125 days, 125 posts covering 125 years! It has been a roller coaster of emotion remembering the great times and reliving the successes but also revisiting the stressful and negative occasions. 1996 was the year that Anthony Edwards, the boy from Sleepy Hollow, Ballarat, stepped onto the Olympic stage and wrote his name into Olympic history and also club history. Even though it had been a dream goal back in 1980’s, we somehow managed to get one rower through from our small membership to the Olympic Games. He raced at Atlanta in the lightweight double sculls with Bruce Hick –the first time this event had been included in the Olympic program. The duo were successful in winning a bronze medal.
Back on the local scene the club again attended 80% of the regattas conducted but once again the heavy burden of selection trials for our rowers trying for selection meant that they weren’t available to compete for the club. The effort of resourcing them meant that it took away from other club rowers and it was apparent in our recruiting and racing this year. We had a total of 21 wins for the season with our women’s novice quad scull of Traci Robins, Maryanne Moore, Andrea Dixon and Andrea Pearson starting the season strongly and being undefeated in that class. Also for the first time in many years we did not finish in the top placings in the Premiership ladder. The club won one state Championship outright the Men’s Champion Junior scull with Shane Young in his first season of sculling and had two representatives in the Champion Men’s and Women’s Senior fours-Anthony Edwards and Marion Taffe. At the National Championships Anthony Edwards won silver medals in the lightweight sculls and heavyweight double sculls and Shane Young won a bronze medal in the Junior double sculls competing at his first National championships. This was the first year that medals were presented to the first three placegetters. Lora Steele and Bernie Purton, competing at their first National Championships performed well in the Junior pairs and Under 17 double sculls.
The club again provided a variety of programs aimed at various target groups as identified in our development plan. The primary school program successfully ran for the second year with Blackhill Primary School grade fives and sixes. We continued to run programs for Damascus College with several of these students continuing on. Several masters rowers took up the challenge this season and became the most consistent and enthusiastic members of the club.
We had hoped that the LEAP program* would achieve many of our building maintenance objectives. While the interior of the shed received a much-needed face-lift the standard of the work did not always meet our expectations. The club also had to pay for most of the materials and did not have a very large budget to draw from. Members also conducted a working bee to replace sections of the upstairs roof that were leaking. Plumber Mr. Jim Collet supervised and oversaw the replacing of the roof with volunteer labour done by members. Most of the budget we had set aside for equipment had to be spent on repairs and maintenance to existing equipment. The honeycomb racing four needed an expensive repair after being loaned to Ballarat College for training for the Head of the Lake Regatta.We leased it for $550 and its cost $690 to repair. Phil Dixon returned to the club this year as his daughter Andrea began rowing in the novice quad. Phil refurbished oars and repaired the Don Cochrane, so it was great to have another pair of practical hands. (*a training program for long term unemployed youth.)
Ballarat City also launched onto the Internet year with with our first webpage and a new logo which we used for letterheads etc. It didn’t replace the crest it just was a more up to date look. Significantly the Ballarat City Rowing Club Parent’s Committee was formed this season to take over the task of fundraising. They took over running and organizing various social and fundraising events which gave secretary Kate Elliott a very welcome break from the last 20 years of doing the job! The events including the Australia Day Fireworks, which was an outstanding success with the biggest attendance yet. There was also a shopping trip, Easter raffle and end of season barbecue. A farewell dinner was tendered to Anthony Edwards at the Olde Ballarat Travel Inn and thanks to the generosity of the manager Mark Lynch $700 was donated to Anthony to assist him with his travel to the Atlanta Olympic Games.