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australian rowers profiles and history

P Christopher Dane QC

Monash University Rowing Club (VIC)

29 July 1946 - 7 January 2022

A distinguished Australian rowing coached who gained good success locally and coached Olympic and World Championship crews. One of the great characters of the sport who has contributed so much to so many people. Despite family and work pressures, he made time for aspiring rowers.

Chris was a person of considerable wit and intelligence who had an uncanny knack of being able to inspire and motivate rowers. A barrister by profession, he used his advocacy skills well and is a good listener of his rowers.

As a rower who was coached by him, I love his irreverence to most things, wit and intelligence, but underlying this was a strong respect for tradition. His quips about the “new schools”, (not the early APS schools) are most amusing, and his genuine admiration for those male rowers who have won their Head of the River, the King’s Cup and the Oxford and Cambridge Cup - all races have their great difficulties in winning. 

He loved these traditional races in the sport, and regularly made himself available to coach such crews. Like his fellow Monash coach before him Roger Moore, he has a great respect for the history of our sport.

Despite this interest in the traditional, he was a free and inquisitive thinker when it came to finding ways to make a boat go fast. He readily adopted the training methods proposed by Reinhold Batschi when he arrived in Australia in 1979 - these were quite revolutionary for that time. Also, Monash University Rowing Club was far from traditional and Chris has made a significant contribution to it. It never had more than 15-20 rowers but maintained a disproportionate level of success during the period 1968 through to 1980 including five Victorian Men's Eight Championships in succession, and many members in Victorian and Australian crews. 

His passion for, and his love of, the beauty of the sport is profound. As we all know, rowing, when done well, is magic. He understood when to leave a crew alone to listen and feel the movement of the boat. This was not only to improve boat speed, but also to enjoy the sport.

As a Queen’s Counsel in Victoria, he was also probably well known in wider rowing circles for use of his advocacy skills in 1980 in pursuit of the cause of allowing the Australian Olympic team to compete in Moscow against significant Federal Government pressure to withdraw. As coach of the Olympic eight that Olympiad, the team learned of their fate whilst in the air travelling to Europe. The pilot allegedly announced the result of the government's decision with the words: "How good is your Russian?" The plane erupted in joy.

Chris has also served on the Rowing Australia selection appeals panel for many years.

Chris’s daughter Edwina Dane also rowed for MUBC and was awarded a Blue in 2003 & 2004.

Chris holding the Fairbairn Trophy after stroking the winning 1964 APS Head of the River crew

Chris as a rower for Monash

Chris with his 1978 Oxford & Cambridge winning Monash crew
Chris with his 1978 Men's Four at the World Championships

Chris received his Ted Kenny Memorial Medallion after victory in 1979 King's Cup - temporarily bereft of his trade mark white cap

Chris caught off guard coaching the 1980 Olympic Eight

A Monash reunion at David Bishop's 60th birthday- Chris standing on the right second from the rear



Some rowing events

1962 - APS Head of the River, Melbourne Grammar 3rd crew, stroke - Eighth

1963 - APS Head of the River, Melbourne Grammar 1st crew, stroke - Fifth

1964 - APS Head of the River, Melbourne Grammar 1st crew, stroke - First

1966 - Australian Universities Championship. Men's Eight, six seat - Unplaced

1967 - Australian Universities Championship. Men's Eight, seven seat - Third

1968 - Australian Universities Championship. Men's Eight, stroke - Fifth

1969 - Australian Universities Championships, Chair of the organising committee

1974 & 75 - APS Head of the River, Melbourne Grammar 4th eight, coach 

1976 - Australian Universities Championship. Men's Eight, co-coach - Third

1977 - Australian Universities Championship. Men's Eight, coach - Fourth

1978 - Australian Universities Championship. Men's Eight, coach - First

1978 - Victorian Championships Men's Coxless Pair, coach - First

1978 - Victorian Championships Men's Coxed Pair, coach - First

1978 - Victorian Championships Men's Eight, coach - First

1978 - National Championships Men's Coxless Four, coach - Second

1978 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship coach - Second

1978 - World Championships, Men's Coxless Four, coach - Ninth

1979 - Victorian Championships Men's Eight, coach - First

1979 - National Championships Men's Coxed Pair, coach - Third

1979 - National Championships Men's Coxed Four, coach -Fourth and Fifth

1979 - National Championships Men's Coxless Four, coach - Second and Fourth

1979 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship coach - First

1979 - World Championships, Men's Eight, coach - Fourth

1979 - World Championships, Men's Pair (reserves for eight), coach - Eliminated in repechage

1980 - Victorian Championships Men's Coxed Four, coach - First

1980 - Victorian Championships Men's Eight, coach - First

1980 - National Championships Men's Coxless Pair, coach - Third

1980 - National Championships Men's Coxed Pair, coach - Fifth

1980 - National Championships Men's Coxless Four, coach - First

1980 - National Championships Men's Coxed Four, coach - Second and Fourth

1980 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship coach - First

1980 - Olympic Games, Men's Eight, coach - Fifth

1982 - Australian Universities Championship. Men's Eight, coach - Third

1983 - National Championships Men's Coxless Pair, coach -Second and Unplaced

1983 - National Championships Men's Coxed Four, coach - Unplaced

1984 - Victorian Championship Men's Coxed Four, coach- First

1984 - National Championship Men's Coxed Four, coach -  Second

1984 - National Championship Men's Coxless Four, coach - Fourth

1984 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship coach – Third

1984 – Trans Tasman Under 23 Series Australian Men’s Sweep coach

1989 - Australian Universities Championships, Men's eight, coach - First


Andrew Guerin
December 2021 (Updated January 2022 after Chris' death)

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