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australian rowers profiles and history

Rosemary Richardson

Mercantile Rowing Club (VIC)

Rosemary was not a rower herself but has lived rowing throughout her life. She was imbued with rowing by her father Ron March and her grandmother Rose March. Her first outing in a boat was even before her christening when she was held in her father’s arms whilst he coxed a tub pair. She accompanied her father coaching on the Yarra daily sitting on a seat on her father’s coaching bicycle. She had her first swim in the Yarra at the age of four years old when Ron rode into the Yarra near Morell Bridge when he failed to take the corner. Rosemary attended almost every regatta in Victoria and many in New South Wales. She also attended international events including the 1978 World Championships which are also celebrating at this induction. Her love of the sport and the people within it, led Rosemary to become heavily involved in the administration of it.

Rosemary had her own sporting achievements being a noted marathon water skier, a tricks ski duo with her brother and also a speed boat racer. She also was a noted arranger of social functions being a director of the Australian American Association which hosted events for visiting businessmen, servicemen and diplomats.

Rosemary with President Sir John and Lady Young at 1993 World Sculling Cup

Rosemary became the driving force behind the reinvigoration of the Henley of Yarra regatta in 1982 when the regatta was ailing. She first used her skills in reinvigorating the important social side of the event with the Thursday night cocktail function. This function then grew into a dinner in the ANZ Pavillion at the Arts Centre. When the dinner outgrew the ANZ Pavillion, it moved to the Great Hall and when that was too small, then to the Hilton Hotel. The regatta also grew, as did the sponsors and the raffle.

By 1990, the regatta had sufficient clout and financial strength to invite five international crews to race at it and take on a bid for the first World Cup in the southern hemisphere. This bid was successful and in 1993, the first ever World Sculling Cup was held. The regatta was a four day event with 500 people attending a luncheon on the course daily. This event captured the imagination of sports loving people of Melbourne and brought great fame to the sport. It brought back the sport of rowing to the Yarra River and the television coverage of rowing. It was a great achievement for Rosemary and her skilled and enthusiastic 1993 team that made it happen.

Andrew Guerin 2013

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