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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

At the same time the question of the consumption of alcohol in the sheds again reared its head and a special meeting was necessary to lay out guidelines. As a result of this meeting, permission was given in November 1961 to construct a permanent canteen in the south-east corner of the rowing shed. New boat racks were also constructed in the shed. The 1962/63 season saw another championship win: Victorian Champion Lightweight Four of P. Morgan (st), B. McFarlane, B. Fitch, J. Emond, I. Morgan cox and L. Gladman coach. In 1963 an order was placed with A. Sykes fora new tub pair to be called the Novitiate, Latin for beginner. The boat arrived in July at a final cost of £250, plus sales tax, and is still giving service today to beginners. The 1963/64 season was one of consolidation around the club as, with just two wins (a novice and junior four), club members worked on maintaining the fleet and the clubhouse. A new training four, the Len Gladman was bought. Repairs to the clubhouse included an external paint, the fitting of steel boat racks, repainting the dressing room and the fitting of boat showers at the entrance. Don Leach and Chris Chandley constructed a hack machine. The following season was also thin on both membership and wins, but at least this season the club had found an excuse. It was noted at the annual general meeting that the demand of the modern young lady, greater than ever before, of the right to share her boy-friend or husband's spare time activity is a major factor in the comparative unpopularity of rowing as a young man's sport! However, the club executive was endeavouring to accommodated this demanding young modem miss: As at present constituted, rowing in Geelong has no place for women. Should we perhaps aim for a club to which a young man can bring his lass or mother for a cup of tea and a view of the river on a Sunday afternoon or from which he can take a tub scull with the lady at the stern sheets for a leisurely row up the river to a bankside picnic. In justifying this radical opening up of the sport to the fairer sex the report commented that these innovations may stun the hard core regatta man, but that the times were changing and that rowing was not the only sport having to revise its ideas.

During 1965 linoleum was laid in the downstairs office and the balcony was enclosed to house a committee room and provide better kitchen facilities. On the rowing side the club won a number of senior fours races, the first since 1928, and finished the 1964/65 season with a total of 17 wins. In July 1965 local oarswoman, Joan Beretta, failed to return from a training session in her scull late one night. Barwon Rowing Club members found her body on the rowing course 53 days later.

The 1965/66 season was opened with the christening of the club's newest boat, a coxed racing four named the Arthur Collins after the club's oldest living member, A. S. M. Collins. Arthur Collins had joined the club in 1907 and was made its first life member in 1917. Barwon returned to Adelaide in 1965 where it won the senior coxed fours South Australian Championships with a crew of G. Giles (bow), P Slevin, P. Scott, B. Fitch (stroke), B. Cooke, cox and D. Leach, coach. This year Corio Bay Rowing Club returned to the river, building a modern shed and clubrooms. At Barwon's shed the interior and exterior stairs were replaced. The club also began its association with the boys from Bell Park High School at this time, under the able eye of Jim Ferguson. For the first time in the club's history Barwon won the Country Premiership, after coming second the year before.

Throughout the next season membership was slowly falling although the club still managed to win the Country Premiership for the second time with 13 wins. During the 1967/68 season Barwon won 10 regatta events, including the Victorian Championship Lightweight Four, Country Champion Eight and Lightweight Four and Victorian Champion Lightweight Eight, with a crew list of just 12 active rowers. Three members of Len Gladman's lightweight eight went on to compete at the Australian titles held at Murray Bridge, coming a close second to Mercantile Rowing Club. Allan Hart, Phillip Morgan and Bill Cook, represented Victoria in the fours at the King's Cup Regatta at Penrith, losing by only three feet in the finals. The club won the Victorian Lightweight Championship for the first time and the Country Premiership for the third successive season. A new racing pair, the Don Leach, was added to the fleet.

In the spring of 1969 the Geelong Waterworks and Sewerage Trust announced its plans for the beautification of the north bank of the river. Areas of privately-owned land were bought by the Trust and a reserve two chains wide was planned from Marnock Road to Latrobe Terrace. The area was to be planted and developed as a "streamside" reserve to complement the newly transformed southern bank.

The 1968/69 season, under the new president Keith Cook, saw the fruition of Jim Ferguson's work as the boys from Bell Park began to gain their seats in regular crews. The club won the Victorian Champion Lightweight Four for the second year in succession. During 1969 Mrs Power, president of the Ladies committee, passed away. An appreciation of her many years of service to the club was recorded in the minutes. However, her work and the that of others was to come to fruition during the next decade.

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