the sand at Freshwater (Harbord) Beach, 6 feet tall, wide- shouldered, brown-haired McDonagh has progressed to a factory supplying boards in all Australian States.
His business is flourishing so well office work is taking him away from the factory and surf more than he would like.
McDonagh's designs are the results of extensive tests by leading surfers over the past five years.
He is constantly experimenting with board and fin shapes.
McDonagh was one of the first to work on strengthening the early malibus, a joined balsa-wood plank, covered with a layer of fibreglass cloth.
Today he believes Australian boards are a model of strength, lightweight buoyancy and speed. ''
- Introduction by Jack Pollard to ...
 "How Surboards are Made" by Greg McDonagh
Pollard,1964.  Chapter Seven pages 55 to 60.

McDonagh Surfboards
An  early major sydney manufacturer

1957
Harbord Beach NSW   Phone: XF 3526
Greg McDonagh.
The first boards were built at Greg's house, one of two high on Harbord's north point, now the site of the Harbord Digger's Club.

1960
457 Pittwater Road Brookvale NSW  Phone : 93 1152
"Corner of Pittwater Road and Condamine Street"
Greg McDonagh.
Denis McDonagh.
Dennis had been working in New Guinea and was preparing to move on to Borneo when his was encouraged to return to Australia to help in the expanding surfboard business.
The first factory in Brookvale was on the western side of Pittwater Road where the Warringah Mall is now located.


Right: McDonagh Surfboards, 1964.
Surfing World Volume 4 Number 6 August 1964, page 17.

circa 1964
Harbord Road Brookvale.
Bob McTavish

circa 1965
With the expansion of surfboard sales into large chain stores, Denis McDonald opens the first of his inner city surf shop at 411 George Street Sydney.
Surf Dive n Ski Brochure, 411 George Street Sydney, circa 1965 (two pages, prices pre-decimal).
Wetsuits by Dive Gear.
Boardshorts from Platts Surf Wear.
Surfboards by McDonagh, Bennett , Dale, Wallace and  Keyo.

As Surf, Dive and Ski (later SDS), the company expands at the rate of a new store per year for the next nine years.
See below.

1966
Aware of surfing conditions at Australian bases in South Vietnam from feedback by returned soldier/surfriders, Denis McDonald, in combination with other Brookvale manufacturers, arranges the donnation of surfboards and accessories to the Australian Army, see below.

1968
Geoff McCoy


Retail Price List, 1965-66.
Image left:
McDonagh Surfboards 
Price List, circa 1965.
 

Note:
 
 
 
 
 

Imported American blanks.
Double 10 oz Volan cloth.

The fin is set into stringer.
 
 
 
 
 

Dual prices (Pounds and dollars) indicate the decimalisation of Australian currency in 1966.
 

Document courtesy of 
Denis McDonagh.

 


Decals

McDonagh Surfboards
(Script)
Harbord Beach NSW  AUST.
Tel XF 3526
circa 1958.

See accomanying fin below.


Surfboards by McDonagh 
(Stylised script, see Hobie)
Brookvale
Tel : 93-1152
circa 1960. 
Adhesive Metal Foil Sticker


McDonagh Surfboards  
Brookvale, Sydney.
Tel :
XF-1162
XF-3526

circa 1960. 



Surfboards by McDonagh 
Brookvale-Sydney
Tel : 93-1152,
circa 1962-1965

Laminate version of above.
Blue version, right, sent by Noddy H. May 2014. 

 


McDonagh 
(Stylised script, see Hobie)
Australia map
circa 1964.

Note : There is no Tasmania in the decal.
See accompanying fin below.


Custom Built by McDonagh 
circa 1965.

Decal image courtesy Mick Mock, 
Surf Auction, Novemvber 2011,  #90.





Custom Built
Concave 

circa 1965.

McDonagh- Script, Scalloped Block and Checkec (GT) Diamond
circa 1966.
See bellyboard in image, bottom of this page.
Photograph at 
Surf's Up At Gerringong 
Board Display, Auguist 2005. 
Thanks to Scott Andrews 

McDonagh 
circa 1966

McDonagh 
(Psychedelic/Op art)
circa 1967.

