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History of Murray Rowing Association

6. The Lost Years and Thereafter

Corowa Junior Four - Henley on Yarra 1932

G Rosser, J Cuthbert, V Howard, R Howard Stroke, N Adams Cox.

The 1940 Regatta saw rowing back on Lake Moodemere. Mr. John Hiskins, Snr., a member of an old rowing family in the district, was in attendance; he had only missed two Regattas since the first Regatta on the river in 1860. At this Regatta, a Rutherglen-Lake crew won both the Maiden and Junior Fours with the same crew (Stroke, G. H. Briggs, who was President of the Murray Rowing Association, 1953-1962, E Eylward, E. Briggs and W. Bourke). In the latter race they even defeated the crew that later went on to win the Senior Fours.

However, war had started and for the next five years there was no Regatta. For this reason (combined with others discussed in the last section of this booklet) the centenary of the Murray-Moodemere Regatta was not held one hundred years after the first Regatta, but is celebrated at the 1966 Regatta.

During the years of World War II, the Rutherglen-Lake and Corowa Clubs loaned their boats to the R.A.A.F. units stationed in the area. With new rowers, some of the boats were re-named, the best known names being "Whato" and "Queen of Hearts". Later in the war, during 1944 and 1945, a local Committee with W. D. Raitt as President, and Reg. Chandler as Secretary organised patriotic regattas and gymkhanas in aid of the Patriotic Fund.

The first peace-time Regatta after World War II was held on the Murray River downstream from Wahgunyah on New Year's Day, 1946.

For the next Regatta, Lake Moodemere was again the venue. Now the Rutherglen Wine Grower's Association had donated a cup to be presented to the Club who won the Maiden Eight oared race thrice. The Mercantile Rowing Club won this race for the third time at the 1947 Regatta and thus won the new cup, having won the same race previously in 1931 and 1937.

Mr. Max Bailey, a member of the 1931 crew, received the cup on behalf of the Club.

Winners Senior Challenge Fours MRA Regatta 1st January 1931

E Buckingham Stroke, L Jackson , G Briggs, L Taylor, D Bourke Cox
J Prentice Manager, J Harris Coach

The Yea Rowing Club made its first appearance at the 1952 Regatta, after having been formed earlier in the 1950's.

For the first time in the Club's history, Rutherglen-Lake won the Maiden Eights event in 1953 with D. Deas, bow; D. Stanton, B. Pearce, A. Pleming, C. Taylor, E. Taylor, L. Pearce, Stroke and I. Jasper, Cox.

A completely new course was properly surveyed at the Lake for the holding of the Victorian Pair-Oared Championships in 1959 when these Championships were held at the Regatta of that year. The winners were: Senior Pair, Melbourne University Rowing Club, in 6 Minutes 33 seconds; Junior Pair, Richmond, in 6 Minutes 52 seconds; Lightweight, South Melbourne, in 6 Minutes 51 seconds. Colac, whose Regatta day usually coincided with that of the Murray Rowing Association, changed the date of their Regatta, thus enabling an increased number of Melbourne crews to attend at Lake Moodemere.

Once again, in 1963, the Regatta had to be held on the Murray River at Corowa, due to the low level of Lake Moodemere. However, river currents favoured the stations on the South bank and the Regatta was not a success. As a result of this failure and because the Lake was again too low in the following year, the 1964 Regatta was held at Yarrawonga Weir. Last year (1965) the Regatta was back again at Lake Moodemere. A pipe inlet had been constructed from the Murray River because with the increased height of the Hume Reservoir, the filling of the Lake could no longer be left to natural flooding. Thus is a suitable water level on the Lake ensured for rowing at present. However, the pipe inlet was not the only improvement in 1965. New toilet blocks and dressing sheds were also erected.

Over the last few years an added attraction has been a Regatta Girl Competition. In the very early years a "Lady of the Lake" competition was held, but this did not last long. "The Border Morning Mail" has donated a sash for competition for Senior Regatta Girl which has gained in popularity since the second World War, mainly due to the effort of Mr. Henry Tufft. In later years four sections have been held.

For this year's Regatta (1st January, 1966) when the M.R.A. celebrates the one hundredth Regatta, the Victorian Pair-Oared Championships are once again being held on Lake Moodemere.

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