Mr. Alf Dawson was President this year and Dr. Champion joined the Vice-Presidents group which included Mr.H.Bunce, Joe Bickart, Jas Tulloch, George Vickery and Andrew Alipius O’Dea. Captain of the shed this year was N.Hullick and Carl Ehms was the Vice-Captain. Mr.A.Browne was Secretary and Len Johnson the Treasurer. Both Mr.Charles Suffren, who had been coach for the last six years and Mr.George Eaton who had been Treasurer for the last four years and secretary before that, were made Life Members in recognition of their contribution. Alex McLeish who started his rowing at City in 1925 moved to Melbourne. He would go on to be an outstanding oarsman and Victorian rowing official at Albert Park Rowing Club. (see his profile at https://rowinghistory-aus.info/rower-profiles/mcleish-alex-w)
The club had formulated a clear aim back in 1920 when Charles Suffren returned as coach. That aim being to put City back in the forefront of rowing on the local stage. They achieved that aim by reaching three of their four main goals this season – an increased membership of more than sixty active members, a completely renewed fleet of practice and racing boats and regatta successes on a par with the early glory days of the club. The only negative was that little had been done to improve the club’s accommodation. The matter of replacing the old shed was again high in the agenda. Money had been raised by the ‘Home to Ballarat’ Committee and was expended on establishing lawns and gardens around the foreshore considerably enhancing the appearance of the lake. The old unpainted, dilapidated shed must have looked very shabby alongside these improvements and the newer and larger sheds of Wendouree and Ballarat.
The 56th Annual Report opened with the statement that this had been the most successful season ever recorded by the club having finished third on the Champion Club Premiership with a score of 42 points-the highest number recorded by the club since the inception of the premiership points. While this is true, the club was actually the premier club of Victoria in 1894 the year before official premierships started. Then we won a total of 6 races from four regattas. This season the club attended seven regattas fielding crews in Maiden eights, fours and sculls for a total of nine wins. The club also won the BRA Novice premiership for the fifth year in succession. Membership increased slightly to 65 members.
Warrnambool Regatta was held on Boxing Day 1926 and the club attended with three crews and were successful winning the Junior pair with N.Hullick and J.A.Dixon and Maiden pair of A.Browne and J.Beattie. The Warrnambool Regatta Association billeted out our rowers and displayed “splendid hospitality” during the stay. Colac Regatta on New Year’s Day was again very successful with the club winning Junior fours, Junior pairs and Maiden fours. At Upper Yarra Regatta we scored our first win in a couple of years with our Maiden eight J. Atkinson, J.Moran, V.Thomas, R.Perry, A.McLeish, F.James, C.Bates and W.Blaikie with Cotter James coxswain and “Ace” Wilson the coach. This same crew went on to win at the next regatta, A.N.A. Regatta thus scoring the eight oared double the club had won for thirty years! At Ballarat Regatta we won the Junior eight and the Lightweight four. At Barwon Regatta all crews rowed well but we had no wins. The season concluded with the Ballarat Novice Regatta where the club recorded its fifth straight premiership.
Being such a successful season the intra club racing was very competitive with three lots of scratch pairs rowed and two fours competitions. The results were:
C. Marks and Co. Scratch pairs-R. Budge and Otto Hauser.
Club Fours-Keith Elliot, J. Moran, A. Browne, J. Beattie.
Hullick and Johnson Scratch pairs-Alex McLeish, Keith Elliot.
The “Home to Ballarat” Combination fours-winning crew stroked by J. McKay of our club. Coaching was carried out by “Acey” Wilson, T.J. Stevens, Jack Lawrie, Ray Todd, N. Hullick, Alf Dawson and Wally Dawson.
The fleet was overhauled and revarnished this season and all the blades painted blue. As well as preserving the blades this should also considerable improve the appearance of the crews. A new racing clinker eight was placed on order at Jerrams and the Ladies committee had purchased a new set of oars from Stephenson’s which were to be presented to the club.
Sadly a former president Mr. Jas Tulloch passed away just after the Annual meeting this year. He had been a member before the World War 1 and caretaker president from 1915-18. Several key members also departed the club this season for reasons of employment. Mr.George Eaton, former secretary and treasurer left for Melbourne. He was presented with an armchair in recognition of his services. Mr.Bob Budge and Mr.Alex McLeish also transferred to Melbourne. At the end of the season the club had in its possession several Challenge Cups being the Marks’ Cup for Novice Fours, the Hutton-Jones Cup for Junior eights at Ballarat Regatta and the Colac Cup for Maiden fours won at Colac Regatta.
A Ladies’ Euchre committee was formed this season composed of ‘elderly lady supporters’. Mrs. Beattie and Mrs. Browne, wives of two of the members, were the instigators of the committee. The ladies of the club had always done a sterling job usually behind the scenes and contributed greatly to the financial side of things.They probably got tired of being left home while the ‘fellows’ were off rowing. So the Euchre Committee was an opportunity for the ladies to meet at the club and feel in some way a little more a part of the action. The Social Committee again did wonderful work contributing to the finances and social side of the club. During the four years since its formation the committee had been instrumental in raising hundreds of pounds towards club funds.