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History of Fremantle Rowing Club 1887-1987

By Ralph Jeffreys

8. Changing Times 1967-1977

From 1966 onwards. the Annual Premiership Competition underwent a gradual but steady change in structure. Coxless rowing was extended. The Feature Races as such disappeared. Champion Eight distance of three miles and other Championship Races of two miles were no more. The Championships were awarded to the winners of the final events of the season for each category, with the distance based on the Olympic distance, and the same distance for the Championship as the "lead-up" races. The Champion Eight was rowed over 2000 metres the same distance as the "lead up" Senior Eights.

The number of Championship Events was increased, there had been 4 State Championships in 1907, 6 in 1930, 8 in 1966, 12 in 1972, 16 in 1982 and in 1986 a total of 41 made up as follows, 18 for men 13 for women, 10 for veteran men and 4 for veteran women.

A new category of rowing had been introduced to accommodate veterans (30 years of age and over) and womens rowing was extended into grades similar to mens rowing.

The overall effect of these changes appears to direct premierships further away from the smaller Clubs and towards the numerically strong Clubs. To illustrate the position - in order to have each rower racing in one event only in a regatta in mid-season, it would require a force of 68 men and 51 women and a convoy of boat transports. The merits or demerits of these changes are not the purpose of a history.

Success in Championship events was achieved in 1969 by the Champion Maiden Eight comprising Peter Jeffreys (Stroke), Geoff Bolton (7), Max Gordon (6), Bill Stewart (5), Rex Bryant (4),Wayne Walker (3), Bruce Atkinson (2), Peter Mclntosh (Bow), Kevin Kelly (Cox) and Barry Ralston (Coach) and in 1978 Champion Junior Coxless Four comprising Peter Aberle (Stroke), Dean Aberle (3), Terry Berle (2) and Brad. Abbott (Bow) were successful.

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