1955 VRA Country Premiership 1954-55 and a quadruple.

This year the Victorian Rowing Association recognised the difficulty of country clubs in competing with the much larger metropolitan clubs and inaugurated the Country Premiership. Ballarat City won with 46 points, Colac was second with 34 and Wendouree third with 16 points. Ballarat Rowing Club scored just 2 points. Given that most of our wins were in the lightweight class we also came second on the Lightweight Premiership behind Mercantile. Mercantile also won the Junior premiership and were equal first with Albert Park on the Senior premiership.

The club also created VRA history winning the first quadruple-four consecutive races in the Lightweight fours at four consecutive regattas-Nagambie, Yarrawonga, Colac and Camperdown. These regattas were all held during the Christmas break over 10 days. It was reported in the Weekly Times from 12/10/1950 article at the end of this post. The crew comprised L. Cunningham, Robert Jones, Ralph Murphy and Ron Healey with Teddy Jones cox and coach. The club also attended Mildura Regatta and were successful in the Lightweight fours with Alan Dixon scoring his first of many wins for the club.  The club also had a winning Maiden four from St.Patrick’s College rowing for the club as they were coached by Stan Wilton our Vice-president. The crew were Brian Vear, T.Scarff, C.Castle and Vincent Corbett with B.Hickey the cox.

A young man who started his rowing career at VRA Regatta at the end of 1954, Alan Dixon, would go on to become an outstanding oarsman and administrator over the next 20 years. His record of wins was unequalled until the 1980’s.He served on the committee as Captain and secretary and organised and ran the Centenary Dinner for the club in 1971. His contribution on all fronts was again inspirational and I have Alan to thank for the painting he did for me for me for the cover of my book and for a copy of his extensive collection of newspaper articles and photos. I will be forever grateful that Alan shared my passion for documenting the club’s history and kept such a thorough record of his rowing exploits and club activities from 1954 to 1971. The only thing he regretted was that he was so busy with organising the Centenary Dinner and it was such a great night, he didn’t take any photos.

Frank Findlay continued as President and the Vice-presidents were Ted Edwards, Teddy Jones, Stan Wilton, Jack Lawrie, Charlie Pennant and Otto Hauser. Kevin Meyers was the Captain and Alf Quick continued as secretary. Of the 18 committee meetings Teddy Jones attended all eighteen and Stan Wilton and Ted Edwards attended 14 each. For the first time in many years Otto Hauser attended just four.

The club was still without a shed and in October of 1955 the plans had been drawn up and presented to Council and the Health Department. As soon as approval was gained, then tenders for construction would be called. Approval even in those days still took time and it wouldn’t be until early 1956 that building would actually start.

The Ballarat City number 2 crew, Lightweight four for Mildura and Wentworth Regattas 1955
cox, B.Hickey, (str) Ron Healey, (2) Ralph Murphy, (3) Alan Dixon, bow, Graeme Carthew

Winners Lightweight eights, VRA and Henley Regattas November 1954 (start of 54/55 season)
Bow: Neville Kerr, (2) Luke, (3) Ray Phillips, (4) Bobby Jones, (5) L. Cunningham, (6) Keven Myers, (7) Mick O’Brien, stroke Ron Healey, cox Ted Jones.
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