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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

Appendices

  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 T

Those appearing below are:

  1. Bill Tait, Mercantile
  2. Sarah Tait, Mercantile
  3. Rachael Taylor, Ballarat City/MUBC/Power House
  4. Lachlan Thompson, Richmond
  5. Ray Todd, Wendouree
  6. Martin Tomanovits, Mercantile
  7. James Tomkins, Mercantile
  8. Gayle Toogood, MUBC
  9. Gyles Turner, Banks

Bill Tait

Mercantile Rowing Club (VIC)
1995 – World Junior Championships – Men’s Coxless Four three seat – withdrew due to illness
1995 – Interstate Men’s Youth Eight Championship four seat - Fourth
1996 – Interstate Men’s Youth Eight Championship five seat – Fourth
1996 – Nations Cup – Men’s Coxless Four three seat - Eleventh
1999 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship four seat – Second
2001 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship four seat – First
2001 – World Championships – Men’s Eight three seat – Seventh
2005 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championships coach – Gold
2007 – Interstate Men’s Lightweight Four Championships coach – Fifth
2008 – Interstate Men’s Lightweight Four Championships coach – Fifth
2009 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championships coach – Gold
2010 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championships coach – Gold
2010 – World Championships Women’s Pair coach - Fourth
2010 – World Championships Women’s Four coach - Silver
2011 – World Championships Women’s Pair coach – Bronze
2011 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championships coach – Gold
2012 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championships coach – Gold
2012 – Olympic Games Women’s Pair coach – Silver
2013 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championships coach – Silver
2013 – World Championships Women’s Pair coach – Twelfth
2013 – World Championships Women’s Four coach – Bronze
2013 – World Championships Women’s Eight coach – Fifth
2014 – Interstate Championships Victorian head coach
2014 – World Championships Women’s Pair coach – Fifth
2014 – World Championships Women’s Eight coach – Tenth
2015 – World Championships Women’s Pair coach

Bill celebrates a win in the King's Cup in 2001 - Bill is far right

Andrew Guerin 2015

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Sarah Tait

Swan River Rowing Club and then Mercantile Rowing Club
2000 – World Junior Championships – Women’s Four three seat - Silver
2001 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championship two seat - Fourth
2002 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championship four seat - Third
2002 – World Under 23 Regatta – Women’s Four - Gold
2003 – Interstate Women’s Youth Eight Championship seven seat - First
2003 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championship five seat - Third
2003 – Under 23 World Regatta – Women’s Double Scull – Gold
2004 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championship four seat - Silver
2004 – Olympic Games Women’s Eight bow – Sixth
2005 – World Championships – Women’s Eight bow - Gold
2006 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championships six (WA) – Silver
2007 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championships four (WA) – Bronze
2007 – World Championships Women’s Eight seven - Fourth
2008 – Olympic Games Women’s Eight seven – Sixth
2010 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championships six (WA) – Bronze
2010 – World Championships Women’s Pair bow – Fourth
2011 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championships seven (WA) – Bronze
2011 – World Championships Women’s Pair stroke – Bronze
2012 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championships stroke (WA) – Bronze
2012 – Olympic Games Women’s Pair stroke – Silver

Sarah stroking the 2012 Olympic Pair


Sarah was born and raised in Perth where her rowing career started and is recorded for a lot of her career under her maiden name Outhwaite. Her marriage to coach Bill Tait saw her move to Melbourne where her successful rowing career continued under her husband coach. Sarah now has two children and continues her great interest in the sport.

Andrew Guerin 2015

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Rachael Taylor

Ballarat City, Melbourne University Ladies’ Rowing Club and then Powerhouse
1994 – World Junior Championships – Women’s Pair bow - Fifth
1994 – Nations Cup – Women’s Pair stroke - Seventh
1995 – Interstate Women’s Youth Eight Championship four seat - Fourth
1997 – Interstate Women’s Four Championship three seat – First
1997 – World Championships – Women’s Pair bow – Fourth
1998 – Interstate Women’s Four Championship three seat - First
1998 – World Championships – Women’s Eight five seat – Fourth
1999 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championship five seat - First
1999 – World Championships – Women’s Pair bow - Bronze
2000 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championship - First
2000 – Olympic Games – Women’s Coxless Pair bow – Silver
2000 – Zurich rowers of the year with Kate Slatter
2002 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championship four seat - Second
2002 – World Championships – Women’s Eight five seat – Silver

Rachael in bow of the 2000 Olympic pair

Andrew Guerin 2010

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Lachlan Thompson

Richmond Rowing Club
1930 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship four seat – First
1932 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship six seat – First
1933 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship six seat – Third
1934 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship six seat – did not finish
1935 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship six seat – Fourth
1936 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship six seat – Fourth
1946 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship selector
1947 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship selector
1948 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship selector
1950 – British Empire Games Men’s Pair coach – Gold

Lachie Thompson as coach of a Richmond crew after an Australian Henley win thought to be 1940. Wally Lambert in standing second from the right and Ron March seated far left.

