Table of Contents
- Rowing in a young Victoria
- Formation of the Association
- Growth of the Sport 1876-1889
- Years of great success 1890-1899
- The rise of Henley on the Yarra 1900-1909
- The War Years 1910-1919
- Women's rowing and the modern era 1920-1929
- The Depression years 1930-1939
- War and rebuilding 1940-1949
- Expansion years 1950-1959
- The search for international success 1960-1969
- Combining the Associations and lightweight success 1970-1979
- The new national program 1980-1989
- Golden years 1990-1999
- Professionalism 2000-2009
- Yet More Growth 2010-2019
- Life Membership and other important awards
- Patrons and Presidents
- Office Bearers
- Clubs and their histories
- The Oarsmen's Centotaph and WWI Roll of Honour
- WWII Roll of Honour
- State Championships
- Hall of Fame Inductees
- Victorian Olympians
- International representation
- Intercolonial and Interstate Racing
- School rowing
- University rowing
- Personalities of the sport
15. Personalities of the sport
Those appearing below are:
- Marina Cade, MUBC
- Norman Cairnes, Mercantile
- Arthur Cambridge, Bendigo
- James Cazaly, Ballarat/Warehousemen/ Melbourne
- Alex Chamley, Albert Park
- Sue Chapman-Popa, MUBC
- Fleur Chew, Mercantile
- Hon William J Clarke MLC
- G Coates, Elswick
- Thomas Colles, MUBC/Civil Service
- David Colvin, Mercantile
- Andrew Cooper, Mercantile
- Ken Cusworth, Banks
Melbourne University Ladies’ Rowing Club
1987 – Interstate Women’s Lightweight Four Championship two seat - First
1988 - Interstate Women’s Lightweight Four Championship withdrew due to illness
1987 – World Championships – Women’s Lightweight Four stroke – Fourth
1987 - Sport Australia Award Team of the Year 1987
1988 – World Championships – Women’s Lightweight Four 3 seat – Silver
1989 - World Student Games - Women's Lightweight Pair stroke - fifth
1991 – Interstate Women’s Lightweight Four Championship bow - First
1991 – World Championships – Women’s Eight bow – Twelfth
1991 – World Championships – Women’s Lightweight Four three seat – Fifth
1991-96 – VIS Scholarship holder
1992 – Interstate Women’s Lightweight Four Championship three seat - First
1992 – World Championships – Women’s Lightweight Four stroke - Gold
1993 – Interstate Women’s Lightweight Four Championship stroke - First
1993 – World Championships – Women’s Lightweight Four stroke – Fourth
1994 - Interstate Women's Lightweight Four Championship three seat - second
1994 - Vicsport Award Women's Team of the Year 1994
1996 – Interstate Women’s Lightweight Four Championship stroke – Second
1997 – Interstate Women’s Lightweight Four Championship three seat - First
1998 –Interstate Women’s Lightweight Four Championship three seat – First
2000 – Interstate Women’s Lightweight Quad Championship 2 seat - Second
2009-present - Vice-President, Melbourne University Boat Club
Minnie continues her interest in the sport as Vice-President of Melbourne University Boat Club and has been an active member of MUBC since 1986. There is a strong trend of association with the best in the sport in her profile. She began rowing at Methodist Ladies' College in the new rowing program initiated by fellow Hall of Fame inductees Susie Palfreyman and Pam Westendorf. Her first coach, also a fellow Hall of Fame inductee Debbie Basset, was inspirational through her enthusiasm, encouragement and commitment. This convinced Minnie to choose rowing over other sports. Her second coach, yet another fellow Hall of Fame inductee Barb Fenner was tough and unrelenting and guided Minnie into her first Australian crew two years out of school. Finally yet another fellow Hall of Fame inductee coach Brian Dalton fostered self-motivation and self-direction through his relaxed yet effective coaching style.
Minnie has rowed in school, club, intervarsity, state and national teams in both sweep and sculling events and might row masters one day! She completed her final year studies for the Bachelor of Architecture at Melbourne University in 1992 in the same year that she won a gold medal at the World Championships in the lightweight four. Her most exciting race was her first win competing for Victoria as an 18 year old in the Interstate lightweight four in 1987, her most enjoyable race was the 1992 World Championship win and the most traumatic the loss at the World Championships the following year. She retired from competitive rowing in 2000, has two children Lucy and Aljaz and is a now practising architect.
