1941

At the club’s 70th annual meeting in early October 1941 Mr. C. H. Bunce again reiterated ‘to keep the flag flying till the members serving with the forces came back is the object of the committee.’ The club was most fortunate in having an outstanding set of executive officers who managed the club’s affairs so well. Ted Edwards took on the role of Captain and Treasurer and Malcolm Matthews was secretary with a committee of Alf Bannister, J.O’Donnell, C.Phillips, J.Reilly, J.Rapkins, H.Reilly and Dave Seddon. Financially the club remained in a sound position maintaining a surplus of assets over liabilities of 4649 pounds. Coaching of the few crews we had was carried out by Messrs. T. J. Stevens, A. J. Wilson and Stan Wilton. Mr. Stan Wilton also coached Ballarat Grammar School’s Head of the Lake crew to a fine win.

Memberships declined this season owing to enlistments. However while ordinary memberships declined this season, the club was able to give the Airforce and several members of the A.I.F. full use of the boathouse and the equipment. The Airforce used the boathouse throughout the rowing season. The report states that the club was very pleased with the way they looked after the property and that they were ‘a splendid lot of fellows’. About 70 members of the Airforce took an active part in rowing and the club provided trophies for Saturday afternoon races for pairs and fours. They also competed in Melbourne at the R.A.A.F. Regatta and practically scooped the pool.

Ballarat Regatta was held this year but it would be the last one for five long years. The club scored one win at the regatta with H. Riley winning the Maiden sculls.

 “Ideal weather, favorable both to the spectators and to the competitors was enjoyed for the annual Ballarat Regatta, held on Saturday afternoon. The racing was keen, the attendance satisfactory, and in every respect the gathering was a success.The regatta was the largest which has taken place in Victoria this season, and in view of all the circumstances, displayed commendable courage and enterprise in its decision that the event should be held. For the second year the regatta was in aid of the Comforts Fund and the Red Cross Society, it being fully recognized that while sporting fixtures should continue, notwithstanding the war, patriotic funds should benefit by them….. Visitors to Ballarat for the first time must have been impressed by the beauty which the Lake and its surroundings presented –the great expanse of water, unruffled by as much as a zephyr, fringed by the deep green of bordering trees, which helped to give the scene an atmosphere of profound restfulness.” (Excerpt from the Ballarat Courier, Monday, March 3rd, 1941.)

Seventy crews from seventeen clubs competed at the regatta. Many rowing officials from around the country were in attendance including Sir Stephen Morrell who was president of the Victorian Rowing Association, Mr. E. Kenny, secretary of the Australian Rowing Council and the presidents of Geelong Rowing Association and Mildura Rowing Club.The rowing events were an outstanding success with the rowers competing in ideal conditions. At the sound of the starter’s gun spectators would crowd the balconies of the three clubs and jetties and lake fore shore to obtain the best vantage point from which to watch the races. Competition for every race was very keen and there were several close finishes. One of the major attractions of the afternoon’s racing was the entry of six crews in the Open eights including a crew from the R. A. A. F. based in Melbourne. The local clubs were well represented but Wendouree surpassed its neighbours by entering in nine of the ten events. Despite their strong presence they were unable to secure a win. For the first time in its history, arrangements were made by the Ballarat Rowing Association secretary to broadcast through amplifiers at vantage points on View Point and the boathouses. The amplifiers broadcast a running commentary of each race by Mr. Gerald Hager. This was the very first time that a commentary was supplied for spectators, something that later regatta crowds would take for granted

%d bloggers like this: