“For the first time in five long years, I write this report with a positive outlook and with water and activity slowly returning to the Lake and to the club. Thanks to a torrential downpour in September, the State Government stepping in and finally getting a pipeline to pump bore water in and CHW running water in from the Gong Reservoir which needed to be drained, we actually have rowable water again. Unfortunately the perennial weed problem is back with a vengeance but at last, we can again call ourselves a rowing club! How exciting is it to be able to simply open the front door and take a boat out whenever we please.”
This was the opening paragraph of the Annual Report in 2010 and it closed with…….
“Many thanks to those who continued to support and assist the club in these trying times. We are entering our 140th year this year and I would love to see the lake recover so we can build the club again to continue for another ten years and celebrate our 150th anniversary as a rowing club that can actually row.”
In our 140th year, secretary Kate Elliott expressed the relief of all the committee, who had done it tough since 2002 when the lake level started to get critically low. In hindsight, it was an amazing feat of endurance, resilience and persistence to make our way back to being a rowing club. Our sole rower, Jordan O’Keefe was still competing with Footscray Rowing Club but with the return of water to the Lake, started coaching at Ballarat Clarendon College while continnuing to row and train in Melbourne. He also had a successful season attending the Australian Championships for the first time and placing 4th in the Male Open Lightweight Double Scull in a composite crew with G.Fischman of Carrum Rowing Club.
The Council had also decided to deepen the course and the much vaunted dredging started progressing at a snail’s pace. Tenders have been let by Council for weed cutting but as we had learnt through the long drought, nothing happened quickly! The original weed cutter had been removed from the Lake and the contractor Ivan Greenbank had had no work. Unfortunately Ivan and his purpose built weed cutter, built specifically for the Lake, would be overlooked in the tenders and the council would eventually hire three very small and very ineffective weed cutters from Sydney.
Now the club was back in action there are a number of maintenance jobs that needed to be addressed, mainly the refurbishment of the balcony, replacement of the roof by contractors and repair and repainting of walls and doors. Some of this work was completed by working bees but the changes in safety regulations meant that we would have to have a licenced roofer to replace the roof. After much toing and fro-ing Watershed Commercial Roofing were unable or unwilling to fit the replacement of the roof into their schedule and we were forced to seek alternative repairers. The company that did the replacement was Interline.
A Working Bee was held in September when Tim Wise pressured cleaned almost the entire jetty in readiness for oiling it. We also removed all the concrete paving from the balcony, reducing its weight and preparing it for the replacement of bearers and re-decking in timber. Many thanks to the very hard working band who spent the afternoon of the AFL Grandfinal slaving away under extremely dirty and dusty conditions. We also had a Washing Bee and managed to wash 5 years of dust of most of the boats and get them ready for rowing again.
No new equipment was purchased this year. An inventory of current equipment and a priority list of purchases of new boats and oars will have to be made at the first committee meeting. A maintenance schedule for checking all the boats and replacing lost or missing parts will also need to be done.
Lake Physio signed on for another three years and again we were very fortunate to have their support and the income from the sub-lease during this period. Ballarat College again stored their trailer in the boatshed for the school rowing season and continued to pay a rental fee that contributed to the club’s sound financial position.
Life member Bob Lawrie passed away this year. Bob grew up at the club and gave of his time and expertise as treasurer for over 25 years following the fine example of his father Jack, who was a club stalwart during the 1920’s and 30’s.
Pictures of members 1899, 1911, 1924, 1987, 2008.