Andrew Guerin 2013
Mercantile Rowing Club
1951 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship coach – Second
1952 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship coach – First
1953 – Life member Mercantile Rowing Club.
1953-62 - Hon Secretary Victorian Rowing Association
1954 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship coach – First
1955 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship coach – Second
1956 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship selector
1956 - Olympic Games - Course Manager
1956-59 – Honorary Secretary of AARC
1961 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship coach – First
1962 – Chairman of the organising committee for the first national championships
1962-72 - Executive Committee member of the Victorian Rowing Association
1964 –Interstate Men’s Lightweight Four Championship co-coach – First
1964-70 – Councillor for Victoria on AARC
1965 –Interstate Men’s Lightweight Four Championship selector
Life member of the Victorian Rowing Association
Norm was an active and successful rower, coach and administrator. Norm joined Mercantile in 1927 and became the longest serving member of that Club. He had his first win at a novice regatta in the lightweight novice eights in June 1929. Although never quite reaching the top as a competitive oarsman, he had considerable success in the maiden and junior ranks with an occasional row in senior crews. Norm joined the Committee in 1934, became Vice-Captain in 1936 and Captain in the 1937-38 season. Norm served throughout WWII and had a most commendable war service record.
However it was after WWII that he made a great contribution to club, state and national rowing. He was one of Australia’s great coaches coaching winning King’s Cup crews on three occasions and numerous club crews. He was a club administrator. He was Secretary of both the Victorian Rowing Association and Australian Amateur Rowing Council. He was largely responsible for the organization of the rowing at Ballarat for the 1956 Olympic Games. He was life member of his club and state association and Vice-President for many years at Mercantile.
Andrew Guerin 2011
Sandhurst Rowing Club which merged with Bendigo Rowing Club
1925 – Men’s Interstate Sculling Championships – First
1926 – Men’s Interstate Sculling Championships - Third
1927 – Men’s Interstate Sculling Championships - Second
1928 – Men’s Interstate Sculling Championships - Third
Arthur Cambridge was a sculler with the Sandhurst Rowing Club (later to be Bendigo Rowing Club) and one of the best to pass through the Club. Cambridge was a coach and also Captain of his Club. He died in 1955. He also devised and organised a cycling trip over the then rough roads to Sydney to compete in the NSW Championships in 1932. The idea of competing successfully after the ride was ludicrous but it brought sporting mates closer together and promoted the City of Bendigo.
Arthur Cambridge caught the attention of the Committee not because his performances outshone many others, but to represent the first elite rowers to come out of the Bendigo region and that he achieved this feat without the coaching available elsewhere and on an ornamental lake in Bendigo. He, along with Stanley McGorm, were trail blazers for the elite rowers of that region. He won the biggest race of his day in 1925 and coached others in Bendigo to win at the senior level. Cambridge won an Interstate Sculling Championship in 1925 and was unlucky in his other races. He was fouled in the 1926 race and was matched against the great Bobby Pearce in 1927 & 1928. He competed against Bobby Pearce in the 1927 test race for the 1928 Olympic Games. Some of the other successes of Arthur Cambridge were:-
- Senior Scull (Ballarat) 1926, 1928
- Henley on Yarra - Yarra Challenge and Silver Sculls 1926, 1927
- Victorian Sculling Championship 1925, 1926, 1928, 1929 (In 1927 he did not compete in the Victorian Championships due to a late entry. In a match race against the champion Ricketts, Cambridge won the right to represent Victoria.)
Andrew Guerin 2013
Ballarat, Warehousemen and Melbourne Rowing Clubs
1872 –Championship Scull – First
1873 – Intercolonial Men’s Four Championship stroke - First
James Cazaly was English born and his wife Elizabeth Jemima, née McNee, Scottish. James was a champion oarsman and a physical instructor but lost his money in the collapse of the land boom. He was a labourer when his tenth child, famous Australian Rules footballer Roy, was born. James was regarded as one of the best rowers and scullers on the Yarra River.
