2009 History of Ballarat Regatta completed

Water returned over winter but for the fourth year in succession there was insufficient to row or train at all. It was like being in suspended animation. We wanted to row but without enough water we were still unable to operate. The thought of training on ergos no longer had any appeal at all. Because everyone worked full time, it just wasn’t practical to pack up every weekend and go and train somewhere, as most of the schools did during the rowing season. We did receive an offer from the Captain of Barwon Rowing Club to perhaps store one or two boats down in Geelong in 2009 and we hoped that might still happen. The “girls” of the club managed two eventful rows, one at Essendon and one at Footscray with many thanks to Colin Angow, who made the Essendon trip happen and Jordan O’Keefe who made the Footscray trip happen by arranging sufficient rowers and towing the trailer up and back. The new quad purchased last year finally hit the water at Essendon and proved to be an excellent purchase and a very nice boat to row in.

Australia Day was the quietest for many years with just a few members and their families availing themselves of the jetty to view the fireworks. Sadly without water to reflect the light there seems little point in having the display at the Lake.

Kate Elliott completed the Ballarat Regatta project and her book on the history of the regatta was launched on October 25th. After three years of research and acquiring material such as old programs and newspaper reports and a lot of writing and formatting it was the complete history of Ballarat’s premier regatta from the first Ballarat and District Regatta held at Burrumbeet in 1862 until 2002 when the water level in Lake Wendouree began to get too low to hold this iconic regatta. Acquittal for the project has been completed and thanks go to everyone who assisted in any way with the project. Special mention should be made of the assistance given by John Morcom, who was regatta secretary for nearly 25 years and Vic Gingell who gave access to the Ballarat Regatta Register and the perpetual trophies for the regatta that are stored in the Wendouree/ Ballarat boatshed. Both these were invaluable resources that added greatly to the research.

Ballarat and Clarendon College continued to store their boat trailer in our third bay as it was more accessible than their shed. Their financial contribution to the club was invaluable during the drought and assisted us in meeting our running costs.

Work continued on the boatshed and we decided to tackle replacing the roof which had been badly damaged in a hailstorm some years before. We did apply for a Council Community Grant for assistance with re-roofing the front half of the boatshed however we were unsuccessful in obtaining any level of assistance. It was decide that the front section of roof could no longer be patched and repaired so it was decided to have this section replaced by Watershed Commercial Roofing at a cost of approximately $17,000.00. While this will be a huge drain on our financial reserves it was critical that this be done before any water damage occurred. Also the barge board on the gable end of the shed parted company on a day of extreme wind. Despite representations to Council we will have to cover the repair of this damage ourselves also. Equally concerning was the state of the balcony which also looked like parting company with the main building. With many thanks to Wayne and Barry Lyle it has now been stabilized but will need further intervention to totally secure and renovate it.

Sunset over the swamp 2009. You can just see the flag on View Point and the jetty in the foreground.

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