1981 First Country championships and two new Life Members

After the devastation of disqualification from the National last Captain Danny Elliott was even more determined to lead the club to on water success. It seemed to be an almost impossible task as our numbers of competitive rowers was even more reduced. But our small band of rowers, mainly women, we scored 17 wins this year. In fact we finished just 8 points off winning the Women’s Country Premiership. Not bad for a women’s club that had only be in existence for 10 years. The two Victorian Country Championships won this year were both won by women’s crews. Andrea Kriz and Kate Elliott won the Country Champion Open pairs and they then combined Jenny Hyatt and Marg Eckel to win the Champion Open fours. At BRA Open Day the club were successful in Novice fours, handicap sculls and women’s Open four. Captain Danny Elliott notched up his 40th win for the club with a Lightweight scull win at Horsham. The National Championships were in Queensland this year and we could not afford the expense or the time off work to attend.

Women’s Country Champion four,Victorian Country Championship Regatta,Ballarat,1981.Jenny Hyatt(b),Sharon Mill(2)Andrea Kriz (3),Kate Elliott (str) Martin Wise (cox)

Finance was still a problem with the effort to fundraise pretty much a constant battle. Jenny Hyatt had taken on the Treasurer’s job last year and did a terrific job.The main sources of income were hall hire with the down side that it had to be cleaned and maintained in between hirings and catering at regattas which involved a lot of hard work for a few volunteers most of whom were also trying to compete as well. Older members, Alf Quick and Albie McGuire did most of the work hiring and cleaning the hall, which required a lot of hard work and many hours of their time. The club closed the year with a credit balance of $370 in its operating account and $1600 in its equipment and maintenance account. This money was earmarked to repaint the exterior of the shed. Catering at the three regattas held on the Lake netted a profit of $749 which contributed greatly to our funds. Mrs. Quick and Mrs. McGuire were gave invaluable assistance in catering on regatta days and we learnt all our regatta catering skills from assisting them.

Danny Elliott and Kevin O’Brien shared coaching. The hard working coxswains were Martin Wise, Chris O’Brien and Kate Scanlon. President of the club Graeme Angow was also president of the BRA for the season, which meant a very busy year for him with many big regattas on the Lake to organise. Graeme was also awarded a life-membership of the club this year in recognition of his contribution to the club over many years. Alf Bannister, who had been a member before World War 2 and was a successful lightweight rower, was also awarded a life-membership.

Discussions were held at committee meetings about replacing the club’s honour boards but as usual, lack of funds prevented any further action. Eventually in 2003 the club obtained a grant from Veteran affairs and the WW1 and WW2 Honorboards were finally hung back in the shed. Albie McGuire and Frank Beattie also presented the club with a photograph of their winning pair combination from 1947. Otto Hauser presented a photograph of a winning crew from 1929.

A new coxless pair/double scull was ordered from Jeff Sykes. The committee felt we could afford it if club members did the repainting of the shed. The old fibreglass motor boat, the BILL DAVIES had become a real liability needing constant repairs. It was decided to try and swap it for a lighter aluminium craft. The jetty was also in a sad state of repair and once again plans were made to replace the worst sections.The jetty has been like the painting the Sydney Harbour Bridge-just when you get to the end of repairing and replacing you have to turn around and start all over again.

Kate Elliott had investigated replacing the two memorial seats at the front of the boatshed. They had been removed by Council and the brass plaques lost. We also had correspondence from Council about replacing them. The letter was addressed to Mr. K.Elliott! Even in the more enlightened 80’s many people assumed that the secretary of a rowing club would be male. Originally we wanted the cast iron seats replaced but as things dragged on we agreed to get whatever the Council would supply.We would then re-attach the memorial plaques ourselves. The seats and the plaques are there today, one commemorating members who fought in both wars and one dedicated to Mr. Bunce our President during the 1920’s and 30’s.

The Most Successful oarsperson for the season was Kate Elliott, Most Improved Novice John Lyle and the Clubman of the year was Mark Postlethwaite. A special award was made to Di Whittle and Jo Butler who had joined the club from High School and made a great all-round contribution to the club. Subscription were raised to $25 for seniors and $10 for Juniors. Colin Angow returned to the club after several years’ absence while working in Canberra. By the end of the season painting of the shed was becoming desperately needed as it had last been painted in 1968-69.Committee member and professional painter K. O’Brien offered to do it for $1500.

Victorian Country Championship Open pair, Ballarat,1981.Kate Elliott (str) Andrea Kriz (bow)and Kate Scanlon, cox.
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