Skip navigation

History of Essendon Ladies' Rowing Club

9. Analysis and Conclusions

A brief history of women's rowing at Essendon has been rediscovered. Despite the 1987 fire destroying precious documents and items, the information gathered here has led to insight of the ELRC's achievements especially in the late 1920s and 30s, the fine relationship with the ERC, and the hardships which resulted in the demise of the club. The author notes that whilst this historical contribution contains exclusive primary information, it has delved into particular eras, mainly the inter-war period and the 1980s. Information of the ELRC in the mid-twentieth century, particularly the 1940s and 50s still lies unexplored. This paper should instigate further research into the history of the ELRC.

The first two decades of the ELRC were times of achieving milestones. The exact year the ELRC began remains uncertain, however according to the presented information it seems the women of Essendon started rowing around I 920. The men's and women's clubs only had an anglers club separating them. They shared a strong relationship, lending support and backing each other up at regattas, and they worked in unison towards the progression of their beloved sport. The red and black colours have now become the trademark colours of Essendon, even though the ladies wore slightly different uniforms to begin with. The ladies were celebrated throughout the region having won the Australian Championship in the Coxed Fours, not only once, but four times. They were the most successful ladies club in Victoria in the 1930s, winning the ladies premierships for so many years.

The last two decades of the ELRC were unfortunately not as successful. They did win some great races, but the club lacked the support from its members and this almost led to its folding in 1987. However, the small Essendon women's rowing fraternity was not lost, as they were then able to row at the ERC when the two clubs amalgamated shortly thereafter. The fire was most devastating for all the remaining and past ELRC members, as well as for the ERC. It is such a shame that the inventories were not done before the fire, which resulted in no real record of what archival sources were destroyed.

The ELRC existed for at least sixty-four years (pre-1923 to 1987). It provided its members with many memories of a great sport which has now become one of the strongest internationally competitive sports for women. This has been a brief and enlightening rediscovery of the ELRC, and it warrants a more thorough research for a full and exhaustive historical review of the ELRC. The guarded suitcase remains closed and some loyal ELRC members anticipate setting the record straight, thus putting their minds at ease. The author envisages this contribution can now be extended in the near future, and completing the task of filling further gaps will be endeavoured.

The Essendon Ladies will be remembered.

 

< previous Chapter 8

> next Chapter 10

top of page