History of Preston Rowing Club
Chapter 4 - Success and Innovation
1933 brought about a readjustment in the club's policy inasmuch as it was decided to hold a dance out of the district, this idea being formulated by Ray Dunn, Jack Duncan and Erle Collard, arrangements being made to hire the Holy Trinity Hall, Thornbury. After a very slow beginning this dance vindicated the confidence shown by its mentors and was directly responsible for the club's remarkable progress in the following seasons.
Our greatest success was gained in 1934 when George Hutchins and Arthur James, ably steered by Mick Lewis, won the State Champion pairs on the Lower Yarra. We were also narrowly beaten in the champion fours. Our first Henley win was also gained this year for we were victorious in the Elswick Challenge Cup for junior fours.
With six other regatta wins we looked on Victoria's Centenary year as our most pleasing to then. At this time we, with all the other rowing clubs, had a big problem in the transporting of boats .and crews to country regattas. The railway was not satisfactory, in as much as it meant delay and at certain cities the carrying of equipment long distances. We being an outer suburban club, also, had trouble in carting boats to and from the river. It was decided by the committee to experiment with a trailer that could be used on any type of motor vehicle; the first one, with a timber frame caused quite a few thrills as it was drawn by .a pole which some brave members clung to and acted as brakes.
With the wooden trailer as a test it was seen that road transport was a practical method and so we are proud that other clubs soon copied the fine steel trainer that was designed and built by our own clubmen - Allen Downey, Geo. Lewis and Geo. Irwin - who worked until 3 a.m. to complete the trailer on the day that we left for the Nagambie regatta. From Nagambie we were able to go to Shepparton and Rutherglen much to the benefit of these clubs who until this time had been unable to get city entries due to rail difficulties.
The city clubs felt the benefit also in reduced transport costs. Club members had the added enjoyment of being together for the whole trip. whilst camping and sight-seeing tours were indulged in.
With the success the club was haying we were attracting many new members some of whom proved very fine oarsmen, as the gallery of winning crews testifies. A new streak four, the first boat of its kind in our fleet was purchased, and named after Geo. Hutchins and Arthur James in honour of winning our first State title; also a new practice eight named after George Lewis for sterling service during his long association with us.
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