1957 Are we there yet?

The Annual Report of 1957 opened with: “What a wonderful year for this club and rowing in general the past season was. Firstly, we had here on our Lake the rowing and canoeing events of the XVI Olympiad which proved to be an outstanding success, with Australia represented in every rowing event for the first time………Secondly, your Club house was advanced to the stage where it was used by representatives of 9 countries and satisfaction and praise was expressed by these competitors and officials……. And lastly now your club house is almost complete and we trust it is all that you desired and although it has been a long time, we can all say it was worth waiting for.”

The Annual meeting was held for the first time in the new shed. Due to many delays in construction and difficulties encountered, the new boatshed was still not completed. The club had however moved back in and members were assisting with the finishing off of the building. After some seven years of being homeless, Ballarat City was back home and back in action. The survival of the club over these years owed much to the generosity of the Anglers Lodge and St. Patrick’s College for providing meeting space and boating space for all this time and the very hard work of the President Frank Findlay, Vice-presidents especially Otto Hauser, Stan Wilton, Ted Edwards and Teddy Jones and the committee. Thanks were also given in the Annual Report to Hon. R. J. White, MLA and Councillor G.L. Scott for the time and work they put in to enable the club to get the boat house built by arranging deputations and interviews in Melbourne to ensure that it did happen.

Sixteen committee meetings were held for the 1956-57 season and once again Otto Hauser, Teddy Jones, Stan Wilton and Ted Edwards were continuing their support of the club by attending the majority of them. Teddy Jones was still coxing and coaching.Club stalwart and legend Ted C. Edwards made a Life Member of the Ballarat Rowing Association being the first Ballarat City member to achieve this honour.

The Social Committee, who kept running the weekly dances at the Town Hall and bringing in the much-needed funds, was also crucial. They had built the “new shed” in 1932 and less than twenty years later were again faced with the challenge of rebuilding. The Ladies Committee, which had been in recess for some seven years hoped to reactivate for the next season. Mrs. Wilton and Mrs .Jones however helped out at the Saturday night dances and appreciation was expressed in the annual report to these two ladies in particular.

The Ex-Oarsmen’s Association was operating successfully and ran a picnic at Lake Learmonth in conjunction with the club. The club also reactivated the table tennis teams and entered two teams in the pennant competition with the C Grade team coming runners up in the premiership. The upstairs hall at the club was used for the Table tennis Associations Championships. A sub-committee was formed to handle the use of the hall “for the benefit of the club.”

Again given the efforts of all club members in finishing off their new home and the fact that the adversity that united them had been overcome, rowing matters slid a little and the club again scored just one win. With the Olympic Games held at the traditional start of the season in November in ‘56, many regattas were not held. members of all three clubs were unable to train until Christmas as the Olympic Organising Committee had control of Lake until after the Olympics. That also meant that the first regatta attended was Ballarat on February 23 ,1957. The club won the Lightweight eights with Neville Kerr, R.Phillips, Charlie Bolte, G.O’Brien, Kevin O’Brien, Bill Luke, Ralph Murphy and Kevin Meyers with the inimitable Teddy Jones cox and coach! We also attended Barwon, Henley (which was held later due to the Olympics) , Mildura and Wentworth.

On Sunday 17th of November one of the most important events of the year occurred with the Fleet Naming Ceremony. This was an extremely significant occasion as all the boats that had been bought to replace those that were burnt were named. The program for the day commenced with the national anthem, followed by President Mr. Findlay introducing the Mayor, Cr. Jack Chisholm. Then there was choral interlude! Next came the address by Hon. R.T. White MLA, more choir music and an address by Rev. A.D. Lelean who would do the honours of naming the boats. More choir music and then closing by Mr. Frank Findlay and the national anthem –again! Everyone looked resplendent, gentlemen in their club blazers and ladies in hats and coats. I do wonder if the choir was also club members. It could be another activity to revive-the Ballarat City Rowing Club choir!

From L-R are Mrs. Merle Wilton, Reverend LeLean, Mrs. Ida Hauser and Kevin O’Brien (Club Captain)

The bow of the STAN WILTON is also shown.

Mrs Billy Findlay naming the FRANCIS E.FINDLAY

Rev. Lelean partly obscured and Kevin O’Brien (Club Captain)

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