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Rowing Australia Inc History

History of Rowing Australia

The Original Men’s Council

Members of the original Men's Council:

  • TAS: Erskine C Watchorn, President
  • VIC: Edward Kenny, Hon Sec-Treasurer
  • NSW: S A Maxwell
  • SA: J P Marcus
  • WA: R S Jeffreys
  • QLD: Joined the Council in 1926
  • ACT: Joined the Council in 1995

For most of the Council's early years, its business was mostly the conduct of the Interstate Championships. The activity of the organisation grew in the 1950s and 1960s with greater international competition and the commencement of national championships in 1962. However even in 1964, the activity was low by modern standards. The financial report of the 1963-64 year shows income of £150 of affiliation fees and £18 of interest. Expenditure was £126 comprising affiliation fees to FISA and AOF, typing expenses and trophies for the Interstate events. The Council was run of course solely by volunteers at that stage.

It was not until the mid to late 1970s that the activity of the Council grew enormously. The work of the President, Honorary Secretary and Honorary Treasurer was extensive. This arose with the responsibility for national teams, to the AOF, to FISA, to government arising from funding flowing to sport and the employment of a coaching director. Eventually the activity was too much for volunteers to handle and the Council sought professional administrative support. Today the business of Rowing Australia is large and has an extensive staff to manage it.

The structure of the Council was forced to change to meet the demands of the sport. No longer did the Council meet once or twice a year and let the President, Secretary and Treasurer run the operation between meetings. An executive board of volunteers was created in 1990 to better manage the sport and spread the workload. Only once in 1995 did the transition to professional administration falter when financial issues almost left the association in liquidation. However the strength of the sport and of those involved overcame the issues and within months in 1996, we were the most successful rowing nation in the world.

Whilst we are critical of our own administration from time to time, it is clear that this sport has been well served by its administrators and has been well ahead of its peers both locally and internationally. In the past 25 years, the results speak for themselves. The sport has excelled internationally, it has developed and kept quality administrators such as John Coates and John Boultbee, it has imported key people such as Reinhold Batschi to develop training techniques, professionalism, coaches and coaching education, it has created some of the world's best rowing courses, it has created many rowing courses, it has gained access to the AIS and State Institutes, it has made the difficult transition to professional administration, it has gained the confidence of Government and the Olympic Council, it has high quality coaches throughout the land and it has consistently maintained a pool of high quality athletes throughout the land.

John Coates as Honourary Secretary of AARC

John Coates in 1978

Reinhold Batschi

Reinhold Batschi in 1979


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