Woodside Fishing Reel, History & Reference Information by Bernie Ladd, 20/4/2014.

Woodside surf casting reel, designed by engineer Ron Dorman, an avid fisherman from Mentone Vic.

Ron Dorman, Engineer & Company Founder. 21.5.1918 - 31.3.2006.

Woodside surf casting reel -C 1950.

Click to zoom Drum.

Ronald Vincent Dorman, the son of a Victorian Railways station assistant and the eldest of three brothers and one sister, was born in Newstead Victoria.The family eventually moved to Melbourne where Ron attended Cheltenham State PrimarySchool. His secondary education was at Caulfield Technical College from where he graduated dux of his final year with a certificate and scholarship to attend the Melbourne Technical College (MTC). In 1939 he graduated with a Diploma of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, and was accepted to the Institution of Engineers Australia.


During his MTC years he worked part-time for Elcon Fans. His first significant early engineering work was with Bearing Service Co. In 1940 he used the term draughtsman rather than engineer - a reserved occupation, to enlist in the AIF.This was quickly exposed and he was refused entry, but shortly answered an RAAF advertisement for engineers, becoming a Commissioned Pilot Officer Engineer in 1941. After having served in Australia and 18 months in the South West Pacific war zone, he was demobbed in 1946 as a Squadron Leader.He returned to Melbourne and joined HV McKay Massey Harris Ltd. as an engineer designing farming equipment. In 1948, he formed a partnership called ARC (Athol Ron & Cec) with youngest brother Athol and pre-war friend Cec Palmer. Together they built a small jobbing machining facility in Mentone Victoria and began machining plummer bearing blocks for Bearing Service Company. This was supplemented with ARC’s own products, such as a multiplying surf fishing reel with the brand name of Woodside Surf Reel RV Dorman & Co. Melbourne. In 1958, the partnership became a registered company and the volume of product output increased. By then it was clear the company would need room for expansion and a land was duly purchased at 78 White Street, Mordialloc and a basic factory and offices were built. In 1972 Ron retired as Managing Director of DORMAN, but retained Chairmanship. Ron moved with his young family to Prosephine Queensland and continued to act as a consultant for DORMAN Pty.Ltd. DORMAN was eventially sold on 1 April 1981 to Inductotherm Australia Pty.Ltd.

Concurrent with this activity Ron set up a new enterprise, Shute Harbour Industries (SHI) Pty. Ltd. A subsidiary company, Cannonvale Marine Centre (CMC) at Airlie Beach Queensland, was opened in 1973. The buisness activity was boat and outboard motor sales. As part of this business Ron also operated a 11.3 metre aluminium crusier for game fishing charter. To do that Ron had to gain another qualification, Grade IV Coastal Ship's Masters Ticket. Ron and his son Peter managed the CMC. In 1988, yet another new product appeared, the DORMAN Marine Fuel Filter. The CMC was sold in 1993, but the jobbing shop/fuel filter manufacturing facility remained in buisness untill 2005, when Ron's advancing years brought about the closure of  SHI.

Woodside reel internal image.

Specifications: Woodside surf casting revolving drum multiplying fishing reel, designed by Ron Dorman. Cast aluminium alloy gear housing side T saddle, finished in flat black; high tensile aluminium alloy anodised drum width 1  1/16'', diameter 3 3/8'' (vernier measured); phosphor-bronze main gear; Hoffman ball bearings; nickel plated brass knurled clutch drag adjusment with anti-reverse; knock-on free spool drum, lever nickel plated brass; oiling cap nickel plated brass; gear ratio 2 : 1; single handle-knob, nickel plated brass crank.

WOODSIDE RV DORMAN & Co. MELBOURNE SURF REEL on circular aluminium plate. -C.1950.

Woodside fishing reel, ReeLman's rare reels ® R A PAGE 43. Copyright © 2009-2020, Bernard (Bernie) Ladd,