A shy man he became an expert on marine life in Australian waters and was often consulted by educational and research institutions. His collection of marine specimens is now believed to be held in the Sydney Museum.
Whilst talking to a lady customer called Jean Steptoe, the idea of forming a lapidary club was conceived as both felt that it could succeed.
An advertisement was placed in the local newspaper inviting expressions of interest from the general public which resulted in an inaugural meeting on the 20th. January, 1965 at the Rock and Shell Shop which was located on the corner of Oxley Avenue and Chatham Street.
Thirty one people attended and the nucleus of the club was formed. A temporary committee was appointed namely: Chairman, Ossie Rippingale. Secretary, Miss Greer Knouth. Treasurer, Miss Dawn Graham and temporary committee members , Miss Edith Dawson, Miss Granger Smith, and Mr. Vin.
A constitution was adopted and after much discussion the name ”Redcliffe Peninsula Lapidary Club” was chosen. The first two or three meetings were held in the Rock Shop.
After examining several likely premises for a club room, it was decided to rent the laundry and back room of the residence of Mr Rippingale at 1b Chatham Street behind the Rock Shop for 1 pound a week.
The club fees decided on were:-
- Joining fee:- One Guinea Use of machines:- Two shillings and sixpence.
- Annual fees:- Two Guineas Slabbing:- One shilling per square inch.
The next problem was to obtain the machinery. Six keen members each loaned twenty pounds (which was repaid) to the club and the following machines were purchased:-
- 4 grinders, 5 sanding discs for grit paper, One slabbing saw and 1 polishing disc.
Working bees were held to make stand and benches for the machines. Mr. W. Files set up the machinery and rendered great assistance.
A Grand Opening was held on Wednesday the 7th. April, 1965. Jean Steptoe performed the opening ceremony on behalf of the President who was ill and the first recorded payment for the use of the club machinery was made on the 14th of April 1965.
Arthur Crook believes that Percy Woodrow was a founding member and much credence must be given to this. Unfortunately the minute books from the early days of the club vanished at about the time of the death of the then secretary, a Mr Donald Daley.
- Mrs. A. Barrett — Mr. R. Haupt — Mrs. M. Haupt
- Mr. Paggariaro — Mrs. Paggariaro — Miss M. Stephenson
- Mrs. Jones — Mr. Jones — Mr. O. Rippingale
- Mr. Prentice — Mrs. Prentice — Mrs. H. Watson
- Mrs. T. Clode — Miss G. Crase — Mrs. P. Midolo
- Mrs. Gloria Lee — Mr Lee — Miss A. Grainger-Smith
- Mr. Steptoe — Mrs. J. Steptoe — Miss Ruth Mc Lean
- Mr. J. Fergusson — Mrs. Wood — Mrs. D. Partington
- Miss D. Graham. (Svensson) — Miss W Graham — Mr. P. Woodrow
- The first official committee was:- President: Mr. Ossie. Rippingale.
- Vice President: Mr. William Files.
- Secretary: Miss Annette Grainger-Smith.
- Treasurer: Miss Margaret Stevenson.
- Instructors: Allan Hatton, Jean Steptoe.
- Margaret Stevenson and Mrs. Midolo.