John Lang states in his book The Victorian Oarsman that: In the opinion of many the best man on the River, either as an oarsman or sculler. …In sculling he looked a picture of strength properly applied to the propulsion of a boat. He also won the Victoria’s top pair oared races for Ballarat in 1864 and 1865.
James’ family were all well trained in health and sport. His famous son Roy was not well as a child and was nursed by his much older sisters. On one occasion James found Roy dressed up as a girl, that was the last straw and James furiously charged Roy’s closest brothers Ernest & Edgar to “make him into a man!” And this they did, through a solid program which included boxing, swimming, athletics, weight-lifting and rowing. Roy excelled at rowing which pleased his father immensely. However, when aged 15 Roy debuted with St Kilda in the VFL, and dropped rowing as his principal sport. James was shattered, vowing never to witness his son playing the game that took him away from rowing! James never saw Roy play football, however he would often stand outside the gate as his famous son was taking his trademark one handed marks and ask: “How is the boy doing ?”
Andrew Guerin 2013
Chamley was a remarkable oarsman winning over 100 regatta races and 10 Interstate championships from 10 starts. His first in 1886 and his last in 1905 aged 42. He was generally regarded as one of the best bow side oarsman in Australia at a golden time for Victorian rowing. At that time, the colony had great rowers such as Chamley, Alex Sloan and the Donald brothers. The Awards Committee therefore concluded easily that he was to be inducted into the Victorian Rowing Hall of Fame.
1899-00 Victorian Champion Four from Albert Park – Alex Chamley in the 3 seat
Albert Park Rowing Club
1886 – Intercolonial Men’s Eight Championship five seat - First
1887 – Intercolonial Men’s Eight Championship five seat – First
1888 April – Intercolonial Men’s Eight Championship seven seat - First
1888 November – Intercolonial Men’s Eight Championship seven seat - First
1894 – Intercolonial Men’s Eight Championship seven seat - First
1897 – Intercolonial Men’s Eight Championship five seat - First
1899 – Intercolonial Men’s Eight Championship seven seat - First
1901 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship five seat - First
1903 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship seven seat - First
1905 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship seven seat – First
Andrew Guerin 2010
Melbourne University Ladies’ Rowing Club
1983 – Interstate Women’s Four Championship two seat – First
1983 – Trans Tasman Under 23 Series Australian Womens sweep
1984 – Interstate Women’s Four Championship two seat – First
1984 – Olympic Games – Women’s Coxed Four three seat – Bronze
1985 – Interstate Women’s Four Championship three seat – First
1985 – World Championships – Women’s Coxless Pair bow – Eighth
1986 – Interstate Women’s Four Championship three seat – First
1986 – Commonwealth Games Women’s Eight five seat – Gold
1986 – Commonwealth Games Women’s Coxed Four three seat – Silver
1986 – World Championships – Women’s Coxed Four three seat – Seventh
1987 – Interstate Women’s Four Championship bow – First
1988 – Interstate Women’s Four Championship three seat – First
1999 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championship bow – First
Sue married fellow rowing Olympian Ion Popa in 1984.
Andrew Guerin 2010
Mercantile Rowing Club (VIC)
2003 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championship four seat - Second
2003 – World Under 23 World Regatta – Women’s Four - Silver
2004 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championship three seat - Third
2005 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championships six – Gold
2005 – World Championships Women’s Eight six – Gold
2006 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championships four – Gold
2007 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championships seven – Gold
2008 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championships four – Gold
2010-11 - Captain of Mercantile Rowing Club
Fleur is a teacher and is multi lingual. She is currently teaching in Sweden. She maintained her interest in rowing after her competition days taking on administrative roles at Mercantile Rowing Club including Captain and Vice-Captain.
Andrew Guerin 2015
(13 Mar 1831 - 17 Jan 1895)
Sir William was an early President of the Association - from 1878 until 1881. Sir William does not appear to have been a member of any rowing club nor to have any direct rowing connection. At the same time, he also represented Southern Province in the Legislative Council in 1878-97. According to the President of the Legislative Council, 'although he was not a very active member, he was one whom we could ill afford to lose'. He was therefore the Hon W J Clarke MLC at the relevant time of his VRA Presidency.
