1921

Ballarat Regatta, View Point and decorated boats in early 1920’s. From the Museum of Victoria Collection.

The 50th Annual meeting was held at Craig’s Hotel. The president was Mr. A. W. Bennett. At this meeting Mr. E. Balhausen offered to the club a copy of the photo of the Champion Four from the 1870’s of A. Gibbs, J. Fitzgerald, E. Tregaskis, and W. D. Dawson with F. Dawson coxswain. Their time trial for the mile on the Lake was 4 minutes 45 seconds with a tail wind.This stood as a record for many years. They also won the Barwon Grand Challenge Cup at Barwon Regatta for the Senior fours in 1879. After winning it for the third time the club got to keep it. This photo, along with the cup, would have been destroyed in the boatshed fire in October 1950. The cup would have been magnificent-The Barwon Grand Challenge Cup was a trophy designed by the Geelong silversmith, Edward Fisher. The base was a circle of shells above which two water nymphs supported a bowl engraved with cupids standing on wreaths of water lilies and holding oars. The cover was surmounted with an oarsman with an oar in one hand and a starting flag in the other.

This season had been a solid season with the club purchasing two new practice fours and outlaying a large amount of money on replacing oars and repairs to boats and the renovating the shed. Despite these large expenses the club still finished the year with a credit balance of just over 10 pounds. During the season they spent over 178 pounds and of that only 19 pounds had been member subscriptions. The amount spent indicated the work done both in raising the funds and expending them. They had been able to raise the funds particularly owing to the work of the ladies who “manned” the tea tent at Ballarat Regatta and organised and ran several other functions. The club also purchased two eight -oared boats for 80 pounds.

 As to regatta wins the club could not boast of great achievements. ‘They had the material which only needed to be developed to achieve results,’ stated the president Mr.A.W. Bennett in the Annual report. The club sent crews to VRA, Upper Yarra, Albert Park,Barwon, Bairnsdale, Sale, Champion pairs and Ballarat Novice Regattas. We had two wins in a Maiden eight at Barwon and a Lightweight four at Albert Park Regatta.

 When the club had reopened after the war it had been at ‘bedrock’. Given the disrepair of the shed and the equipment, the slow return of members, it would have been little wonder if it had quietly slipped into oblivion. But they had all worked steadily and persistently and now in 1921 had a decent fleet and the prospect of being able to pay their way into the future.

Young coxswain Edward (Teddy) Jones was singled out for particular mention-‘There is not a more enthusiastic cox on the lake.’ He had only started last season and was already showing the qualities that would make him legendary in Victorian rowing circles.

 A social hour concluded proceedings with speech making interspersed with songs and instrumental solos. the oarsmen back then really knew how to have a good time! personally i have an aversion to speech-making, toasts and group singing but back then this was the normal form of celebration.

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