1962 Kings Cup Regatta and first National Regatta held on Lake Wendouree

Mr. Francis E. Findlay continued as president and was also the president of the Ballarat Rowing Association with Mr. Albert Harden the secretary. This meant a busy year for Frank and the club as the King’s Cup Regatta was held on Lake Wendouree in March and the inaugural National Championship were held in April, having not been combined into the one regatta yet. The club hosted the Western Australian eight providing accomodation , a boat and entertainment during their time in Ballarat.

Club Captain was Alan Dixon leading rowing matters by example. The membership was slightly down this year but the successes were greater. The ability to boat competitive crews was again affected by the loss of a large number of promising members to various other parts of the state with many younger rowers finishing their secondary schooling in Ballarat then going on to tertiary studies in Melbourne or elsewhere. This has been a problem for the Ballarat rowing club’s right from the beginning and with the increased mobility of the population after the war the problem was exacerbated. This inability to form crews turned several members towards sculling with great success.

An innovation in this year’s Annual Report, was a Captain’s Report in which Alan Dixon provide a comprehensive list of regattas attended and wins achieved. He also noted that the club boated for the first time in many years a junior eight at Ballarat Regatta. While not successful they were one of the” happiest combinations boated for some time.” The winning crews were the Lightweight Maiden four at Upper Yarra November 1961 and at Ballarat Regatta, Bob Coutts won the Best Boat handicap scull. At the inaugural National Championships on the 21st to the 23rd of April Bob Coutts was our sole representative in the Champion Lightweight sculls. He came up against another young sculler from Corio Bay who had been racing at this level for a couple of years. His name was Jeff Sykes! Bob managed a very creditable third place in his first race at national level. Jeff Sykes had also competed in the Presidents Cup representing Victoria at the King’s Cup Regatta in March where he finished third to Ian Tutty of NSW. Interesting to note that in 1992 Danny Elliott would coach an Australian Senior B double scull with Ian’s son Jason and Anthony Edwards!

Picture from the Ballarat Courier 1962

It was also about this time that the time-honoured tradition of a selection committee began to outlive its purpose and usefulness. There were smaller numbers of oarsmen and they tended to form crews themselves at the appropriate level. Coaches tended to decide when and in what category they should race. It was possible to race more than one crew in a particular event. The cost of travelling was decreasing, as was the difficulty in travelling to regattas. In the past the selection committee had run the trial races and on form put the “best”crew together to compete at a regatta. Crews for the same event changed at the various regattas-now crews tended to form and stay together for the duration of the season. This also led to some problems over who should have precedence for the best equipment. Probably as a result of these changes the club held a special meeting on the 6th of October 1962 to update the rules and by-laws of the club.

The newly formed Rowers Social Club presented the club with a new pair of “shovel”oars-these being the new shape of oars with a much bigger blade area than the old “standard” blades. The club held its Open Day on the 2nd of December 1962 hosting a barbecue for rowers and their lady friends followed by racing. The reinvigorated Ladies Auxiliary held their first annual meeting with Mrs. Hickey the president, Mrs. Moon, secretary and Mrs. Harden treasurer. Their fundraising efforts for the year included a Cabaret dance, salad roll bar at the State Championships, a stall at Ballarat Regatta and several house parties.

The School of Mines again used the club’s fleet and facilities to train for the Inter-technical schools Regatta in Melbourne. The interior of the hall was repainted this year at a cost of 154 pounds. We still owed 8000 pounds on the Treasury loan having repaid just under half the amount in six years. Hall hire bought in revenue of 509 pounds.

The club hosted the Western Australian eight and the New South Wales eight for the King’s Cup Regatta. The Western Australian eight actually used the club’s eight oared boat the FRANK FINDLAY and were very happy with it. The Western Australian eight presented the club with a photo in gratitude for their efforts.

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