Ronald Edward Chave
VMCC # 207
Ron’s grandfather, Henry, immigrated to Albany W.A. by boat from England in 1911, included in the family was Ron’s father, Cyril, then aged 5. The Chaves became farmers in Katanning, but farming the vast, hot acres of W.A. was a far cry from English farming practices and the venture was not successful. A move to Perth followed and Henry went into business as a general carrier with horse and cart. Cyril took over when Henry retired, operating from the family home in Mt Hawthorn which also had a stable behind the house. Swan Brewery was one of Cyril’s clients, through good times and bad, there’s a demand for beer especially in a port city like Fremantle, a daily stop for Cyril. The business moved into the twentieth century in 1935 with the purchase of a 1928 Chevrolet truck.
Ron was born on 29th July 1933 and his proud parents Maude and Cyril apparently liked having him around, as they went on to produce for Ron three brothers and one sister. The young Ron attended Mt Hawthorn State School and progressed to Perth Junior Tech; he quite enjoyed school and was an average student – his own assessment there!
School days over, and Ron’s first job was with West Cycles in James St, where he learned to assemble wheels and gained useful experience in the paint shop. This was a job, not a career, and in 1949 Ron was very happy to be apprenticed to builder Sid Oulds in Victoria Park, where he served his time as a carpenter. A reluctant appearance in the Perth Children’s Court cost Ron the (then) princely sum of ten shillings ($1.00). And to exactly what awful misdemeanour did this seemingly model citizen plead, guilty, your honour? Riding his bicycle on the footpath, no less!
Ron was pretty keen on the push bike though and equipped with his new Swansea cycle he joined Western Districts Cycle Club. A leading light there was Jack Cassidy, in whose barber shop club meetings were held, and considerable guile was employed to sit in the barber’s chair, the very best seat in the house. Ron did win one trophy with the club, after presentation to him it was taken away for engraving and he’s still awaiting its return.
Pedal power gave way to petrol power in 1950. Ron was offered a 1937 BSA Empire Star for ₤50. The bike had been raced at Brooklands and was something of a bitzer, but Ron agreed to buy it, took it home, hid it in the shed and then asked father for the money. And of course, father initially said “No”. Fortunately he later relented, after giving our would-be motorcyclist some anxious moments.
Social membership of the Ariel club followed, then the A.J.S. club in the 70’s and early 80’s.
In 1951, national service required Ron’s talents. This proved to be a very enjoyable interlude and Ron’s opinion, is that every eighteen year old should be so called up.
The Empire Star made way for a 1949 Ariel twin.
Anzac House in St Georges Terrace hosted regular dances, and after finishing “Nashos” Ron attended these and caught the eye of the charming young Trish Nash, a machinist for Mercier Modes.
The attraction was mutual and they married in 1955. Trish’s older sisters had already gone out with motorcyclists, thus breaking down the usual parental barriers somewhat, and Trish’s dad had always said “marry a tradesman”.
A 1937 Chev ute replaced the Ariel but not before Ron had a nasty spill. Working in Pantapin, he’d done some repairs on the bike and took it for a test ride on a local track (gravel), rounded a corner, hit a boulder and woke up in Quairading Hospital wondering where on earth he was, both Ron and Ariel battered and bruised.
A trip with a mate, with his tuned up Matchless, for road racing in Bunbury didn’t quite go as planned. They arrived hungry, and cruised the main street late on Saturday afternoon looking for a feed, but a U-turn saw the ladder rack on the side of the ute hook onto the awning of Cronshow’s Department Store, completely destroying said awning. Ron should have been a politician, “he can’t remember” what they did next but admits its just possible they may have disentangled themselves and bolted.
Once married and wanting a home, this tradesman then made five thousand cement bricks! And built a garage, laundry and toilet on the block they’d purchased in Carlisle, living in this garage whilst Ron built the house. Their first son arrived in 1956, followed by two more sons and a daughter. Ron and Trish have eleven grand daughters and three grandsons.
