Welcome to the 150 years of rowing history
150 YEARS IN 150 DAYS-BALLARAT CITY ROWING CLUB established 1870
Welcome to my Ballarat City Rowing Club history blog. I wanted to do something to honour our amazing past and, given the current difficulty of organising a reunion of any sort, my thought was to cover the highlights of the club’s history and tell the story of some of the great rowers and stawart club members over 150 years. So I set myself the challenge of covering 150 years in 150 days finishing on the club’s actual anniversary- November 17th 2020.
This is my personal tribute to the efforts and the achievements of the members of the club the over the last 150 years. Current members need to be aware and appreciate the amazing efforts of all who built and rebuilt the club and who kept the boats afloat through two World Wars, the Great Depression, many droughts and downturns in membership. The club faced many adversities and especially in 1950 when our lovely Federation shed burnt to the waterline and we lost the all our equipment and the memorabilia and trophies of 80 years. This could have been the end but thanks to the passion and devotion of people like Otto Hauser, Ted Edwards, Bob Lawrie, Stan Wilton, Alf Quick and the like the club rose from the ashes in time to host the organising committee of the 1956 Olympic games. Over the years many dedicated men and latterly women have stepped forward when times were tough and held the club together and it is only because of their efforts that the club survived and we can celebrate 150 years of achievements.
As I have said at the beginning this is a very personal interest of mine (some would say obsession!) as the club has been a major part of my life since 1974 when I joined as a 16 year old. In 2004 I researched and published a book on the history of the club called “The Boys From the Rush Beds-The history of Ballarat City Rowing Club 1870-2004 incorporating the Early Development of Lake Wendouree 1860-1870”. In researching the book, I reconstructed our lost history and I discovered many interesting stories and reconnected with many older members. Since the book was published many people have contacted me with stories about their ancestor or with pictures that have been added to the archive. In writing the book the members from the early days became like family to me and I never tire of learning more about their lives and their contribution to the club. Much of the information in the blog comes from the book but also from the large collection of newspapers, books, regatta program, annual reports and newspaper reports that I have amassed as well as those interviews that I managed to do with older members before they passed away.