This season saw a marked increase in memberships, the majority being in the Masters category. It was great to see these members becoming involved not only in the sport but in the administration and maintenance of the club as well. The highlight of the season was having twenty Mater’s rowers from the club compete in November. In preparation the male master’s contingent of Norm Young, Ron Young, Wayne Lyle,Barry Lyle, Barry Wright, Eddie Sullivan, Gavin Cormick and Peter Whitefield readied themselves for action. Rather than wait six months for the Master’s regattas to start after a winter of training, they threw themselves into regular club racing and gave the club some of the biggest entries we had had for eight years. Up against rowers often half their age and “Institute of Sport” wannabes they gave an excellent account of themselves and improved with every row. Most of all they showed everyone how to have a damn good time doing it! Club Captain, Tim Wise, wrote in the Annual Report, “Our current crop of male Masters are amongst the most outstanding club members in the history of the club, their energy and enthusiasm for not only racing but for aspects of club life is to be highly commended.”
At Ballarat Regatta they even entered Men’s Novice eight. Later in April at the Master’s regattas, they were joined by the women’s Master’s contingent of Sue Sullivan, Janet Jones, Kim Oliver, Simone Byrne, Janine Roberts and Michelle Menz. Norm Young and Wayne Lyle proved to be a successful double scull combination and we had quite a few wins in beginner and novice Master’s races. In June a large contingent headed off to Adelaide for the Master’s National Championships where Norm and Wayne won a gold medal in the Novice double scull and we boated a Men’s C eight which although unplaced was quite an achievement.
Tim Wise was our only Victorian Championship winner this year, overcoming illness to win the Champion Lightweight sculls for the fourth time. He became the only sculler to have his name on the Keith Bilney shield four times. He also raced with Al Isherwood to win the Champion Lightweight double sculls also.
In October the biggest event since the 1956 Olympic Games was held on Lake Wendouree, the 2002 World Masters Games. While in ‘56 all that club members could have hoped to be involved in, was the organisation of the regatta or watching from the shore. This time the club competed proudly against the best Masters rowers in the world and brought back not only medals but great memories of a week of rowing that for most of us will be a once in a lifetime event. Twenty rowers from the club competed in events with the most successful being Tim Wise, who keeping his outstanding performance at this level over the past 6 years collected gold, silver and bronze in the single scull and double scull and again made a clean sweep of the mixed A and B double sculls with partner Belinda Bilney. The Mixed Masters B coxed eight was our last event with Janet Jones, Simone Byrne, Sue Sullivan, Kim Oliver, Steven Byrne, Eddie Sullivan, Peter Jones, Tony Heys and coxed by Jacquie McMaster, they showed true form to come home second and the reward of a Silver medal for the mantelpiece. Kate Elliott made a return to racing after seven years, in the Women’s C scull winning her heat and semi-final but could only managing 6th in the final.
The club endeavoured to liaise more closely with the City Council on how the building maintenance was progressing and to that end held several meetings with Council officers. A sub-committee was formed to look at sponsorship and fund-raising with Eddie Sullivan convening this sub-committee. Ron Young and Tim Wise were club delegates to the Ballarat Rowing Association – a task requiring considerable stamina.
Club Information Guides were also distributed this season on payment of subscriptions. These books provide information to new and existing members regarding the operations of the club and hopefully supply members with other useful information as well. Committee members also received a folder containing the constitution, building plan, development plan and club information. It is hoped to add to these folders and update our development plan. Kate Elliott (co-secretary) is also representing the club on the Central Highlands Sports Assembly, Club Administration Advisory Group and will be able to provide updates on workshops etc regarding administration.
We applied for and were successful in obtaining a grant from the City Council for an innovative program to assist Masters women to become involved in rowing. The program called REACTOAR (Recreational Activity with an OAR) which looked at not only teaching women to row but also involving them in coaching juniors. The $2600 went towards recruiting, coaching and equipment for the program.
A huge amount of time,effort and money has been expended on the completion of the jetty. The treated pine timber cost the club $4500 and nails and bolts to put it all together another $500. It was still not quite finished by the Annual Meeting in September but had advanced enormously from last season when it was reported that a 4mx4m section had been done! The usable section of jetty is now much safer and structurally sounder thanks to the hard work of the dedicated jetty brigade consisting of Norm Young, Wayne Lyle, Ron Young, Tim Wise, Danny Elliott, Barry Lyle, Kate Elliott, Eddie Sullivan and Belinda Bilney (even if she couldn’t drive a nail in straight!) This group hand nailed each and every board, cutting to length, predrilling holes and then nailing into place. Their hard work saved the club many the thousands of dollars that it would have cost to get a contractor to do it. It also means that the club has a jetty that is still in good condition today some 18 years later.
While it wasn’t really renovations to the building, a burst water main outside in the shed in Wendouree Parade caused considerable practical and financial difficulty. Because the main was located over towards the opposite side of Wendouree parade, the club “owned” the pipe to the main and consequently were responsible for the repair. The repair of this cost the club $4000 which we could ill afford. Never the less, it was replaced all the way to the main in the middle of Wendouree Parade hopefully preventing any more leaks or expensive repairs in the furture.
Two submissions went to Council with a view to repainting the complete upstairs of the shed externally and renovating the shower/toilet facilities internally. Many other minor works have also been completed-the fitting of a coded lock on the doors, concreting in the new water meter and scraping down the north side of the shed in preparation for paint.
Rachel Taylor (graduate of our Talent Identification Program in 1990) was inducted into the Ballarat Sporting Hall of Fame at a dinner at the Balanada Room in June this year. Tim Wise and Belinda Bilney announced their engagement after returning from their brief holiday in Europe in August.