He was a champion rower in the 1930s taking key seats in the victorious Richmond and Victorian crews of that era. “Lochie” Thompson was the selected coach for the 1950 crew but could not travel to New Zealand. Sid Raper (NSW) undertook the coaching role on tour. It was therefore a sad ending to a great career as an oarsman, selector and coach. He did not coach after the 1950 Empire Games.

Andrew Guerin 2011

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Ray Todd


The Awards Committee rated Ray highly as he was an innovator as a coach, administrator and as a sports journalist. As an innovative and technical coach, he influenced a change in coaching techniques. His focus on rowing drills mirrors coaching techniques of today. He was also an innovator as an administrator, particularly as a team manager and selector. As a sports journalist, he changed the focus of the story to the individual rather than the race and the results - he was one of the first sports journalists to do so. Ray Todd was affectionately known as ‘Mr Rowing”.

Ray Todd enjoyed rowing throughout his life from joining Wendouree Rowing Club in 1918. His first race win was a maiden eight at the Colac Regatta. Best known as a pair oarsman, he was only defeated twice in 29 pair races. He and Jack Jopling won five Victorian Pair titles. In all, he was a member of 10 winning Victorian Championship crews, a member of three Interstate Eight crews (1923-25), coached the 1948 Olympic Four, coached three Victorian crews (1946-7 & 1950), managed three Victorian crews (1933, 1954 & 1962) and managed the 1948 and 1956 Olympic rowing teams.
The Awards Committee rated Ray highly as he was an innovator as a coach, administrator and as a sports journalist. As an innovative and technical coach, he influenced a change in coaching techniques. His focus on rowing drills mirrors coaching techniques of today. He was also an innovator as an administrator, particularly as a team manager and selector. As a sports journalist, he changed the focus of the story to the individual rather than the race and the results - he was one of the first sports journalists to do so. Ray Todd was affectionately known as ‘Mr Rowing”.

Ray Todd enjoyed rowing throughout his life from joining Wendouree Rowing Club in 1918. His first race win was a maiden eight at the Colac Regatta. Best known as a pair oarsman, he was only defeated twice in 29 pair races. He and Jack Jopling won five Victorian Pair titles. In all, he was a member of 10 winning Victorian Championship crews, a member of three Interstate Eight crews (1923-25), coached the 1948 Olympic Four, coached three Victorian crews (1946-7 & 1950), managed three Victorian crews (1933, 1954 & 1962) and managed the 1948 and 1956 Olympic rowing teams. Image
Ray Todd
(Photo courtesy of the Todd Family)
He maintained a strong interest in the sport throughout his life as rower, coach, team manager, administrator, fund raiser and reporter. He led the Victorian Olympic Committee fundraising for the 1968 Olympic Games. He wrote rowing news for the Herald and Weekly Times newspapers for 44 years, the Weekly Times for 35 years and also wrote for the Sporting Globe. He was a founder of Victoria’s Old Oarsmen’s Association. In 1975, he received an American award from the Citizen Saving Athletic Foundation of the USA (formerly the Helms Foundation) for more than 50 years’ contribution to sport. It was presented to him live on TV on the World of Sport program. (Alex Sloan and James Tomkins have also received the award for their services to rowing.) He was also active in other sports and community based organizations. He was a life member of the Victorian Rowing Association. He died in 1982.

Wendouree Rowing Club
1923 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship bow – Third
1924 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship seven seat – DNF (swamped)
1925 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship seven seat – Fifth
1930 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship selector
1932 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship selector
1933 – Interstate Championships team manager & selector
1934 – Interstate Championships team selector
1938 – Interstate Championships team selector
1939 – Interstate Championships team selector
1946 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship coach – First
1947 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship coach – First
1948 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship selector
1948 – Olympic Games – Sole selector, coach of Men’s Four and section manager
1949 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship selector
1950 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship coach – Second
1953-78 - Vice-President of Victorian Rowing Association
1954 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship team manager
1956 – Olympic Games – rowing organizing committee and section manager
1962 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship team manager
1962 – British Empire & Commonwealth Games – Team Manager
1976 – Life Member of the Victorian Rowing Association

