Swanson Bros were one of the principal Sydney boatbuilders from the 1960s through to the 1980s. They had premises at Dee Why on the northern peninsular of Sydney. Brothers Ron, Jim and Ken worked together and their staff have included well known people in the NSW marine industry such as Doug Brooker and Keith Lambert. Their first premsies were at The Spit in Sydney before they moved to Dee Why.
They are best known for a number of classic wooden yachts such as CAMILLE OF SEAFORTH, the CARMEN class yachts including CADENCE, CARRONADE and CAVALIER, then later the Swanson 32 fibreglass IOR Mk II design of the 1970s.
CAMILLE and the CARMENs were a product of their collaboration with designer Wally Ward, an advocate of the metacentric shelf principle for balanced hull design. Ward's designs featured a well proportioned canoe stern, and were both beautiful and sea-kindly. Strongly built by Swansons, they helped establish them in the business, and Ron Swanson began designing craft as well, with success on many occasions. The Swanson 36 was an early example of an Australian fibreglass production yacht. It sailed well in Australia and was built to the new IOR Mk II rating rule as a One Ton Class yacht. A modest number were sold and MATIKA cmae third in the 1967 Sydney to Hobart race.. They also designed and built three cruising yachts at 28, 38 and 42 feet length, they were very sturdy and capable craft.
Their yachts had many racing successes, but a curious one was the three consectutive second placings in the 1963 to 1965 Sydney to Hobart yacht races. CAVALIER, CAMILLE and then CAMELOT respectively took second each time, an event overshadowed by the record breaking three-times consecutive winner FREYA.
Swansons were respected as quality builders and many of their craft have cruised extensively throughout the world, and won many of the major ocean races around Australia. The business closed in 1985, and Jim Swanson stayed with the industry becoming a marine surveyor. He passed away in 2013.