75 Lower Parriwi Road, The Spit, Mosman NSW 2088
T: (02) 9969 1244 | E: info@mhyc.com.au
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Vale Don Gillies

                                                                              1937 to 2024

It is with great sadness we share the recent passing of long-term MHYC member and a great supporter not only our club but the sailing community, Don Gillies.

Don was a Captain in the Australian Army and during his military service, he participated in a number of Inter Service Sailing Competitions in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra. He sailed in a number of Sydney to Hobart races as a member of a service crew on board Anaconda II. A highlight of his career was to sail on Anaconda from Sydney to Plymouth.

When Don retired from the Australian Army in 1981, he took up the position of Executive Director of the Yachting Association of NSW (YA). His main task at the Yachting Association of NSW was to gain better collaboration between members of the sailing community and the YA and to assist in the introduction of the Australian Yachting Federation (AYF) National Training Schemes into NSW.

Don was a member of MHYC for 38 years, joining MHYC in 1983. From the beginning he worked closely with Frank Likely who was busily involved in developing our Club into a premier training centre, wherein members and the general public could come and enrol in a wide variety of courses. This was all developed and run by volunteers.

When Frank passed away in 1990, his sailing and army mates from the war formed the Frank Likely Trust. Don was a founding member of this Trust and for many years was its chairperson. The Trust supported our very successful youth sailing program as well as many talented young sailors. In 1995 the Frank Likely Trustees, led by chairman Don Gillies, revived Frank’s practical safety demonstration days and in February 1996 Don ran a series of marine survival training courses.

Don, along with other MHYC legends such as Marian Packer, Buster Brown, Joanna van Gray, Frank Likely and Mike Fletcher also founded “The Sailing Birds” (first formed in 1976). The purpose of the group, originally called the Seagulls, was to give women the opportunity to learn the art of sailing. Many hundreds of women started their sailing career with Sailing Birds.

MHYC extends its sympathies Don’s family and many friends.

His family invites his friends to celebrate his life on

Wednesday 17 January at 1.30pm.

Northern Suburbs Crematorium, East Chapel.


Refreshments will be served after the service to share personal stories about our Don.

A livestream can be provided for those who cannot attend in person.


Julie Hodder