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Rowing Victoria

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

15. Personalities of the sport

Surname L

Those appearing below are:

  1. May Laird
  2. Walter Lambert, Richmond
  3. John Lang, MUBC
  4. Susan Lee, Mercantile
  5. Charles Lehman, Banks
  6. Charles Littlejohn, MUBC
  7. Matthew Long, Mercantile
  8. Lewis Luxton, Melb Grammar

May Laird

May Laird was a long standing President of the Victorian Ladies Rowing Association before it was amalgamated with men's Association. Further details will follow.

Andrew Guerin 2016

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Walter Lambert

Richmond Rowing Club
Born 4 Apr 1916 Died 8 Oct 1993
1939 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship stroke - Disqualified
1946 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship stroke – First
1947 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship stroke – First
1948 – Olympic Games - Men’s Coxed Four stroke – eliminated in repechage
1950 – British Empire Games – Men’s Coxless Pair stroke – Gold
Life member of Richmond Rowing Club

Ron March (left) long term Victorian selector and fellow Richmond Rowing Club rower congratulates Walter Lambert with 1946 King’s Cup cox Peter Wilding watching.

His was a fireman who rose to a station officer in various stations in Melbourne eastern suburbs.

Lambert, along with his club mate Ron March and regular partner Jack Webster, were of a very athletic build for oarsmen. Lambert was an outstanding stroke man who appears to have been only selected only in that seat. At that time, he was the best of Australian talent and a superb oar. Until 1988, he was the only Australian Olympic representative from his Club.

The Herald Sun obituary of 13 Oct 1993 was insightful with respect to his award this evening. Please remember that it is difficult to compare rowing achievements across different times. Wally Lambert was an outstanding oarsman who represented Australia at the Olympic Games and Empire Games. Mr Lambert’s widow, Sheila, said that her husband felt that he had reached the pinnacle of his rowing career when he was awarded an Olympic blazer to participate in the 1948 London Games. “He absolutely treasured his Olympic blazer and was so proud to have represented Australia” Mrs Lambert said. She said Mr Lambert regarded his greatest rowing achievement as the gold medal win in the coxless pairs at the 1950 Empire Games in New Zealand. Along with regular partner, Jack Webster, Mr Lambert was regarded as one of Australia’s champion rowers from 1930-50.

Andrew Guerin 2011

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John Lang

Melbourne University Boat Club
1920 - Vice-President Victorian Rowing Association.
1919 – Author of the “The Victorian Oarsman”
1904-1915 – Hon. Secretary of Henley on the Yarra Regatta which was Australia’s greatest aquatic carnival at that time.

John Lang

The MUBC history “Well Rowed University’ provides the following background. John Lang was born in Scotland and educated at Toorak College, Geelong Grammar School and Melbourne University. He rowed and coxed for his Club. At MUBC, he was variously President, Vice-President and Treasurer. He researched the history of MUBC, the oldest rowing Club still in existence today. He played an important role in the establishment the Melbourne University Sports Union, the establishment University Blues, the foundation and establishment of the Australian Henley Regatta and the establishment of extra collegiate rowing.

One of his greatest contribution to Victorian rowing was writing the book The Victorian Oarsman with Rowing Register published in 1919. It is his crowning achievement. This book chronicles the sport in Victoria from its inception through to the end of WWI. Not only was this was a massive task without the benefit of computers, it has very few errors which makes it even more amazing.

This book is the encyclopaedic record of our sport through that period with races records of all racing that took place. Without this record, a lot of the grand history of our sport would have been lost.

He was a generous man in the assistance given to the sport through the use of his significant skills.

Andrew Guerin 2015

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Susan Lee

Richmond Rowing Club & Mercantile Rowing Club
1984 – Interstate Women’s Four Championship cox – First
1984 – Olympic Games – Women’s Coxed Four cox – Bronze
1989 – Interstate Women’s Lightweight Four Championship bow – Race not conducted due to a cyclone.
Susan was an active club administrator being Honorary Treasurer of the Mercantile Rowing Club for four years and was a key person in growing women’s rowing at her club.

Susan is in centre front

Susan switched her interests from rowing to horses and cattle in 1992 joining Janet Holmes a Court’s pastoral empire, Heytesbury Pastoral Company, initially at Yacamunda Station in Northern Queensland where she met her future husband Paul. She then moved to the Northern Territory to manage, with her husband, three property leases for the Heytesbury Group. They were Birrindudu, Wallamunga and Nicholson Stations all in the Eastern Kimberley region of the company holdings. The leases combined a holding of 9,000 square kilometers, just a fraction smaller than the area of metropolitan Melbourne.

In 2004 Susan left the Heytesbury Group and with her husband Paul and another partner started up the Ray White Rural Franchise in Katherine, selling rural and residential real estate and livestock. They successfully built and ran this business until the end of 2007 deciding to sell at the height of the property market in the Northern Territory and Katherine and started up their own Livestock Contract Mustering business. They are one of the largest operating contracting businesses employing a staff of up to 15 people, and conducting all aspects of ground mustering using Stock horses and motorbikes.

Susan continues to live in the Northern Territory and is involved in every aspect of their business, mustering for clients across the Northern Territory from the Barkly Tableland and into the Kimberley area of Western Australia during the dry season.

Susan is a keen competitor in the sport of Campdrafting which is a test of horsemanship and control over cattle where the competitor has to cut an animal out from a mob and guide it around a figure of eight course before putting it through a gate, all in the shortest possible time.