However this does not appear to have been the role of the President of the Association in those times. Having a respected member of the community as President was seen as been a valuable attribute for the sport.
Sir William was a landowner, stud-breeder and philanthropist. At the same time as he was the President of the Victorian Rowing Association, he also supported many other institutions and sporting bodies.
The ADB states: He also bred thoroughbreds and his filly Petrea won the Victorian Oaks in 1879. Later he sold his stud and concentrated on coursing; the Victoria Coursing Club met on his land. In 1887, 1890 and later years he was president of the Australian Club. He was commodore of the Royal Victorian Yacht Squadron and his Janet won the first intercolonial yacht race in 1881. He was the first president of the Victorian Football Association in 1877 and president of the Melbourne Cricket Club in 1880-86.
The Melbourne Rowing Club history makes mention of it's connection with Sir William Clarke but it is for activities well after this period of his life.
Information sourced from the Australian Dictionary of Biography by Andrew Guerin 2016
Mr Coates was a champion of his day winning the Grand Challenge Cup three times in succession. This race was the most prized event of the time. They also won the trophy outright having won the event three times in succession. This superb trophy depicts the city of Melbourne and rowing on the river in 1860. Apart from being one of the two oldest rowing trophies in Australia, it is without doubt one of the most beautiful and important trophies in Australia.
1860 – Melbourne Regatta Grand Challenge Cup, bow – First
1861 – Melbourne Regatta Grand Challenge Cup, two – First
1862 – Melbourne Regatta Grand Challenge Cup, two – First
Andrew Guerin 2015
University and Civil Service Rowing Clubs
1869 – Victorian Sculling Championship – First
1870 – First University Championship two seat - First
1871 – Victorian Sculling Championship – First
1873 – Intercolonial Men’s Four Championship bow – First
One of the most highly regarded Victorian rowers of the 1860-70s. He was a University member at the time of this event.
He was a member of 1873 Intercolonial crew which recorded Victoria’s first win in an intercolonial race. The crew includes some of the pioneers of our sport. The crew is also of interest as it was the first representative crew from several clubs. It was known as the Melbourne crew.
John Lang, in his book the Victorian Oarsman in 1919, recorded the importance of the race as follows: Victoria secured the first win with a non-club four (Melbourne, Melbourne University and Warehousemen). The other crews in the race were club crews, comprising two from Ballarat, a Sydney Rowing Club crew, and crews from Hobart Town and Geelong. The race was rowed over about four miles on the Lower Yarra - time, 25 min. 30 sec. This race is generally recognised as the first "official" Intercolonial match.
Thomas was born about 1848 and died in 1929, aged 81. He was the son of Richard Colles, Sheriff of Castlemaine and came to Victoria in the mid 1850s with his parents. He entered Scotch College at the age 14 years and passed his Matriculation exams in 1865. He did not row at scholl because it was not yet a sport. Instead, he played cricket.
In addition to his own rowing prowess, he was also an umpire and coach. He umpired the second APS Head of the River in 1869 and umpired or started other of these races in the 1870s.
He coached Scotch College crews in 1872 and also co-coached Scotch College crew in 1973.
He decided on a legal career and worked until almost the time of his death. His wife predeceased him by two years. She was the daughter of Mr R C Hope of Geelong and sister of Mr T C Hope, a famous Victorian oar and also a judge of the Head of the River.
Andrew Guerin 2013 and updated in 2016
Mercantile Rowing Club (but earlier Banks and MUBC)
1985 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship cox – First
1986 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship cox – First
1989 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship cox – Race not conducted due to a cyclone.