Andrew Guerin 2010

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Martin Tomanovits

Mercantile Rowing Club
1960 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship three seat – Third
1961 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship four seat – First
1962 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship five seat – First
1962 – British Empire & Commonwealth Games – Men’s Eight seven seat – Gold
1962 – World Championships – Men’s Eight seven seat - Fifth
1963 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship seven seat – First
1964 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship seven seat – First
1964 – Olympic Games – Men’s Eight seven seat – Eighth
1965 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship three seat –Second
1966 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship seven seat – First
1966 – World Championships – Men’s Eight seven seat – Tenth
1966 – National Championship Men’s coxed pair coach – First
1967 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship stroke – Fourth
1975 – National Championship Men’s Lightweight eight coach – First
1976 – National Championship Men’s Lightweight four coach – First
1976 – Interstate Men’s Lightweight Four Championship coach - First
1987- 91 - Executive Committee Victorian Rowing Association

Martin left in 1962 Commonwealth Games crew

Martin Tomanovits was introduced to the sport of rowing in his native Hungary. In 1956, at 16 years of age, on his own, and with no English, Marty fled the Soviet Union’s invasion of his homeland, and found his way to Australia. His passion for rowing remained with him: in Melbourne, he joined Mercantile Rowing Club the following year, and enjoyed success there as an oarsman. He also coached for many years, and was well known for his unique and colourful way with words, as well as his high standards. Marty loved rowing all his life. He believed it was the finest sport in existence, and that a good crew on the water was poetry in motion. His home was decorated with photos of good times with good rowing friends, and trophies from his competitive days. His kids fondly remember ‘slide night’, when Marty would bring out glorious Kodak slides from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. His son and two nephews followed him into the sport.

Martin joined Mercantile Rowing Club in 1957 and went onto be a very successful senior oarsman from 1959. He was a strong and determined oarsman who always gained pivotal positions in any boat he rowed. He was the mainstay of Victorian King’s Cup crews for most the 1960s and was a Commonwealth Games gold medalist and raced in the Australian eight at the inaugural World Championships in 1962.
His coaching career was also very successful including a series of successful lightweight crews in the mid 1970s. He was tough and uncompromising coach whose crews were thoroughly trained for the racing and always successful. Considering the approach of the Australian selectors in previous years and the high standard of his 1976 lightweight four, he was unlucky not to have coached the Australian lightweight four that year with his crew. He also coached at Xavier College. He was also a rowing administrator being Captain and selector of his club and a Board member of Rowing Victoria Inc. He was also a Rowing Victoria and Rowing Australia umpire.

Andrew Guerin 2011

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James Tomkins

Mercantile Rowing Club
1984 – Interstate Men’s Youth Eight Championships stroke – First
1985 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship stroke – First
1985 – World Championships – Men’s Eight stroke – Ninth
1986 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship stroke – First
1986 – World Championships – Men’s Eight six seat – Gold
1986 – Commonwealth Games – Men’s Eight six seat – Gold
1986 – Commonwealth Games – Men’s Coxed Four stroke – Bronze
1987 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship stroke – First1987 – World Championships – Men’s Eight six seat – Fourth
1988 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship six seat – First
1988 – Olympic Games – Men’s Eight six seat – Fifth
1990 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship stroke – First
1990 – World Championships – Men’s Coxless Four stroke – Gold
1991 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship six seat – First
1991 – World Championships – Men’s Coxless Four stroke – Gold
1992 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship stroke – First
1992 – Olympic Games – Men’s Coxless Four stroke – Gold
1994 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship stroke – First
1995 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship six seat – First
1995 – World Championships – Men’s Four stroke – Fifth
1996 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championships stroke – First
1996 – Olympic Games – Men’s Coxless Four two seat – Gold
1998 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship seven seat – First
1998 – World Championships – Men’s Coxed Four stroke – Gold
1998 – World Championships – Men’s Coxed Pair stroke – Gold
1999 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship seven seat – Second
1999 – World Championships – Men’s Coxless Pair stroke – Gold
2000 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship – First
2000 – Olympic Games – Men’s Coxless Pair stroke – Bronze
2002 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championships stroke – First
2002 – World Championships – Men’s Coxless Pair stroke – Fourth
2003 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championships stroke – First
2003 – World Championships – Men’s Coxless Pair stroke – Gold
2003 – FISA male athlete of the year jointly with Drew Ginn.
2004 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championships six seat – Second
2004 – Olympic Games – Men’s Coxless Pair stroke – Gold
2007 – World Championships – Men’s Eight stroke - Seventh
2008 – Olympic Games – Men’s Eight six seat - Sixth
2010 – Thomas Keller medallist for outstanding contribution to the sport of rowing
2010 – Inducted into the Victorian Rowing Hall of Fame
2013 – Elected to the IOC
One of Harry Gordon’s 100 Greatest Olympians
Helms World Trophy for Oceania in 1992.

