1896

By this season despite regular maintenance by members the fleet of boats was in need of a good overhaul. They were overhauled by Mr. Fawcett of Melbourne at a cost of 26 pounds and 10 shillings. A lot of work was carried out on the building and it was painted and generally tidied up. Several members donated their time and skills to keep renovation costs to a minimum. The captain Mr. C. E. Denniston and vice-captain Mr. R. A. Petrie renovated the foundations of the dressing room. Mr. Denniston also presented the club with a new flagpole and Mr. H. Adair supplied a handsome new flag. It was a season of hard work on the water by our oarsmen also. However all this training did not necessarily lead to regatta successes as the committee this year decided that unless subscriptions were paid an oarsman could not represent the club at regattas thus limiting the number of crews that were entered.

In the scratch racing at the start of the season a large number of crews competed in the pair-oared events with the trophies being claimed by the crew of Mr. I. Coulter and Mr. J. Cherry. The prizes for the scratch pairs were large lamps and in a show of club loyalty Mr. Coulter donated his lamp to the members for the dressing room. The usual scratch fours were rowed with the crew stroked by Captain Denniston winning the trophies. His crew comprised H. Denniston , V. J. Duthie and P. Rowe.

As stated before regatta entries and wins were down this season due to the committee’s policy of not entering anyone who had not paid his subscription. It also meant that small boats were raced, pairs and sculls. The most significant race won this year was J.Ferris who won Senior sculls at Upper Yarra Regatta for the William Drummond Challenge Shield. He was our first sculler to make Senior ranks having won his Maiden and Junior sculls in the two previous years. At the VRA regatta on Albert Park Lake where we were represented in Junior sculls, and Junior and Maiden pairs but without bringing home any trophies. At Ballarat Regatta the Junior pair of Petrie and Clarke the clubs second win in a great race against the crew from Corio Bay. Ballarat Regatta was a huge success this year and many visiting oarsmen. A Social Evening was held after the regatta for the 130 local and visiting oarsmen was held at the Town Hall with light refreshments served and many, many lengthy toasts given!

Headlines from the Star newspaper

The club again recorded the loss of members this season although fortunately not through illness or death. Many young men in the district left to seek their fortunes -some to the new goldfields in Western Australia and some across the sea to fight for the Empire in the Boer War in South Africa. The Annual report stated ‘we feel the loss is not only to the club but to the whole community of the district and indeed the colony of Victoria.’

The club with all its work this season and the unpaid subscriptions was feeling the pinch financially and so approached the Wendouree Club with the proposal of a joint fundraising effort. The result was the Rowing Clubs’ Aquatic Carnival to be held at the Alfred Hall on September 10th 1896. The Aquatic Cranival was a gratifying success valuable funds for each of the clubs. Mr. Chris Hager and Mr. Glen Lorimer were elected life-members of the club due to their efforts in organizing and running the Aquatic festival. Former club secretary Mr. J. B. Cameron again availed the club of his services taking on the role of secretary of the organising committee. Thirty-six new members were elected.

The Heinz Cup won by Ballarat Rowing Club as mentioned in the headlines. In possession of Wendouree/Ballarat Rowing Club
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