With 19 wins this year the tally was a little down on last season but the club recorded its first state Championship win by a women’s crew. The newly constituted Ballarat City Ladies rowing in the navy and white colours of the club for the first time, won the Women’s Senior B Victorian Championship at Albert Park Lake at the start of the 1979-1980 season in November. The crew comprised Kate Wise, Marg Elliott, Andrea Kriz and Jenny Hyatt with Chris O’Brien cox. Later on that season the pair of Jenny Hyatt and Sharon Mill with Kate Wise as cox, also won the Senior B Pairs Championship of Victoria. Captain Danny Elliott again scored seven wins for the club all in Lightweight Senior sculls. Kate Wise won the Val Bertrand 5 kilometre marathon on the Yarra during winter as well as two handicap sculls at Essendon Ladies and Barwon Ladies Regatta, two Senior B pairs and the Senior A four. The Senior A four win was at Banks Regatta, again a first for the club, with Kate Wise and Andrea Kriz joining forces with Sharon Mill and Jenny Hyatt. Danny Elliott was coaching all the women’s crews as well as training and racing successfully in the scull.
The King’s Cup and National Regatta was held for the second time on our home course, Lake Wendouree, and the club was represented by three scullers and a Ladies Senior four. Kate Wise made the final and placed third in the Women’s Champion Lightweight sculls. Simon O’Brien rowed in the men’s Youth sculls and Danny Elliott was looking good for the Lightweight sculls having had a great season and on his racing on his home course. He finished second in his heat but unfortunately was disqualified from the repercharge for weighing in late. He never was overweight, being naturally light and he was only a few minutes late due to a misunderstanding about the time but official Reg McKay destroyed his season and refused to let him race. Andrea Kriz, Marg Elliott, Jenny Hyatt and Sharon Mill rowed the Ladies’ Senior four. Other members competing for the club this season were Bill Davies, Neville Collins, Bryce Rayworth, Mick Bracka, Andrew O’Brien, Jacinta Wise, Jenny Burzacott and Ros Rixon. Jacinta Wise made it four of the Wise family to row for the club-Kate, Tim, Jacinta and Martin who was a coxswain at this stage. The club membership grew by thirteen members.
Club Open Day was truly spectacular this year-not for the numbers attending or the racing but because the shed was for the first time literally opened when a freak weather change ripped the roof off the third bay! A small number of members had gathered and one pair had launched to make a start on proceedings. It was an overcast afternoon with a change expected. Several members stood watching the dark clouds approach. Suddenly the wind hit the far end of the lake and literally lifted the surface off the lake. The gale force winds carried this wall of water with frightening speed towards the shed and flung a wall of water at the watchers on the jetty. The force of the wind funnelling through the open boat doors was enough to blow the iron off the roof in the third bay. A frantic scramble ensued to hold down boats that were being lifted off their racks, Danny Elliott stood between the rack holding on to our good racing fours while yelling instructions to close the doors against the onslaught and had to avoid the sheets of iron that were slicing down to the floor. Some of the sheets blew across Wendouree Parade and ended up in the yard of Nazareth House. Meanwhile the pair that had been launched had to simply sit out in the middle of it all and ride the storm. All thoughts of racing were promptly abandoned and it was all hands on deck to nail the roof back on. Greg Hucker from Wendouree Ballarat had witnessed the carnage from upstairs at that shed and came over to lend a hand. In still very strong wind he climbed up and nailed the roof back on. His assistance was gratefully received. Needless to say the shed had never before or since been so completely and quickly opened. The following day Danny Elliott and Kate Wise left to compete in the New South Wales State Championships at Penrith. It was so hot up there that the Blue Mountains were ablaze with bushfires. After driving all day from a freezing Ballarat to the heat and humidity of Sydney did nothing to assist their performance. Once again we only had limited time off work and had to drive up, race and then drive home.
Mrs. Joyce McGuire and Mrs. Kit Quick continued to work tirelessly for the club on regatta days and with the funds raised we were able to replace the hall floor at a cost of $3700.Club members lead by chief carpenter, Albie McGuire, and Bob Angow provided all the labour to pull up the old hardwood floor in the hall and replaced it with jarrah floor .
Captain Danny Elliott started to collect annual reports and photographs this year with the intention of writing the history of the club. It only took another twenty five years to realise this goal. However we did start to collect old Annual reports, photos and research newspapers in the library.
A presentation was made by the president and committee to Kate Wise and Danny Elliott of a silver tray on the occasion of their marriage on May 10th; 1980. Club members also attended and formed a guard of honor with oars at the door of the church. This was the first all Ballarat City Rowing Club marriage and it is still going strong 40 years on!
Sadly the club lost a good friend and willing worker this year when Bob Angow died. He had been the epitome of a good clubman. Never having rowed himself he came to the club with son Graeme and then proceeded to quietly, as Bob was a man of few words, get on and “do” whatever needed doing. He had been a tireless worker for the club and left a lasting legacy in the many practical projects he initiated or assisted with around the club.
This year the Most Improved Novice trophy was won by Simon O’Brien, Jenny Hyatt and Nick O’Brien shared the honors for clubman of the year and Kate Elliott was the Most Successful.