1948 Henley Champions

From a rowing perspective the 1947-48 season was excellent. The club recorded its first ever win at Henley Regatta in November 1947. This was in the Maiden fours event with the crew of Albie McGuire, Dave McCallum, Max Harris and Frank Beattie. The inimitable Johnny Morris was the cox and club stalwart Otto Hauser the coach. The crew very nearly didn’t make the start of their heat. Frank Beattie went “missing” as he had a tendency to do and finally came sprinting down Flinders Street across Prince’s Bridge to the river. The crew had to sprint down the river to make the start. They won their heat and the other three members were disinclined to let Mr. Beattie out of their sight. In order to keep an eye on him they apparently took him into Yarra Yarra’s shed and wrapped him in a tarpaulin and sat on him until it was time to go out again. This process was repeated after they won their semi-final and then after winning the final they threw him in the river and wouldn’t let him out. A photo of the crew winning the final appeared in the Herald newspaper. It is interesting to note the size of the crowd that Henley Regatta used to attract. In fact it was on a par with the football grand final and the Melbourne Cup-the big three sporting events of the spring.

Picture from the Herald Sun newspaper. The Ballarat City crew is in the bottom right hand corner clearly identifiable by the bow number 4. This was the club number allocated by the VRA as we were the fourth club formed in Victoria in the 1800’s.
Winners Henley 1948 Maiden four. Bow; Albie McGuire, Dave McCallum, Max Harris, Frank Beattie, stroke. Johnny Morris, cox.

There was a slight increase in membership and financially the club continued in a sound position. Ted Edwards continued as president and Lysle Augustini was secretary.Mr. Alf Quick joined the club this year and immediately took on the job of Assistant secretary. Alf Quick, like Albie McGuire became one of the “stayers” and would go on to be a great contributor to the club, filling many roles on committee including President. Captain Warwick Ehms was transferred due to employment during the season so his brother Alan stepped up from Vice-captain to fill the Captain’s position. A total of seventeen committee meetings were held for the year with most committee members being very diligent in their attendance. This is close to a meeting every two weeks.

Regatta successes were greater this season and consequently we improved our position on the Junior premiership finishing 9th  overall. The club scored wins at Henley with the Maiden four, Warrnambool with a Maiden eight, and Barwon a Junior four and Sale a Junior pairs. The Ballarat Novice Regatta was also quite a successful day with the club winning the Maiden eight and Novice sculls. Club racing was held with Scratch pairs being raced on Open Day. The winners were Frank Beattie and Dave McCallum. Challenge pairs were raced throughout the season and again McGuire and Beattie were unbeatable. Trial Fours were also rowed. The winner of the L. Johnson trophy for the most successful novice was R. Murray.

Teddy Jones, who had now been coxing for 28 years since 1920 presented  the trophy for the most successful coxswain to Johnny Morris. I don’t think there has been any other coxswain in Victoria, possibly Australia who has had such a long career as a cox. Mr. “Hammy” Hamilton presented a trophy for the “Most Attentive coxswain”. This was awarded to Paul Quinlan and Cliff Restarick who shared the honours.

The fleet continued to be maintained in excellent fashion by the skilled band of workers Messrs. Hauser, Jones, Wilton and Hamilton. During the winter they revarnished boats, repaired and converted more oars for the new swivels and did general repairs and maintenance around the shed.This included lifting the floor of the shed due to sinking piles. A storeroom was built adjoining the kitchen and mirrors and flowerboxes installed in the hall and the interior of the entrance hall was painted. Having tackled many of these same jobs in later years, I know how much time and effort is involved!

The Social Committee continued to raise the much-needed funds to keep the club running. The Badminton Club was well supported and the club again had several teams entered in the local competition with considerable success. Miss L. N. Strick won the Ladies Singles and teamed with Mrs. Allen to win the doubles. Cliff McCahon and Miss Strick won the mixed doubles . Table Tennis was revived and again Ballarat City members Mr. Matthews and Mr. Bromley won the Doubles Championship.

1)Colac regatta 1948. 2) Albie McGuire 3) Bus transporting boats and rowers 1948 4)Winning four Barwon 1948-McGuire,Halsall,Morris, Beattie 5)Reg Leister, Albert Harden, W.Blakeley, Barwon 1948. Note ties and blazers and cigarettes!!

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