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History of Rowing Victoria Inc

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Rowing in a young Victoria
  3. Formation of the Association
  4. Growth of the Sport 1876-1889
  5. Years of great success 1890-1899
  6. The rise of Henley on the Yarra 1900-1909
  7. The War Years 1910-1919
  8. Women's rowing and the modern era 1920-1929
  9. The Depression years 1930-1939
  10. War and rebuilding 1940-1949
  11. Expansion years 1950-1959
  12. The search for international success 1960-1969
  13. Combining the Associations and lightweight success 1970-1979
  14. The new national program 1980-1989
  15. Golden years 1990-1999
  16. Professionalism 2000-2009
  17. Yet More Growth 2010-2019


  1. Life Membership and other important awards
  2. Patrons and Presidents
  3. Office Bearers
  4. Clubs and their histories
  5. The Oarsmen's Centotaph and WWI Roll of Honour
  6. WWII Roll of Honour
  7. Premierships
  8. State Championships
  9. Hall of Fame Inductees
  10. Victorian Olympians
  11. International representation
  12. Intercolonial and Interstate Racing
  13. School rowing
  14. University rowing
  15. Personalities of the sport

Appendix 1. Life Membership and other important awards

Life membership

There have been very few life members elected to the Association. Life members are elected as a result of their long and exceptional service to the Association. Life membership has been a relatively recent innovation with the first person elected in 1970.

Last updated 1st January 2016.

Year of Election Life Member
1970 Noel F Wilkinson AM BEM (desc)
1972 Norman W Cairnes (desc)
1976 W Ray B Todd (desc)
Date unknown Jess Pinkerton (desc)
Date unknown May Laird (desc)
Date unknown Jess Stockman (desc)
Date unknown Kath Bennett
Date unknown Caroline Judd
1980 Robert (Bob) R Aitken MBE (desc)
1984 William (Bill) J Waterfield (desc)
1986 J William (Bill) Bradshaw (desc)
1988 James L Hardie (desc)
1991 G Harvey Nicholson (desc)
1993 David H Boykett
1999 Edward (Ted) Woolcock (desc)
1999 Robert (Bob) C Morell OAM (desc)
1999 Hon Mr Justice Hubert R Frederico (desc)
2004 Brian Vear (desc)
2004 H James Lowe
2007 Roger B Wilson OAM
2009 Eric Waller
2010 David Deeble (desc)
2011 Peter Antonie OAM
2011 Michael McKay OAM
2011 James Tomkins OAM
2012 Peter Fraser
2013 David Pincus
2015 Andrew Guerin


In more recent times, Rowing Victoria introduced four new awards to recognise some of the great work being done for rowing in Victoria. These were introduced over a number of years. The Awards Committee during this time, namely Peter Fraser (Chairman), Andrew Guerin and Roger Wilson, identified the need for greater recognition of our key volunteers.

William Waterfield Award

This award is for outstanding service to Victorian rowing. It is named after life member Bill Waterfield, an exemplar of a person who has provided long and outstanding service to the sport. He was the backbone of the administration of the Association for some 30 years. The winners of this award have been:

2008-09 Susie Palfreyman, MUBC
2009-10 Rod Florence, APSM
2010-11 Paul McGann, Mercantile
2011-12 Frank Covill, Geelong Rowing Association
2012-13 Denis Bourke, Hawthorn
2013-14 Andrew Guerin, Mercantile
2014-15 Ron Widgery, Wendouree Ballarat

Kath Bennett Award

This award is for outstanding service to a rowing community in Victoria. All too often the great work of people in a club, regatta committee, region or other segment of the sport is not acknowledged. The award is named after life member Kath Bennett who was instrumental in reinvigorating women's rowing in Victoria prior to the amalgamation of the men's and women's rowing associations in 1979.

2008-09 Robert Eyers, Corowa
2009-10 Rob Stewart, MUBC
2010-11 Sean Drew, Barwon
2011-12 Glenn Bottrell, Essendon
2012-13 Paul Somerville, Murray Rowing Association
2013-14 Eric Waller, Wendouree Ballarat
2014-15 Geoff Talbot, Mildura

Bob Duncan Award

This award is for outstanding service to umpiring. Given the heavy workload undertaken by our umpires, a special award was deemed appropriate. Bob Duncan is an Olympian but more importantly a dedicated, long serving and excellent umpire. He led the improvement in umpiring standards and broke new ground in many aspects of umpiring. The award recognises those umpires who display excellence in their work and also improve umpiring in other ways.

2009-10 Ron Mitchell, Yarra Yarra
2010-11 Rene Klupacs, Corio Bay
2011-12 William Webster, Mercantile
2012-13 David Grubits, Melbourne
2013-14 William Webster, Mercantile
2014-15 Robin Murphy, Banks

Susie Palfreyman Award

This award recognises an outstanding contribution to school rowing. The award is named after Susie Palfreyman who undertook great work in school rowing. Susie developed a world class girls program at MLC, was a founder of the Head of the Schoolgirls regatta and generally is a great supporter of school rowing. She is also a superb role model for women in sport.

2011-12 Rob Zahara, MUBC
2012-13 Tom Abramowski, Mercantile
2013-14 Josie Millard, MUBC
2014-15 Jane Mitchell, Wesley College



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