Probably one of the last by this manufacturer.

Fins
Early Malibu fin
McDonagh Surfboards
Harbord Beach NSW  AUST.
Tel XF 3526
circa 1958
Note fin set at pod and surf permit.

Multi laminate timber D fin with glass bead.
McDonagh 
circa 1964

Image left:
Sydney surfboard industry representatives donate 
surfboards to Australian 
servicemen in South Vietnam, 
July 1966.

Photograph courtesy of 
Dennis McDonagh.


From left to right...
Mr. Platt: Platts Boardshorts, first local surfwear manufacturer.
Denny Keogh: Keyo Surfboards
Colonel P. Trancred: Australian Army.
Scott Dillon: Scott Dillon Surfboards
Bob Brewester: Manly Stor-a-Bord and Bower Boy Surf Wax.
Gordon Woods: Gordon Woods Surfboards
Denis McDonagh: McDonagh Surfboards
Bill Wallace: Wallace Surfboards
Barry Bennett: Barry Bennett Surfboards
Also see photograph: Australian War Memorial (SMT/66/01179/EC)
The photograph was circulated with the following press release:

SMT/66/179/EC                                                                                                                                         July 1966

Nearly $500 worth of surfboard equipment, given by seven manufacturers, was handed over to the Australian Army on behalf troops in South Vietnam, at Victoria Barracks, Paddington, on Wednesday, July 20.

The equipment was received by the Acting Chief of Staff (Colonel P. Tancred).
Pictured receiving the boards, Colonel Tancred thanks Denis McDonagh (McDonagh Bros Surf Boards Pty Ltd, Harbord Road, Brookvale) , on behalf of the manufacturers.

The manufacturers with their gifts from the left are,
Messrs Lance Platt (L. and J. Platt, Surfrider Board Shorts, of Foam Street, Harbord),
Danny Keogh (Keogh Surf Boards Pty Ltd., of Sydenham Road, Brookvale) ,
Scott Dillon (Scott Dillon Surf Board Pty Ltd, of Vlinbourne Road, Brookvale),
Bob Brewster (Manly Surf Shop and Stor-A-Bord, Pittwater Road, Manly),
Grodon Woods (Gordon Woods Surf Boards Pty Ltd, Harbord Road, Brookvale),
Bill Wallace (Wallace Surf Boards, Winbourne Road, Brookvale),
Barry Bennett (Barry Bennett Surf Boards pty Ltd, Harbord Road, Brookvale).

Text courtesy of Dennis McDonagh.

Note: I had initially credited the representative of McDonagh Surfboards as "Greg" McDonagh.
In October, Denis Mc Donagh initiated contact when he emailed:
"I have the original black & white photo of this event and newspaper copy, which I organised
The person in the photo representing McDonagh surfboards was me.
Greg & I worked in the manufacturing business and later started Surf Dive n Ski.
Regards, Denis McDonagh"
The accreditation has been adjusted.


Supplementary Comment
Boardriding in South Vietnam during the war was dramatically illustrated in Francis Ford Coppala's Apocalypse Now (1979), where American marines were ordered into the waves while under fire in a demonstration of cultural superiority since "Charlie don't surf!"
The script was by John Milius, the director of the 1978 Hollywood surf film Big Wednesday.
Image right:
Surf Dive 'N Ski advertising photograph, 1969.
Image courtesy of Dennis McDonagh.

From left Other, Other, Tanya Binning, Dennis McDonagh.
Marshall Airways, Bankstown Areodrome.

Originally published in Surfing World
Volume 12 Number 2, 1969.

In 1969 the company had stores in George Street Sydney, Roselands Shopping Centre and Warringah Mall Brookvale.


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home catalogue history references appendix

Geoff Cater (2005-2015) : Catalogue : Manufacturer Index - McDonagh.
http://www.surfresearch.com.au/mmc_donagh.html