The 1990 World Championships at Lake Barrington, Tasmania were undoubtedly the most exciting event in the history of Australian rowing. For the first time ever, Australian crews were competing with the world on our home course and Lake Barrington did not disappoint. Not only did Australia play host to world rowing but Ballarat City Rowing Club had a member on the Australian team. For the first time Tim Wise through sheer hard work and steely determination, gained his place on the team as the lightweight sculler. Not only was he the first Ballarat City member to be selected to row at the World Championships but he was and is the only Ballarat based sculler to represent Australia in the single scull. The other two scullers from Ballarat, Gary Gullock and Anthony Edwards, both represented Australia but relocated from Ballarat and rowed doubles and quads. It was really an extraordinary achievement to stay in Ballarat, to train on his own through the depths of a Ballarat winter having not been selected initially despite some outstanding performances, then to dig deep mentally and physically to gain selection against the odds is something special. Oh and he was also working full time and there was no AIS or VIS funding to help him out. He did it pretty much on his own even having to raise funds to pay the team fees. Danny Elliott was on the team as his coach and there was just so much excitement when their Australian gear arrived. In just six years from when we set our goals of winning races, winning Victorian Championships and Australian Championships and attaining World Championship level to represent Australia we could also tick that goal.
Another highlight this year was the back-to-back Victorian Championship wins by Kate Elliott and Tim Wise. The brother and sister duo won the Champion Lightweight sculls of Victoria being the only brother/sister combination to do so possibly in Australia and certainly the only ones to do so two years in a row. Tim also travelled to NSW and won that state’s Lightweight Championship also. Our other State Championship win was a Women’s Junior four, containing 4 girls from SHC who had graduated from our beginning rowing programs. The crew of Anne Power, Danielle Hereen (Foley), Marion Taffe with cox Michelle Finn, teamed with Melia Frangos who had joined the club from Ballarat Grammar school, won the Women’s Junior Four Championship and were undefeated in that class of boat all season. The club’s total of wins for the season was 62 with 45 of these being by the women. With only eleven women competing for the club missed out on winning our 6th VRA premiership by a mere 3 points. We came second to Powerhouse who having St. Catherine’s School rowing for them, boated on average 6 fours (24 rowers) per regatta!
At the Country Championships on Lake Wendouree we again scooped the pool winning seven championships including Women’s and Men’s Open sculls, Women’s and Men’s Novice sculls, Women’s Under 16 four and women’s Novice pair. Petra Frangos joined us after time at the AIS and she and Anne Power won their Novice sculls, with Petra winning through to Senior C in the season. Hugh McKee also won Novice through to Intermediate in the space of three or four regattas. Sonja Crouch moved up to winning Senior A sculls and teamed with Kate Elliott to win Senior A double sculls at Universities Regatta. Over half our active members were current Victorian titleholders.
The National Championships were a severe disappointment for the third year in a row. The club took its largest ever contingent to Lake Barrington in Tasmania. A lot of planning, fundraising and a few donations raised the $3000 that ensured boats; trailer, rowers and coach could cross the Bass Strait and compete. Although not scoring any wins all crews and scullers made the final of their event. Towing the trailer up and down the steep hill at Barrington also burnt out the brakes on the Elliott Chev and they had to be replaced when we got back.
We also survived another potentially catastrophic incident involved the trailer when towing the newly modified trailer down Mair Street fully loaded with boats. The wheel nuts hadn’t been tightened and parted company with the wheel. The wheel flew off the trailer and the occupants of Elliott’s Chevy who were towing it at the time, nearly had heart failure. Thankfully the weight of the Chev being greater than the trailer both car and trailer stayed upright. The girls in the car following us had the presence of mind to leap out and stop the run away wheel before it ploughed through the plate glass window of SF Motors. A quick trailer change and reload we made the regatta in time-just!
This year we started to plan our most ambitious project to date, that of running a Talent Identification Program. With the assistance of Paul Thompson, who was appointed to the new position of Victorian Rowing Coaching director and Dr. Warren Payne of Ballarat University College it would prove to be an interesting and exciting time for the club-especially Kate Elliott who took on responsibility for running the program. Students from Loreto College participated in Learn to Row programs this season.
Ballarat Theatre School became our first long-term tenant in the upstairs hall. This bought in income without the added burden of hiring and cleaning the hall. Norm and Dorothy Angow could at last take a well deserved break from the sometimes weekly floor polishing! We had the racing four converted to a coxless four this season and purchased four of the new carbon fibre oars to go with it. We also started to hang photographs of our champion crews around the downstairs foyer. The cost of this was about $120 per photograph donated Kate and Danny Elliott. Many cracked and broken windows were replaced at a cost of $800.
Open Day was again held just before Christmas and the occasion used to christen the double scull coxless pair purchased by the club the TIM WISE.We managed to raise $1000 in sponsorship money being from Wendouree Village, Nature’s Cargo, Bendix Mintex, Jim Frangos, John King and Yeoman’s Videos.