History of Newcastle Rowing Club
Part 4 -The Modern Era, 1992 - (continued)
Recognition of service
Since the rebirth of the club many individuals have generously donated their time and effort to lead the club through its early years by serving on the committee. Their names are recorded in Appendix C.It is fitting however to highlight the contribution of those members who, as Club President, provided the necessary leadership, direction and experience that ensured the club's success. In the modern era, these are Jim Bardakos, Stephen Garz, Jennifer Bissett and John McLeod. Aside from that group, Peter Boyce, is included for a combination of long service to the club as Treasurer and his vital contribution to other aspects of the club's life.
Jim was the club's founder and inaugural President (1992-96). He would later repeat the feat in forming the City Rowers Club. He also served for a time as President of NUBC. Although Jim has modestly chosen not to include a rowing resume in this history, his work for the advancement of rowing in Newcastle constitutes a record of which he can be extremely proud.
Steve was appointed both President and Secretary during the last few months of the 1995-96 season following the resignation of Jim Bardakos, and was re-elected President and Secretary for the 1996- 97 season.
Steve joined the club in 1994 when, having the good fortune to work in an office overlooking the harbour, he regularly observed crews in training. The urge to do the same was irresistible. Following training, Steve competed in all of the local regattas and, like many others since, he was particularly impressed with the Sydney International Rowing Centre on his first regatta there.
During his time as President, Steve recalls the efforts made to increase membership (and, when successful, the consequent strains on boat availability), continuing efforts to secure a permanent building and raising the profile in the area. A highlight of his Presidency was the re-enactment of historical Butcher Boat racing that was held as part of the Newcastle Bicentennial celebrations in 1997.
Jennifer joined the club in May 1994, served as Secretary 1994-96: Regatta Secretary, 1996-97 then the President, 1998-99.
Jennifer's home town is Newcastle. While working in Sydney in her twenties she learned to row at Leichhardt Rowing Club then rowed competitively for a season in coxed fours. Her first medal was silver at a Mosman regatta.
On returning to Newcastle, she joined NRC in 1993, where she rowed all types of boat although always harbouring a preference for the single scull. Jennifer competed successfully at local, State and National level. With increasing experience she began to cox and coach competition crews becoming an accredited coach in 1997.
Jennifer ceased rowing in 1999 following surgery for a back injury. She admits to the habit (common with ex-rowers) of checking the conditions of any water she passes to ascertain its suitability for rowing. An efficient administrator with a cheerful and charismatic personality, Jennifer's premature retirement was a great loss for the club.
John began rowing with Newcastle University Boat Club (NUBC) in 1967 following a long term interest in rowing emanating from the extensive publicity then given to the GPS Head of the River regatta. He competed in lightweight fours and eights at intervarsity regattas between 1968 and 1971 and was a member of the organising committee when NUBC hosted the Men's intervarsity regatta at Taree in 1972. He was club captain of NUBC in 1969 and 1971.
After a break he joined Newcastle Rowing Club in 1993 together with son Stuart and later youngest son Hugh. Since then he has participated in most of the regattas held locally with considerable success. John was elected to the club committee in 1994/95, Club Vice Captain in 1995-96, Club Captain in Captain 96/97 and Club President from 1999 onwards. In 2002 John became Secretary/Treasurer of Central Districts Rowing Association (CDRA) a position held to the present day.
Following coaching training, John has coached many crews and scullers to success at Regional, Combined High Schools (CHS) State and National regattas. Additionally he has been involved in the organisation and coaching at the annual CDRA coaching camp held at the Manning River Rowing Club. During his involvement with the club he has been the driving force in the organisation of most of the regattas conducted by the club; development of Throsby Creek as a regatta course; he introduced the "Linwood Throsby Gift" relay race and has worked tirelessly in the repair and maintenance of the club boat fleet. His most enduring legacy however is the bringing the club's boat shed to fruition. John was awarded a well-deserved life membership in August 2009.
Peter joined the club in July 1993 (member #9). He was Regatta Secretary during the 1993-94 season and replaced the inaugural Treasurer, Leanne Burns, early in 1994.
Peter's involvement in rowing commenced in 1963 with North Shore RC where he rowed fours and a single scull in which he enjoyed some success at local regattas. After three years there during which he served a year as Treasurer, he moved to the country to farm. After another move (to Brisbane) in 1970 he joined Queensland University Boat Club in 1976. Although he rowed up to five times each week his main interest there was in administration, becoming Treasurer and Club Captain in 1977 and was a Vice- President of the Queensland RA for four years in the 1980s. He was awarded a Blue by the University for services to rowing.
Peter's efforts for the NRC have not been restricted to administration. He has worked tirelessly on innumerable day-to-day tasks essential to the efficient running of any rowing club. Substantial as this service has been, it has been overshadowed to some extent by his willingness to make himself and Holden utility available over many, many years, to tow the club's trailer wherever boats had to go. This was never been more important than during the difficult 2007-09 period when the club was forced to trailer boats to Throsby Creek three or four mornings each week until the new boatshed was built. His contribution was crucial to the our survival. Peter's award of the Rowlock Award in 2007, was recognition of over a decade of service to the club. He is also highly regarded by the NSWRA for his work over many years as a volunteer at Sydney regattas.
NRC, like most sporting clubs, has awards (point score winners) for competitors who achieve success over some defined period -usually a season. A perpetual trophy -the "Rowlock Award" -was introduced in 2001 to be awarded annually to a club member considered to have given extraOARdinary service during the year. Crafted by Club President John McLeod, it consists of an inordinately large rowlock from a ship's lifeboat mounted on a polished timber base. Recipients to date are: Colin Charters (2000-01); Margaret Vercoe (2001-02); John McLeod (2002-03); Jocelyn Ringland (2003-04); Lorrain Cash (2004-05); Daniel Bishop (2005-06); Peter Boyce (2006-07) and Ann Dunning (2007-08).
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