Sometimes described as a “boisterous buffoon”, Mr Dyer’s private life was just that. He rarely attended functions, preferring a quieter life with Dolly on the boat he designed, Tennessee II, which he kept moored near the house. The Dyers’ boat was not a runabout, but built for big-game fishing, at which they both excelled, breaking more than 200 local and international records.
On the Mosman Memories Facebook page, a contributor calling himself ‘Maudlin’ details strong vignettes of growing up in Bay Street:
“I used to see the radio personality Bob Dyer shopping for prizes for his show, around the Spit Junction shops, especially the electrical retailer located just near the Kings Picture Theatre,” he writes. “You could always tell when Bob Dyer was around by his distinctive grey Willys station wagon with its varnished timber framework. He lived with his wife, Dolly, in a flat at Balmoral early on, but later moved to 10 Bay Street on the southern side, a home which boasted a croquet lawn, a tennis court, harbour-side baths complete with a boat shed and boat ramp, among other things. Shortly after moving to his new home, he had a swimming pool built in his backyard, so I brazenly asked him one day if I could use his harbour-side baths instead of walking all the way over to the Cremorne Baths. He agreed, provided that I didn’t use it if he had guests. He used to keep his boat, Tennessee II mainly on his boat ramp when he wasn’t using it, and I believe he had it serviced by [well-known boating family] Halvorsens who had a boat shed in Middle Harbour at Cremorne.”
At home, Bob was an accomplished handyman with his own workshop and a photography darkroom. Image SLNSW.
At home, Mr Dyer loved nothing more than woodwork. He made plinths for trophies, stands for shark jaws and marlin heads. No doubt using skills he acquired doing odd jobs, he designed and built furniture in a well-equipped workshop that abutted his dark room, where he developed his own photos.
The most famous Pick A Box contestant was the stellar winner, Barry Jones, who spent time with the Dyers socially. Mr Jones described Bob Dyer as a staunch denouncer of religious and racial intolerance, and “an old-fashioned liberal”.
Bob Dyer won three Logies, one jointly with Dolly. Both were appointed honorary British awards, Dyer an OBE, and Dolly an MBE. After retirement, Bob was unrecognisable, which was his wish, after he grew a thick beard. He was later diagnosed with dementia. The Dyers lived a reclusive life on the Gold Coast, where he died in 1984, and Dolly died 20 years later. The couple had no children.