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australian rowers profiles and history

W M Orr

Melbourne Rowing Club (VIC)


1866 – Championship Scull - First
1867 – Championship Scull - First
1873 – Intercolonial Men’s Four Championship three seat – first
1873 – Intercolonial Sculling Championship - Third
He was regarded as an ugly but tough and effective competitor. John Lang states in his book The Victorian Oarsman that he could be relied upon to work his hardest from the word “off” until the pistol fired. As a sculler he was the man of the day. It is related of him that in a Sculling race on the Lower Yarra, being the centre boat and being closed on by his opponents, he stopped and said, “Go on, gentlemen,” and then took the outside water, overhauled, and beat his opponents.

1873 Trophy

This 1873 crew recorded Victoria’s first win in an intercolonial race. It includes some of the pioneers of our sport. The crew is also of interest as it was the first representative crew from several clubs. It was known as the Melbourne crew.

John Lang, in his book the Victorian Oarsman in 1919, recorded the importance of the race as follows: Victoria secured the first win with a non-club four (Melbourne, Melbourne University and Warehousemen). The other crews in the race were club crews, comprising two from Ballarat, a Sydney Rowing Club crew, and crews from Hobart Town and Geelong. The race was rowed over about four miles on the Lower Yarra - time, 25 min. 30 sec. This race is generally recognised as the first "official" Intercolonial match.

Andrew Guerin 2013

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