History of Richmond Rowing Club
- Table of Contents
- 1. Founding the Richmond Rowing Club
- 2. The Boathouses
- 3. Regattas
- 4. The Golden Years
- 5. Training and Selection
- 6. Women at Richmond Rowing Club
- 7. Social and Fundraising
- 8. Looking Forward: the next chapter
- Titles and Awards
- State, National and Major Title Winners
Training and Selection
Richmond members have always been proud to represent the club at regattas. In the early years, crew selection was a very formal process with crews
being announced in the newspapers, even for internal club competitions. These crews have always been trained by volunteer coaches, usually
developed from within the lower ranks of rowers. This continues today.
Selection of rowers into racing crews has always been an unenviable task. From the early days Richmond had a formal Selection Committee, comprising
members of the elected committee and senior members of the club. Until the 1930s, selected crews were published in the newspaper, with the
notices also calling crew members to attend specified training times. Crew lists were even published for internal club competitions.
In the 1800s and early 1900s clubs regularly challenged the crews from other clubs to a race in advance of a major regatta. Richmond regularly
participated in these challenge events and held its own challenge races that were well attended through the years.
It was in the 1990s that Richmond held its first rowing camp, an opportunity for coaches to combine all the above techniques in one exhausting
weekend. The first camp, held at the boathouse, was a great success. By 2000, the annual camp had become bi-annual and was held in regional
Learn to Row
Introducing people to the sport of rowing has always been an important part of Richmond. In 1983, a member, Jack McGrath, built a novel rowing
machine tor beginner rowers. On the water, but attached to the bank, the rowing machine allowed the beginner rower to feel the effect of rowing
but without the complication of being in a moving boat.
Later Richmond acquired a land based rowing machine that provided a similar effect for users. This rowing machine was used until about 2000 for
encouraging development of the right rowing action for sweep rowing, often under the guidance of Mr. Don Dudgeon.
In the last two decades, learn-to-row has been the recruitment channel for many members. The coaches who chose to focus on these potential new members do not receive the plaudits for coaching winning crews, but instead derive their pride from the progress the rowers new to the sport make under their guidance. It is thanks to such people that Richmond has been able to teach so many people to row.
Born 1910; died 1987
In the years following the Second World War, it was the effort and enthusiasm of Ron March that kept Richmond alive and functional. He held various positions on the committee and chaired the social committee while he was captain of the club in 1945.
The many winning crews coached by Ron were testament to his ability to impart his knowledge onto young people and mpould them into very successful and highly competitive crews.
Ron was a member of the sub committee for the Australian Rowing Council for the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games and worked in an official capacity at the Olympic rowing events held at Lake Wendouree, Ballarat.
In 1958 Ron was elected the team manager for the victorious King's Cup Victorian crew who travelled to Penrith to train and compete.
The rebuilding of the boat shed after the fire in 1971 was engineered by a group of members with Ron as a prime motivator. He was chairman of the RRC Co-operative, which he helped form to finance the rebuilding of the club shed.
In later years Ron was very appreciative of the assistance volunteered by young members who assisted with launching the tub pair for his Sunday morning row. Ron March was inducted into Rowing Victoria's Hall of Fame in 2011.
Wilfred (Bill) Parkinson
Born 1909; died 2001
Bill was a life member of three clubs (Richmond, Bendigo and Yarra Yarra).
Even at the age of 90, he was still interested in what was happening at Richmond and turning up to rowing events full of enthusiasm. He was described in the RRC Annual Report 1982-83 as the 'Most Helpful Person' for his constant involvement in every area of club activity, taking on the roles of: selector, coach, repairman and organiser of regatta entries. It was speculated in an abbual report for the club that every member of the club was indebted to him in some way.
Peter Antonie, World and Olympic rowing champion, said:"It is the Bill Parkinsons who are instrumental in keeping rowing alive and fostering enjoyment of the sport."