A BSA Bantam was pressed into service when the ute wasn’t serviceable, but daily trips to a job in Rockingham with sugar bag over shoulder with nail bag, hammer, crowbar and handsaw didn’t impress Ron one bit, and possibly was influential in replacing the old ute with a 1946 version.
In 1964 Ron realised a dream and opened his own business and for the next 15 years was kept very busy contracting for State Housing Commission and Commonwealth Department of Works. Eventually Ron started as a supervisor with State Housing.
The Carlisle home was sold and Ron was rebuilding in Dianella, meanwhile renting in Bayswater. Rentals were in high demand and the awful place they managed to find in King William St (imagine a bath filling with sewerage through the plug hole!) prompted a hurried move. They’d built a double garage minus doors on the new block already so Ron decided late one afternoon to pick up materials in his trailer to frame up the garage opening to form a single door and window to make a mini house. Proudly he surveyed the finished product when the conversation went something like:
“Er Ron? “
“Yes darling? “
“Um, ah, how are you planning to get the trailer out of this mini house? “
“ #@#[email protected]#####! “
Trish and Ron managed to manhandle the trailer in question on its side out of the single door.
Ron and Trish moved to Derby SHC office in 1982. Trish enjoyed the freedom from looking after their now grown up family, but Ron didn’t especially enjoy the change and they returned to Perth transferring to D.P.I as property maintenance officer.
In 1984 a trip to the U.K. included seeing the Isle of Man T.T. (with Wayne Gardner on a 250) and Brands Hatch Historic Racing, also Biggin Hill, the famed W.W.II fighter base and now a museum.
Ron knew a gentleman named John Boyd and found him to be a totally reliable and trustworthy electrician. John persuaded Ron to join the V.M.C.C. in 1990.
There was a large quality steel framed building in Brown St East Perth which had to be demolished for the East Perth Redevelopment. Ron was impressed with the quality of the steelwork fabrication and hated the idea of turning it into scrap, so came up with the brainwave to have it relocated to Whiteman Park to house the wonderful collection of old tractors, then at the mercy of the elements. Officialdom were unimpressed but Ron was adamant, this was a fine building too good to scrap; this guy kept hounding the beauracrats so eventually they gave the O.K. He arranged various quotes for these works and now Whiteman Park has a very fine asset. Ironically, when Ernie Bridge officially opened the building in 1992 one man didn’t rate an invitation – Ron Chave.
In 1996 Ron and Trish attended a rally in Hahndorf S.A. which involved Ron riding off for a week with Trish left in the caravan. It was a cold, wet and miserable ‘flu affected Trish who asked Ron “How was it?” Ron’s enthusiastic “Just so great, wonderful week darling!” was the last straw. Trish said there had better be a sidecar, and a sidecar there was and all is still well. There are in fact two sidecars for different occasions – a plunger BSA A10 for events affected by the twenty year rule and a Honda 750 with Goanna, a very comfy outfit. Also in the shed a 1951 Ariel Ron rebuilt and his Montesa 250 he rides in hill climbs.
A mobile caravan has been added to the fleet and has provided some wonderful times, often in company with club members.
Ron built the house in Noranda, placing the Dianella house on the market which produced a quick sale. Both keep busy, a woman’s work is never done they say, and Trish finds time to produce beadwork for all the grand daughters and also makes some nice folk art and teddy bears. Ron keeps busy with his well maintained bikes and there are frequent calls for a carpenter from the family.
Ron’s very modest about being named “Clubman of the Year” at this year’s trophy giving, but his name was not drawn out of a hat. He’s a very regular participant in all club events, but much more than that, when there’s chairs to be stacked, Ron does it, when there’s the tent to be put up or down, there is Ron again and no one has even asked him to do it. He has served a couple of terms as Events Co-Ordinator and is currently a machine examiner. Every viable club needs it’s Ron Chaves, a worthy Clubman of the Year!
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