Andrew Guerin 2010

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Charles Lehman

Banks Rowing Club
1962 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship two seat – First
1962 – British Empire & Commonwealth Games – Men’s Eight two seat – Gold
1962 – World Championships – Men’s Eight two seat – Fifth
1963 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship four seat – First
1964 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship emergency
1964 – Olympic Games – Men’s eight reserve
1977-78 – Victorian senior selector

1962 Commonwealth Games crew training on the Canning

Charles is in the two seat

Charles maintained his interest in the sport long after he ceased rowing through his club and State. He was an active coach, selector and administrator. As a rower he won several State Championships in addition to his noted activities above. He was noted as a tough and courageous. As with all good butchers, he is genial and well liked.


Andrew Guerin 2011

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Charles Littlejohn

Charles William Berry Littlejohn MC (4 January 1889 – 4 August 1960) was a rower who competed for Great Britain in the 1912 Summer Olympics. 1911 – Boat Race Oxford University - First
1912 – Boat Race Oxford University – First
1912 – Olympic Games British Men’s Eight seven seat - Silver
1926 – Head of the River Scotch coach - First

1908 Melbourne University Eight with Charles Littlejohn back row far right

Littlejohn was born in Nelson, New Zealand and attended Nelson College from 1898 to 1903. He then studied at Melbourne University (Ormond College) before going to New College, Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar from where he was a Diploma student in anthropology. He was a member of the winning Oxford crews in the Boat Race in 1911 and 1912. He was also a member of the New College eight which won the silver medal for Great Britain rowing at the 1912 Summer Olympics. He was subsequently decorated with the Military Cross while serving in World War I.

Andrew Guerin 2013

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Matthew Long

Sydney Rowing Club then Mercantile Rowing Club (VIC)
1991 – Trans Tasman Juniors Men’s Eight
1992 – Trans Tasman Juniors Men’s Eight
1997 – Nations Cup – Men’s Four two seat – Silver
1998 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship NSW stroke – Second
1998 – World Championships – Men’s Eight reserve
1999 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship NSW
2000 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship NSW - Second
2000 – Henley Royal Regatta - Grand Challenge Cup - First
2000 – Olympic Games – Men’s Coxless Pair bow – Bronze
2001 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship VIC – First
2001 – World Championships – Men’s Eight five seat - Sixth
2002 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship VIC five seat – First

2000 Sydney Games Pair - Matthew in the bow seat

Matthew has the distinction of winning the Men’s Pair at the Lucerne Regatta in a combination formed just prior to the start of the race with James Tomkins. You will recall that James’ usual pair partner Drew Ginn, had a serious back injury just before the heat of that race. Both Matt and James Tomkins regard this race and their medal at the Olympic Games on a limited preparation as one of the highlights of both their respective careers. It was a great credit to these two top rowers. Matt has therefore gained the title as the best spare man for any Australian team!

Andrew Guerin 2010

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Lewis Luxton

Later Lewis Luxton CBE and IOC Member in Australia (1910-1985)
The Committee was drawn to the nomination of Lewis Luxton not so much as a noted oarsman but for his fine work at the Olympic level. He brought great fame on the sport in Victoria and Australia.
1928 – APS Head of the River Melbourne Grammar stroke – unplaced
1929 – APS Head of the River Melbourne Grammar stroke – Third
1932 – Boat Race Cambridge University stroke – First (Lewis was the first Australian to Stroke a Cambridge crew and that he was accompanied by another, Bill Sambell, who had rowed with him at Melbourne Grammar.)
1932 – Olympic Games – UK Men’s Eight stroke - Fourth
1956 – Olympic Games – Executive Committee Member of the Melbourne Olympic Games Organising Committee

Lewis Luxton in 1963

He commenced rowing at Melbourne Grammar and in 1928 and 1929 and was stroke of their first crew. He proceeded to the University of Cambridge (BA, 1933; MA, 1960), England, and made his mark rowing for Pembroke College. He gained a swimming Blue, competed at university games in Germany, and was stroke of the crew that first defeated the University of Oxford and then represented Britain in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games.
His son James advised that his fathers great ambition in his youth was to row, first for the school and then for Cambridge University. Timing, talent, work and perhaps some luck produced the bonus of the first LA Olympics. He was always enthusiastic about oarsmen and rowing. He would have been very proud of the honour Rowing Victoria is bestowing.

Luxton succeeded his father as an IOC member in Australia and served on the AOF Executive Committee for many years. He is credited with building up the AOF reserves enormously with his fundraising, thus leaving the AOF in a strong financially stable position. Jointly with Hugh Weir he is acknowledged as winning the Melbourne bid for the 1956 Olympic Games when Melbourne defeated Buenos Aires by one vote. He was awarded a CBE for his services to the Olympic movement. However it fell to him to address the local squabbling that was undermining preparations for Melbourne’s 1956 Games. Following an ultimatum-laden visit by IOC president Avery Brundage, Luxton became full-time deputy-chairman (1955) of the Olympic Games Organising Committee. Promoting the Games in the United States of America and England as a great amateur event, not a contest for national supremacy, Luxton insisted that 'no one wins the Olympic Games'. His role in the Melbourne Games’ success was recognised when he was appointed CBE in 1957. In recognition of his service to international sport, Lewis was made an honorary member of the IOC upon his retirement in 1974.

Andrew Guerin 2013

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<back to Victorian Rowing Hall of Fame Index

< back to Personalities of the Sport Index


< previous Appendix 14 University Rowing

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