The City Club was a youngster no longer. It was 30 years old and entering the new century with high hopes but all the problems that middle age can bring. While vibrancy and youth marked the first twenty years, a staid, rather conservative progress, tended to mark this next decade. While recruiting new members was never really a problem, getting crews to the victory dais seemed to be almost beyond the club during these years. Possibly due to the changes in equipment, the changes in style and simply the cyclical nature of history-we had been on a ‘high’ and now we were flattening out.
This 1900-01 was not a highly successful one in terms of actual regatta wins but the club did have a large influx of recruits and again boated a senior crew this year. At Upper Yarra in December, the club entered most of the Maiden and Junior events. Very few crews from any of the three Ballarat clubs were able to score a win due to the increasing strength of the metropolitan clubs. Also the Ballarat crews had to CARRY their boats from Spencer Street Station to Princes Bridge prior to the start of the regatta-a distance of some 2 kilometres with heavy clinker boats weighing more than 100 kilograms plus carry their gear and oars. They would have had to depart Ballarat early in the morning as the train trip in the 1900’s took about 2 1/2 hours to complete. After an epic journey like that it is hardly surprising that the edge was taken off their energy levels by the sheer physical exertion of getting to the line! This put all country oarsmen at a distinct disadvantage.
The Sculling Championship of Ballarat was also held in December and in this instance Charles Suffren carried off the honours in “ the finest sculling contest ever seen on the lake”. In conjunction with the Sculling Championship the inaugural Novice Fours race between the three clubs and auspiced by the Ballarat Rowing Association was held. While the club was not successful here, they applauded the initiative and the encouragement and experience it provided for new oarsmen. The Ballarat Novice Regatta continued to be an important fixture on the local calendar for more than seventy years.
The club’s proudest achievement of the season was boating a Senior eight for both Ballarat and Barwon Regattas. While not making the winners podium, it was a source of great gratification to see City again represented in Senior eights after several years’ absence.
We also boated a Junior eight at Geelong and the crew of W.Caldwell, J.Murfett, A.F.L.Brown, D.McNulty, T.Murphy, A.A.O’Dea, J.Burley and Charles Suffren was successful in winning our second race.
Two series of trial/scratch pair races were held for the season and were keenly contested. The winners of the first round were F. Steele and W. Hawthorne and the second round was won by N. Coutts and A. Cartledge. Many enjoyable Saturday afternoons were also spent competing for trophies in post entry events.
The interior of the shed and dressing room was renovated and gaslights were installed to replace the kerosene lamps that formerly illuminated the shed. Surprisingly there were no reports of boatshed fires or loss of boats when such a flammable liquid was used and stored in the shed! Equipment was upgraded with the stock of oars was replenished and a second sculling boat purchased.
In the Annual Report it is recorded that Graham Coulter returned safely from the Boer War. He would go on to serve in the World War 1 with distinction. In the obituaries the deaths of Mr. W. E. Balhausen and Mr. A. Robinson were recorded. Mr. Balhausen had long been a supporter and vice-president of the club. The secretary Mr. C. N. Tulloch transferred to Footscray for his employment and at the traditional ‘Smoke Night’ he was farewelled and presented with a Gold Albert* in recognition of his services both as an oarsman and on the committee. Mr. C. H. Bunce was appointed in his place. Mr. Leslie Jenkins and Mr. Jay Coulter also transferred to Melbourne and as Mr. Jenkins had steered many a crew to victory for the club his services would be hard to replace. With Mr. C. H. Bunce’s appointment to the committee the club was again fortunate in gaining the services of someone who would go on to be a significant force in Ballarat City’s history and serve the club faithfully for another forty-five years.