1880

In the ten years that the club had been operating it had really grown and prospered. The boatshed had been enlarged, the fleet of boats acquired, including two yachts, that was the equal of any club in Victoria. With Henry Richards Caselli as president, Daniel Brophy as treasurer and Peter Cazaly as captain there had been continuity, oneness of vision and fairly stable government of the club. In this ten year period the club won twenty three races and over five hundred pounds ($50,000) in prize money.

 While twenty three races over 10 years races might not seem many, it must be remembered that there were still only three or four regattas a year and the program of races usually eight to ten. The opportunities to compete were much less and it must have taken so much effort to get boats and crews to Melbourne or Geelong. The club also suffered at times from lack of up to date equipment especially after the introduction of the sliding seat and regular use of much lighter outrigger boats- so much faster than the older clinker gigs of earlier years.

The outstanding successes of the decade would have to be the second placing by only a length in the 1873 Intercolonial four and the winning of the first Grand Challenge cup at Geelong-the very first to be won by any Ballarat club. Then to be able to win the same Cup for a third time thus bringing it home to the club for perpetuity was also outstanding. Winning the Sunbury Cup on their home course of Lake Wendouree was also amazing.

Peter Cazaly, as Captain and coach, had required hard work and training and he got the results. I am sure that without his efforts the club would not have had so much success. He was the first of the club Captains who devoted so much time, energy and passion into seeing the club succeed. In the Annual Report  he pointed out………… 

……of all exercises, rowing is a stern and exacting mistress who smiles only on the temperate, the persevering, the self-sacrificing and the obedient while she has nothing but frowns for the self-conceited, the indolent, and the self-indulgent and her motto to those who would excel in rowing is that they must shun delights and live laborious days”

How true that rings even today!

The Lawn-Lake Wendouree, is a Niven Lithograph of Lake Wendouree in 1887. The Lake had become a great asset to the civilised social scene of Ballarat. Willow trees had been planted and flourished, boating of all varieties was now available to the residents for sport and recreation.

As was reported at the 1880-81 season opening on the 9th of October in a joint event between the Yacht Club, Ballarat Rowing Club and Ballarat City, the Lake had evolved into an important place to all Ballaratians, not just the rowers and yachtsmen!

 “The morning turned out bright and fine-the lake was at its best, presenting a broad rippling surface bounded on all sides by fresh spring verdure, just such a sight as to cause the hearts of old pioneers who remembered it as the dismal reed bed, Yuille’s Swamp, to glow with pride over the enterprise and achievements of the founders of our admired city in the direction of transforming a morass into a magnificent lake. (The Star, Monday, October 11th 1880)

William Cross Yuille after whom Yuille Swamp was named

The procession was led by the yachts followed by the Ballarat and City eights, in uniform, rowed abreast and then followed by fours, pairs and sculling boats-with all the available boats pressed into service for the display. Honoured guests included Sir William and Mrs Robinson, Governor of West Australia and Sir. Samuel Wilson of Ercildoune, and Lady Wilson and their daughter, who watched proceedings from the steamer BALLARAT.

Club racing was again held in both eights and fours. A patroness of the club, Miss Marian Willis, donated and presented trophies to the winning eight. The winning eight of this series was the crew comprising Messrs. McNaughton, Trahar, Piper, Ellis, Gilbert, Arrowsmith, Tapper and Jeukes.The scratch fours held later in the season was won by Akins, Wishart, William Cazaly and Steele.

I couldn’t find a win registered to the club this year but were some very close second placings. At Ballarat Regatta the Maiden eight was second by a bare half-length to Barwon. The lead see-sawed with both crews reaching View Point almost level with Barwon just a foot or two in front. City spurted for the line but Barwon held on to won. The crew were A. McNaughton, R. Jeffree, John Barnes, A. Tapper, E. Piper, W. Trahar, A. Sutton*, E .H. P. Baylee stroke and James Baylee cox.

In the Senior four of McNaughton and E. H. P .Baylee, Arthur Gibbs and John Fitzgerald were also unlucky rowing into second place in a clinker boat while the other three crews were racing in outriggers.  In the Senior eight the crew containing six maiden oarsmen came second to the Corio Bay eight. At Barwon Regatta the Senior four did score a win in their heat, beating not only the Barwon club but also the well-credentialed Melbourne crew which included Mr. Fairbairn and Mr. Armytage, who both rowed at Oxford University, and Mr. Booth and Irving who were both distinguished Intercolonial representatives. However they had to be content with second place to the Corio Bay crew in the final.

*A.Sutton is Alfred Sutton brother of the brilliant Ballarat inventor Henry Sutton. As the brothers enjoy many activities growing up together it is probable that Henry also rowed at the club.

This season it was decided to pull down part of the old Alabama shed and build a shed that would be “a credit to the club and an ornament to the beautiful lake and its imposing surroundings.” To achieve this objective the Annual Concert in September 1880 was again held with no less a personage than his Grace the Duke of Manchester patronising the evening. The concert was a programme rarely if ever offered to the public, featuring Miss Marian Willis and Mr. J. P. O’Neill in the principal parts and artists such as Miss Alice Rees, Signor Paladini, Mr. Bunting and Miss Emilie Sutton (a debutante of whom all spoke highly) appearing in drama and farce and providing musical gems. The concert was a success raising three hundred  pounds($30 000) for the new shed. A Grand Bazaar was held also contributing two hundred and fifty pounds ($25000) to the funds.

A presentation was made to Mr. M. Hogan of the club, who was the foreman of Mr. C. C. Shoppee’s establishment in Sturt Street. Mr.Hogan was departing Ballarat to go to Sydney where he was to be manager of Dyson and Sons Warehouse. He was presented with a ‘handsome’ gold locket by Captain Cazaly who expressed regret at losing such an ‘attentive and energetic crew member’.

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