It was a very busy year for regatta racing and the first time in many years there was only one trial four held for the season due to the number of regattas attended and the time taken up with training. T. J.Steven’s crew won the Trial fours with J.Stoddart, J. Woods and J. Harrington. E. Lister and Alf Dixon were the winners of the Jack Walker Memorial Scratch pairs. At the end of 1924 the club attended Henley and VRA Regattas and the Maiden Regatta but failed to score a win.
At Colac Regatta on New Year’s Day, the Maiden four was leading their race when they were swamped a short distance from the post! The conditions at Colac, as was so often the case, were more suited to surfing than rowing. The same crew started in the junior four a few races later only to break a slide and be forced to retire when once again leading the race. The Annual Report states that “Conditions at this regatta were very rough and quite unsuitable for rowing.”!
Next on the racing agenda was Upper Yarra with again no success. At the following Albert Park Regatta, there was a turn huge around with all the competing club crews winning their respective races. The successes came in Maiden fours with the crew of Len Johnston, Jack Lawrie, Alf Dixon and H. Skilbeck, the Lightweight Maiden four of W. (Bill) Blaikie, A. Quayle, A. Browne and H. Gronn and the Maiden pair of Carl Ehms and Otto Hauser. Ballarat Regatta followed and the club again won the Maiden fours with the crew of A Browne, A. Quayle, W. Cook and Frank Findlay. Carl Ehms carried off first place in the Junior sculls.
At Barwon Regatta the club was successful in winning the coveted Ballarat/Barwon double in the Maiden Fours. We also won the Maiden eight which, winning it for the second time, meant that Ballarat City’s name was inscribed on the Shannon Cup attached to that race. The Maiden four at this regatta were A.Wilson, N. Hullick, Robert (Bob) Kerr and W. Luke. The eight comprised T. Stevens, J. Woods, G. Crompton, H. Gronn, W. Mansfield, H. Skilbeck, Carl Ehms and Otto Hauser with Cotter James the cox. They are pictured here relaxing on the jetty of the original shed.
The season finished with the Easter Regattas at Sale and Bairnsdale. Three crews represented the club in Maiden eights, fours and pairs but our regatta wins for the season were finished. At the Ballarat Novice Regatta the club carried the day for the third year in succession. We scored a first and a second in the novice fours thus winning the Novice Premiership overall. We also had wins with the maiden eight and maiden four.
Mr. Charles Suffren retired from the office of Captain after leading the shed so successfully for six years. He had taken the club on when things were at very low ebb and brought them back to achieving solid consistent results. His departure was much regretted.
Equipment wise things also improved. The new racing pair arrived along with 14 oars from Stephensons. The new pair was duly christened THE ALF DAWSON in honour of the past president. A new racing four was ordered from Jerrams, boat builders in Melbourne. A new boat truck was constructed to transport boats to the train station. Mr. Bob Kerr was responsible for its construction and painting. I’m sure its advent would have made easier the onerous task of wheeling boats down Webster Street to the station to load them on the to the train to Melbourne which rowers had to do every time they attended a regatta on the Yarra.
The Social Committee ,which was inaugurated in 1924, did an amazing job and raised the sum of one hundred and thirty pounds by the Annual meeting. They held dances at the Town Hall. At the dance held in July over four hundred people attended. The goal of building a new shed finally looked as if it might be achievable.