Professional Sculler from Newcastle
William's brother, Richard Hickey (1845-1933), was an oysterman. As a waterman, he was automatically classified a professional rower (William was a professional because he rowed for prize money). Richard was very successful at regattas in the Hunter and in Sydney.
Richard started racing when he was sixteen and his first win was against his brother. During his career, Richard had wins over Elias Laycock and Green but his ability was most amply demonstrated at the Newcastle Annual Regatta in 1877 when, although described as an "old [he was 32] veteran sadly out of condition" he defeated (Australian) Edward Trickett who, the previous year, had become the first champion of the world. It was subsequently reported in the press that the steamer 'Perseverance' crossed Trickett's bow giving him its wash. The action was described as either deliberate, in which case it was shameful and a disgrace to Newcastle, or careless. Hickey responded promptly with a letter to the paper claiming that the boat had in fact crossed Trickett's stern so giving him a stimulus and an advantage over Hickey. Pointing out that steamers were a nuisance at all regattas and that he had been similarly affected in the past, Hickey challenged Trickett to a rematch for £200 over 3 miles to be held on the Hunter River within six weeks. The offer was not taken up. His last race was at Stockton which he won with a handicap of 85 lbs. Richard coached NRC crews on occasions and often acted as cox for NRC crews at regattas.
Following their retirement from competitive rowing, both Hickey brothers were involved as committee members and race officials in the Newcastle Annual Regatta.
Extracted from his book Just Add Water - the Times an Tides of Newcastle Rowing Club, published by Seaview Press 2009