Cyril Letts Reserve
by David Thompson
The triangle-shaped open space between Edwards Avenue and Howe Parade remained an unidentified reserve until the early 1980s when it was named in honour of former Port Melbourne Councillor and Mayor, Cyril Letts.
Cyril was born in Wedderburn in October 1908 and came to Port Melbourne in 1927 marrying local girl, Ruby Buckley on 10 August 1929. The family were active members of the Holy Trinity Anglican Church with their only son Kenneth becoming an Anglican priest before eventually serving as an Archdeacon in France from 2007 to 2012.
Cyril worked for the Dunlop Rubber Company and then established his own taxi company in 1930. He served with the RAAF during the Second World War and resumed his taxi business when he returned to Australia.
In 1946 he joined Port Melbourne Football Club (PMFC) serving in a number of positions before becoming club President in 1951 holding the position until the end of the 1966 season. The Borough won three premierships during his presidency (1953, 1964 and 1966) but it was a case of what could have been with the club finishing runners-up on seven occasions (1951, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957 and 1965).
Ruby Letts worked on the PMFC Ladies Committee to support the club in many ways including making an annual donation of funds to help the club’s bottom line. Here she is (second from right) in the photograph of the Ladies Committee in the 1960s.
Cyril was elected to Port Melbourne Council on 15 May 1954 serving the city until he resigned on 24 September 1968. He was Mayor on three occasions – 1955-56, 1960-61 and 1966-67. He can be seen, second from right in the photograph below, watching Cr Ray Julier testing Subscriber Trunk Dialling during a demonstration at the PMG.
He was an active member of the Port Melbourne Bowling Club and won the club championship in 1967-68.
Cyril and Ruby Letts moved to Surfers Paradise on the 20 January 1970. Cyril died on 24 April 1973, aged 65.
U’Ren, N. and Turnbull, N. (1983) A history of Port Melbourne. Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press.
Keenan, T. (2011) In Safe Hands. Albert Park, Vic: Eucalyptus Press.
Keenan, T. (2008) A different breed: A history of the Port Melbourne Football Club, 1945-1995. Albert Park, Vic: Eucalyptus Press.
(1968) “Cr. Cyril Letts resigns from Port Melbourne Council”, Record, 28 Sep.
(1970) “Au Revoir; Not Goodbye! The Letts Leave Port”, Record, 24 Jan.
Wikipedia contributors, “Ken Letts,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ken_Letts&oldid=1128402637 (accessed June 9, 2023).