1923 On the way back

Of the Annual meeting 1923 the Star newspaper reported that:

 “A large number of oarsmen gathered at the City Hall on Saturday night on the occasion of the 52nd Annual meeting of the Ballarat City Rowing Club. The club flag was draped at the head of the room in which an attractive repast was provided by Mrs.Ure-Taylor*.As table centres were neatly arranged streamers of blue and white-the club colours-and the function passed off very successfully.”

The club had an excellent season financially beginning with a balance of 21 pounds 8 shillings and closed the year with a credit balance of 62 pounds 4 shillings and 7 pence. On the water success was however not so spectacular despite considerable numbers of crews competing.

At Henley a Maiden four competed. At Warrnambool and Colac the club was represented by the pair of H. Skilbeck and Otto Hauser. At Albert Park and Upper Yarra the club had entries in Maiden four, Lightweight maiden four, Maiden pair and Junior pair. The Lightweight maiden four won at both  Regattas but at Upper Yarra had the win taken from them after a protest lodged by Barwon. At Ballarat Regatta, Carl Ehms had the first success of the season winning the Maiden sculls. The club also had entries in Maiden eights, fours and pairs and Junior eights and pairs. At Barwon Regatta we again boated a Maiden eight, four and pair and a Junior pair. Ballarat Novice Regatta saw the club successful in carrying off the Novice Premiership. The results were first and third in the novice fours and first in the maiden eight. At the 1923 Bairnsdale/Sale Regattas the club scored its first double for many years with the crew of H. Messinger, Otto Hauser, H. Waller, J. Blakeley and cox Hector Ross.

The club also held a great number of scratch races. With so many crews training and competing there was plenty of regular work for several coxswains. Teddy Jones, Hector Ross and Cotter James were again recognised for their sterling work. The club also purchased two new practice pairs, two practice sculls and a racing scull.

Two prominent members transferred from Ballarat this year for employment, Mr.Tait and Mr.Carroll. Presentations of mantle clocks were made to both of them in recognition of their hard work for the club, always being present and ready to assist at every regatta. Otto Hauser had his first wins for the club this year. Otto started rowing in 1922 and he went on to serve the club in many capacities for the next 55 years. I remember him as an old man in the 1970’s still coming up to the shed on the odd Sunday morning to see how things were going with the club. He was, as they say, one of Nature’s gentlemen. Also on committee this year were Jack Lawrie as secretary. Jack began the 90 year association with the three generations of the Lawrie family including his son Robert (Bob) Lawrie and grandson Edward Lawrie. T.C.(Ted) Edwards was also elected to Committee and would make a huge contribution to the club becoming caretaker president through World War 2 again contributing nearly 40 years of service.

George Tonner, a prominent member of the Ballarat Rowing Club,passed away this year and in the Annual Report the President recognised his contribution to rowing in Ballarat. Mr. H.Roberts who was representing the Ballarat Rowing Club at the meeting thanked him for the kindly reference to Mr.Tonner in the report. He also stated that a memorial worthy of the services rendered to rowing by George Tonner was to be erected. The George Tonner memorial is a gateway to Viewpoint directly opposite the Lake View and still standing today.

In all respects the club was going splendidly with good success on the water and the general feeling of optimism and hope   after the dark days of struggling to rebuild after the war. It looked as though the club had again pulled back from the brink and was steering happily towards the future.

* Mrs. Ure Taylor, or Aunty Taylor as she was called ran the Lake View Hotel and did much to support the rowing clubs and rowers in the 20’s and 30’s. This year she raised 324 pounds at a Bazaar held as a fundraiser for the club. A seat presented by herself and her husband is now located outside the Robert Clark Centre in the Botanical Gardens.

Winners of the Lightweight  four Albert Park Regatta, 1923
Bow: J. Bickart,2: T. C. Edwards, 3:R. Brown,  Str. Jack Lawrie; cox, Cotter James
Winners of the Maiden four double, Bairnsdale/Sale Regattas, Easter 1923.
Bow: H. Messinger, 2:Otto Hauser, 3:H. Waller, stroke: J. Blakeley, cox: H.Ross
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