1943 Memories of the 40’s

Despite the decision to close the boathouse, a committee was elected to oversee affairs of the club and act in a caretaker role. Mr. Bunce now entered his thirteenth term as president. The vice-presidents were the same as last season, Messrs. C. N. Tulloch, G. Vickery, Jack Lawrie, J. McLeish,Ted Edwards and T. J. Stevens, with the addition of Mr. N. Wood. Mr. F. Davis continued as captain and vice-captain was Mr. R. Mitchell. Ted Edwards and Len Johnson continued to give sterling service as treasurer and secretary respectively. There was no annual meeting or Annual report in 1943 and I have been able to find no record of much rowing activity at all during 1943.

When I was researching and compiling the club history in 2000-2004 I interviewed as many older members as I could track down. One of the interviews was with Noel Edwards, son of Ted Edwards, and he kindly shared some memories of Ted from the 1940’s. It certainly shows just how dedicated to the club he was and how much work men like Ted Edwards, Otto Hauser and Stan Wilton did over many, many years. Just as in recent history there have been a handful of members who have dedicated their time and efforts to see the club survive and thrive again after tough times.

The Boatshed Dances.

Noel Edwards could remember, from when he was a child, the dances held every week at the boatshed. The setting up happened on Saturday afternoon and the cleaning up on Sunday morning. Mr.Bunce, the president, arranged the flowers every week and they featured his home grown gladioli. Stan Wilton lived in Talbot Street and would ride his bike to the Lake. When the dance was on, the club employed Sergeant Conabear, a local policeman, to be the bouncer. He was a big man and came to the dance in uniform and obviously acted as a great deterrent to any misbehaviour. The dance band was Frank and Bonnie Lucas and before that Allan Brothers and the Night Owls. The dances were more like a big house party with the Master of Ceremonies, Peter Sculley, encouraging the reluctant dancers and shyer members of the group.

Every Saturday night Ted would ride his bike home to Dana Street after the dance with the takings in a Gladstone bag across his handlebars. On one occasion only in all that time did he forget to take the bag inside and in the morning discovered the bag still with all the cash inside parked in the shed. The dance ran during the war and entertained the Americans service men stationed in Ballarat at Victoria Park.

During the Second World War Ted joined the Volunteer Defence Corps. When he was on a training camp out at Ballan he was run over by a motorbike. He was unconscious and in a coma for 4 months. He lost a part of one ear. He was hospitalised at Lakeside, which had been taken over by the Americans as a military hospital. He was treated there and they probably saved his life. It was very tough on his wife and young family. After he recovered he was mainly in administration.

AROUND THE SHED

Stan Wilton, Otto Hauser and Ted Edwards were the main workers around the club during the war period as Mr.Bunce was just too old. Upstairs in the shed there was a Bickart clock on the wall and Honourboards of the past presidents on the wall going up the stairs. Sawdust and kerosene was spread on the floor and a hessian covered box filled with weights was dragged up and down to polish the floor. When they retired both Otto Hauser and Ted Edwards went to play bowls at the Ballarat City Bowling Club – of course!

T.C.Edwards circa 1924
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