ASTON ‘Titch’ Cayzer was lucky to have turned 13 years old when he left school to take up a boat building apprenticeship in Queenscliff.
It was the beginning of a wonderful career that would see him hone his craft while working alongside his father, Bob, in what would eventually become the renowned Cayzer family business.
By the time he retired in 1987, Aston had built about 240 wooden boats – along with a few steel boats for special customers – and passed on his knowledge to many others including his sons, Allan and Keith, and grandson Daniel.
Allan spoke proudly of the legacy left behind by his adored father who sadly passed away on October 7 at the age of 96.
He said the marine industry legend was given a fitting farewell at a private service held at the site of his old Beach Street slipway which was named in honour of the Cayzer family earlier this year.
“I was a little resistant at first but I couldn’t have thought of a better way to have a service for dad than on that location with boats going up and down the creek, it was just quite remarkable,” Allan said.
Aston was born in 1924 and was proud to be a fourth generation Cayzer residing in Point Lonsdale, which now stretches to seven generations.
He was a loving husband to Joyce (dec), grandfather to eight and great-grandfather to 14.
Allan said his dad was a polite and quiet man with strong values and who was always respectfully dressed in a jacket, tie and a hat.
“We worked together for all of those years and we didn’t disagree because he didn’t want to disagree,” he recalled.
“That was his nature – he never argued with anybody.”
Aston was also someone who liked to teach others and he was delighted when his grandson Daniel undertook a boat-building apprenticeship and took the helm of Cayzer Boats.
“Dad was very passionate about wooden boats and he had the eye for that and the skills needed,” Allan said.
“He was dedicated in building the boats as strong as possible because he often said to us ‘they’ve got to be built to the best standard and as strong as possible because these guys can’t walk home’.
“He never wanted anything to happen to our boats.
“It was hard, heavy work and we used to laugh and say ‘keep fit and trim in Cayzer’s gym’ – that was a standard joke.”
Allan said his dad had overcome a few health setbacks in recent years but suffered a debilitating stroke two days before he passed away.
He said Aston was buried with some Huon pine shavings, caulking cotton “to keep him busy” and a model couta boat.
“It just fitted in with who he was because
Huon pine is a remarkable timber and we loved building boats with that,” he said.