1992 Olympic Champian Four - James right

James is the only person ever to be a world champion in every class of sweep boat having won gold in the Coxed and Coxless Pair, Coxed and Coxless Four and the Eight. He has won seven World Championships. He has only won two non-gold World Championship medals. At the Olympic Games he has three Gold, a Silver and a Bronze medal. Renowned for his superb technique, James is one of the best rowers Australia has ever produced and one of the greatest rowers in World Rowing. He rates as some his rowing career highlights as carrying the flag at the 2008 Olympic Games for Australia, the first Olympic Gold in 1992, all the eights racing, and his bronze medal in Sydney 2000 after only 4 weeks to prepare. His six Olympic appearances are shared only with Colin Beashel (sailing), Andrew Hoy (equestrian) and Colin Coates (speed skating).

Andrew Guerin 2010

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Gayle Toogood

Melbourne University Ladies’ Rowing Club
1981 – Interstate Women’s Lightweight Four Championship emergency
1982 – Interstate Women’s Lightweight Four Championship bow - First
1983 – Interstate Women’s Lightweight Four Championship stroke - First
1984 – Interstate Women’s Lightweight Four Championship stroke – First
1984 – World Championships – Women’s Lightweight Eight (demonstration event) seven seat – Silver
1985 – Interstate Women’s lightweight Four Championship stroke - First
1985 – World Championships – Women’s Lightweight Four bow – Gold
1986 – Interstate Women’s lightweight Four Championship stroke - First
1986 – Commonwealth Games - Women’s Lightweight Four stroke - Silver
1986 – World Championships – Women’s Lightweight Four stroke – Fourth
1987 – Interstate Women’s Lightweight Four Championship stroke - First
1987 – World Championships – Women’s Lightweight Four bow – Fourth
1992 – Interstate Women’s Lightweight Four Championship bow - First
1993 – Interstate Women’s Lightweight Four Championship bow - First
1993 – World Championships - Women’s Lightweight Four reserve
1994 – Interstate Women’s Lightweight Four Championship stroke - Second
1994 – World Championships - Women’s Lightweight Four bow – Sixth

Gayle in 1984 Lightweight Four - second from right

After her great rowing career, Gayle now practises as a dentist in Melbourne and is married with children.

Andrew Guerin 2013

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Gyles Turner

Henry Gyles Turner was the longest serving President of the Association, some 38 years. It was a period in which the Association had to deal with the amateur issue with NSW and subsequently the other colonies. The obituary listed below clearly shows his strong personal qualities which would have been needed in such debates.

He was also a generous man. He also instrumental in enabling the 1912 Olympic crew make the historic trip to Europe. The cost of the trip was estimated at £2,000 with about £600 expected to come from Victoria, principally from the wealthy Melbourne Amateur Regatta Association, the organizers of the Melbourne Henley Regatta. In the end, £500 came from the Melbourne Amateur Regatta Association plus substantial donations from the families of the Victorian members, the Victorian Rowing Association President H Gyles Turner and the Athenaeum Club, totally in all £713.

Banks Rowing Club
1871–1920 – President Banks Rowing Club
1881-1882 – President Victorian Rowing Association
1884-1921 – President Victorian Rowing Association
He was probably one of the first race winners of his club with inter-bank trophy wins in both 1867 and 1868 with the Bank of Australasia. The following is from the obituary in the 1921 Annual Report of the Victorian Rowing Association:

On 30 November 1920, your esteemed President, Mr Henry Gyles Turner, passed away, after a short illness, twelve days before his Eighty-ninth birthday. The Late Mr Turner was first elected President on 16th September 1881, resigning on 23rd January 1882 in the occasion of his visit to England. On the 17th December 1883, he was elected a Vice-President, and on 29th September 1885, he was again elected as President, in succession to Mr Justice Williams, and had held the position to the time of his lamented death. The Late Mr Turner’s charming and courteous manner had endeared him to all oarsmen during his long connection with the Association. He took a wonderful interest in the sport, and was always present at regattas and championships, despite his advanced age. Taking a keen and active interest in all matters relating to the welfare of the public, the Late Mr Turner was held in the highest esteem by the citizens of Melbourne, and his death, so deeply mourned by all, has deprived your Association of an ideal President.

Henry Gyles Turner was also president of the Board of Trustees of the State Library of Victoria between 1905-1920.

Andrew Guerin 2010

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