1989 – Interstate Men’s Eight Challenge cox - First
1990 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship cox - First
1990 – World Championships – Men’s coxed Four cox – Ninth
1991 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship cox - First
1991 – World Championships – Men’s Lightweight Eight cox – Fourth
1992 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship cox - First
1992 - Olympic Games – Men’s Eight cox – Fifth
1993 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship cox - First
1993 – World Championships – Men’s Eight cox – Fourth
1994 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship cox - First
1995 – World Championships – Men’s coxed Four cox – Fifth
1996 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship cox – First
1997 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship cox – Third
1997 – World Cup (Paris) - Men’s Eight cox - First
1997 – Henley Royal Regatta – Grand Challenge Cup – First
1997 – World Championships – Men’s coxed Pair cox – Silver
1997 – World Championships – Men’s Eight cox - Bronze
1998 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship cox - First
1998 – World Championships – Men’s Eight cox – Sixth
1999 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship cox - Second
2000 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship cox – First
2004 – Interstate Women’s Lightweight Quad Championship coach – Third
2006 – Interstate Women’s Lightweight Quad Championship coach – First
2007 – Interstate Women’s Lightweight Quad Championship coach – Second
2008 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championship co-coach with John Cumper – First
2009 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championship co-coach with Bill Tait – First
2010 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championship co-coach with Bill Tait – First
2011 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championship co-coach with Bill Tait – First
2013 – Interstate Women’s Eight Championship co-coach with Tom Abramowski – First
Commenced rowing in Year 9 at Melbourne Grammar School (1976). Whilst he never managed to cox the MGS 1st VIII, he won the Second VIII at HOR 1979. David joined Banks RC during Year 11 and was coxing the Mens Senior 8 in his first season. A few years later Chris Dane arrived to coach at Banks bringing many international & state oarsman with him, including Jim Lowe, Ion Popa, Brian Richardson, & John Cumper. This is when his education in rowing really began, with Jim Lowe in the stroke seat for just about every training session as the primary teacher. In the 1984/85 post Olympic season, the opportunity came to be selected as cox of the Victorian Kings Cup crew for the first time. After losing the Kings Cup seat in 1987, David took the 1987/88 season off for study reasons but returned for the 1988/89 season, this time at Mercantile RC due to a lack of active athletes at Banks RC at the time. He has remained at Mercs ever since. The 2000 King’s Cup marked the end of his competitive coxing career, but the beginning of his highly successful involvement in club administration and coach initially as a four year Club Captain at Mercantile. During one of his years as Captain, he took a year off work to devote his entire energies to that task. He was critical to the success of the introduction of professional coaches at that Club. After two years acting purely as Club Captain, David moved into coaching during 2002/2003 and has remained involved on that front ever since, almost exclusively as a women’s coach.
Andrew Guerin 2013
Mercantile Rowing Club
1985 – Trans Tasman Under 23 Series Australian Men’s sweep
1995 – Match des Seniors – Men’s Eight seven seat – Silver
1986 – World Championships – Men’s Eight – Gold
1986 – Commonwealth Games – Men’s Eight three seat – Gold
1986 – Commonwealth Games – Men’s Coxed Four two seat – Bronze
1987 – World Championships – Men’s Eight bow – Fourth
1988 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship bow – First
1988 – Olympic Games – Men’s Eight three seat – Fifth
1990 – World Championships – Men’s Coxless Four three seat – Gold
1991 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship three seat – First
1991 – World Championships – Men’s Coxless Four three seat – Gold
1992 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship seven seat – First
1992 – Olympic Games – Men’s Coxless Four bow – Gold
1994 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship five seat – First
1995 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship seven seat – First
1995 – World Championships – Men’s Coxless Four bow – Fifth
Andrew’s other great sporting passion is Australian Rules football which he continued to play well after his rowing career had finished.
Andrew Guerin 2010
Ken Cusworth joined Banks Rowing Club in 1925, and, within a year, was in a maiden fours crew, in the maiden eights at Henley, and was soon into junior ranks. Two years later, he was in the senior class. Serving in the army in the war years, and finishing with the rank of captain, his training fitted him for administrative work; he soon became involved with the V.R.A. His administrative work for both his Club and the Rowing Victoria was outstanding. He was a Vice-President of the Victyorian Rowing Association from 1978 to 1981.
Manager of the King's Cup crew in 1968, he saw his sons follow in his rowing footsteps; and it must have been a proud moment in his life when he coached his son Robert and Jeff Hardie in the State Senior Pairs in the National Regatta in 1974 at Ballarat. At an age when most oarsmen gently scull on Sunday morning, Ken stroked a Banks veteran eight in the Head-of-the-Yarra in 1972. Ken was an outstanding stroke in his time.
Field Rickards, 1976