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History of Barwon Rowing Club

Chapter 7 - The Love of the Work 1945-1969

Chapter 7 page 1 2 3 4

Further success came in 1957/58 when Barwon won the VRA Country Premiership. Amongst the wins was the Maiden Eight at Albert Park with C. Laird (st), P. Scott, W. Allen, P. Slevin, R. Beevers, J. Martin, B. Mahon, D. Leach and D. Stacey cox. In 1957 the VRA awarded the state's championship regatta for senior fours, junior eights and lightweight eights to the Barwon River on the undertaking that the by now 2000 metre course would be widened to allow crews to row abreast under the southern arch of the Barwon Bridge. The regatta was returned to the Yarra River in 1961 when VRA officials decided that the crew on the northern bank of the Barwon was still disadvantaged, despite the improvements. In the late 1950s Allen Parker and Bob Matthews donated trophies for combination fours events which were held during the winter season. In the 1958/59 season there was another Henly win: the Lightweight Eight of C. Laird (st), D. Leach, K. Chappell, J. Martin, D. Jackson, C. Evans, B. Mahon, J. Castle and P. Slevin cox.

Ladies Committee 1959 at the christening of the Bill Grose
4th from left at rear is Mrs Laird

Early in 1960 approaches were made to the headmaster at Belmont High School and nine boys were accepted for membership: Kevin Paisley, Michael Coppins, William Rogers, Gleuton Masterman, Robert Cross, Peter Duell, Robert van Aggelen, Colin Giles and Ian Howard. The boys may have witnessed the excitement on the river in May 1961 when Saturday afternoon training was interrupted by a single-engine Fletcher FU24 aeroplane plunging into the river opposite Barwon's sheds. Barwon member Peter Edwards, changing in the clubrooms, heard a terrific crash and raced out to see only one foot of the plane's tail showing above the surface. Apparently four youths had inadvertently started the plane, owned by the company, Aerial Missions. The aircraft raced across Belmont Common, hopped two fences, crashed through the plantation of trees, nose-dived into the river and sunk as hundreds of rowers and water-skiers watched in disbelief. In December of that year the club's junior eight travelled to the Torrens River to compete at the Port Adelaide Regatta, winning its event by four lengths from a local crew. In 1961 the club's maiden eight were successful at the Ballarat, Barwon and Henley regattas, the win at Henley being the first ever recorded by the club in maiden eights at that regatta. The crew was: B. McFarlane, B. Chandley, J. Emond, J. Peters, P. Lambert, P. Edwards, B. Gebbie, J. Roberts, cox G. Smith and coach K. Smith. The 1961/62 season was nicely rounded off when the club won the Country Championship Eight with B. McFarlane (st), K. Smith, P. Edwards, B. Gebbie, P. Morgan, T. Emond, B. Fitch and P. McHugh.

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