1983 The Stars align

The majority of the club 1983.Back standing Colin Angow, Danny Elliott. Front row: Di Whittle,Alison McKee, Kate Elliott, Lynn Gibbons, Kathy Lloyd and Mark Ralph.

Several factors started the club on its upward trajectory this year. Colin Angow was elected President at the Annual Meeting in September 1982 and would lead the club for nearly 20 years. Having been a cox, rower, committee member and having lots of practical workshop skills he was an ideal President. He knew what was going on at the club, as he was at the shed training every night with all the members.  Along with Kate Elliott as secretary and Danny Elliott as Captain, who were also up training and coaching every day, the executive of the club would lead by example and provide stable, consistent management for the benefit of the members. Danny also took on the Treasurer’s job in January as Jenny Hyatt resigned due to work commitments. All the older members, apart from Norm Angow, had moved into retirement from the club and its demands. Albie McGuire was still on the committee and Alf Quick put in an appearance at Committee meetings as he was still managing hall bookings.

Everything was now up to us. Our goal was to win races, to win Victorian Championships, to win Australian Championships and in the far distance, the dream of World and Olympic Championships. Several new or returning members joined this year who would be the lynch pin in driving the success of the club to the highest level. Of the six new or returning members nominated for membership this season and several would prove key players in the future successes of the club- James McKee, Sonia Adrians, Lynn Gibbons with Tim Wise returning after a stint in the army at Puckapunyal and working for Western Mining in Queensland.

 Severe drought conditions once again impacted on rowing activities on the lake. It dropped to its lowest level for twenty years making it almost un-rowable towards the end of the season. The staging of Ballarat Regatta, which was one of the club’s major fundraising opportunities, looked to be in doubt. However it did go ahead with the course moved back to the old mile course from Mary’s Mount corner to in front of Ballarat City. This was the first time since the completion of the Olympic course in 1956 that racing went back to the original course and it was a great success. The old course had always provided a much better viewing opportunity for the public and the boatsheds could be used for rowers to congregate in the one place instead of locating at the finish line. All the action was in close proximity and the excitement engendered around the boathouses at early regattas was again in evidence. The low level.

The low level of the lake also highlighted the sad state the jetty was in. So with the lake level conveniently low the opportunity was taken to pull up one side and replace bearers, beams and decking in red gum. Norm Angow, who was now retired, replaced nearly all the bearers on his own only taking time out for a brief and somewhat unanticipated swim! Norm did not enjoy swimming but he recovered and kept on working. Norm also pioneered the technique of attaching with rope to the body any tools that may accidentally be lost overboard. With every available member wielding a hammer at Working Bees for several weeks,it was completed in a couple of weekends with only the occasional loss of a hammer and no loss of life! This would have been a great achievement on its own but given that everyone involved was also training, racing, running the club, coaching and working it is a testament to those members who completed it. The cost of the materials was $600. Work as always continued on the shed with repainting the interior started this year transforming it from the pale green public amenity look to a subtle cream colour. Tuesday Night working bees were now an institution and much work was completed by a small handful of workers during this time. The club ordered a new set of womens’ blades from Jeff Sykes giving all our womens’ crews  access to more appropriate equipment as our numbers meant that some women still had to struggle with man-sized handles and longer, heavier oars.


Winners  Junior pairs: Danny Elliott(str),Colin Angow(bow),Kate Scanlon(cox)

Danny Elliott and Colin Angow, also somehow found time to win Junior pairs at Colac and Warrnambool Regattas. This was the first men’s win at Junior level since 1968.The total number of wins for the season was eighteen with nearly an equal number of second placings recorded. At the Victorian Championships on Lake Wendouree, Kate Elliott placed second in the Senior A Sculls and third in the Lightweight Sculls Championship. Danny and Colin placed third in the Men’s Champion Junior pairs. Danny Elliott also won the Victorian Country Championship Open Scull at the Country Championships with our other win being in Championship 2nd Grade Women’s fours with the crew of Kathy Lloyd, Lynne Gibbons, Di Whittle and Denise Jones. We boated a women’s eight at Barwon and Wendouree/Ballarat this year in the eight that Colin “saved”. Trophies were awarded to Alison McKee for the Most Improved novice; Di Whittle was Clubperson of the Year and Danny Elliott was awarded the Most Successful oarsman’s trophy in recognition of his 50th regatta win.

Ted Edwards or T.C. as he was called died this year. he had retired to the Gold Coast after giving 54 years of service to the club as a rower, committee member and President. It was sad to reflect that just as the club was coming into its most successful period of rowing, the men who had kept the club going, preserved the traditions and left us the opportunity were, for the most part no longer here to see it.

International rowing came to Ballarat this season when Dr. Hans Howald of the Swiss Institute of Sports medicine gave a lecture on his special interest -rowing. He was also the medical advisor for FISA- the international rowing organisation. This was in some ways the catalyst for the dream and changed the way we trained. Hans Howald was the vanguard of more scientific information about training programs and gave rowers in Ballarat valuable insight into the almost professional level of international training and competition. Rowing was still very much an amateur sport in Australia with a very strong club system. Internationally we had some success but by and large this was not the focus. In the ‘80’s a lot more information and research became available and ten years later, in 1990, the first World Championships were held in Tasmania at the beautiful Lake Barrington, Ballarat City had two representatives on that Australian team. The dream started here!

On the left is the jetty before repair and with the eight Colin Angow so skillfully stuck back together. On the right is the new redgum section which is still holding up today.

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