Lionel Dawson of Korumburra Victoria was a mechanical and electrical engineer who took out a patent for a fly fishing reel in January 1935. He took his design to a Melbourne instrument maker who made a prototype. It is unsure who made the early models but after World War II, they were manufactured by ‘Martin and King Pty. Ltd.’ who he was employed as a consulting engineer. Around 1948, he set up his own business as an automotive engineer and took over the manufacturing of his own reels until he ceased production in the mid 1950’s.

Walter Dawson- apparently no relation to Lionel- also produced a fly reel in small quantities just after the war. Dawson was an English-born engineer who migrated to Australia and when war broke out was managing the small-arms factory at Orange in the central west of New South Wales. One thing the two Dawson’s did share, however, was an interest in trout Acclimatisation, and Walter was president of the Orange Trout Acclimatisation Society for 25 years. After the war he started his own precision engineering business.

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