This was a very dry season by all accounts and led to a prolific growth of the rushes that again caused problems for crews. There were hopes that water from the new forest reservoirs, Kirk’s and Pincott’s, could be diverted to top up the water levels.
At the Annual Meeting this year, held again at Brophy’s Hotel, Mr Daniel Brophy, after serving the club for twenty years, 14 as treasurer from its inception and 6 as president, did not re-nominate. Given the state of his health, his involvement in so many of the city’s institutions and his constant work on behalf of the club, he certainly deserved a rest. The amount he contributed to the City Club and also to the City of Ballarat would be possibly unequalled by any other pioneer of the City. He was Mayor in 1876 and served on the committees of many organizations often taking on a leading role. He was elected a Life patron of the club and Mr. Bechervaise and Mr.Toy along with several others spoke highly of the many services rendered by Mr. Brophy had rendered the club and a toast was proposed to the health of Mr. Brophy and his family. Mr. W.P Bechervaise was the incoming president with Vice-presidents; C.C.Shoppee, Dr.Scott, W.Bentley, H.S.Barrett and R.Toy. Herbert Gall was again secretary and J.B.Cameron was treasurer.The fleet was again updated with a new clinker four from Edwards and Sons.
The club also had their most successful season on the water for some years with the Maiden four of George Rayworth, R. Petrie, H. Gullen and E. Smith winning at Ballarat Regatta. They were the “on form” crew of the regatta. Their time of 6 minutes, 3 seconds would have won the Senior fours race which was 4 seconds slower. They then went on to take out the double at Colac and Warrnambool Regattas winning the Junior fours race in fine style. So in one season they had won their maiden and Junior fours and were now Senior oarsmen.
The Junior Eight of R. Gullen, G. Scott, J. Rogers, H. Adair, H. Gullen, R. Petrie, E.Smith and George Rayworth were valiant in their second place by 1/2 a length to the Corio crew at Ballarat and the Maiden eight stroked by C. E. Denniston also acquitted themselves well although not making the winners’ podium.
Scratch racing for the Officers’ Trophies again excited great interest and enabled nearly all active members to compete. Winners of the fours were George Rayworth, S. Rayworth, J. H. Jones and G. O’Malley. Vice-president Mr. H. S. Barrett presented trophies, which were competed for in an extra series of pair-oared races. These were closely contested with Mr. C. E. Herberts and W. Gray winning and C. Laird and R. Cameron coming second. The racing for the club scratch pairs was won by J. Rogers and J. Shelley. Financially things were very sound with the overdraft being reduced to twenty-one pound, the bank being the only creditor.
I have included a picture of this trophy just to show the type of cup competed for. This trophy was for the Maiden Eights at Ballarat Regatta. Usually they had to won three times to be retained by the club who scored the 3 successive victories. This trophy, along with several other Ballarat Regatta trophies, is held by Wendouree-Ballarat Rowing Club.