The Annual Report concluded this year with secretary Kate Elliott writing:
“I’m on the count down for our 150th Anniversary which is only eight years away-the same length of time that the drought took rowing away from us. While the eight years of drought seemed endless while we were going through it, looking back, eight years went by very quickly. So if we start planning now, we should be ready for what is a very significant milestone-one that very few organisations reach. Just getting there is, in itself, a wonderful achievement and it is all due to the work of those rowers over the years who have been proud to call themselves Ballarat City rowers.”
Little did she know back then that the path to the 150th Anniversary would be anything but smooth and despite early preparations, several factors, including but limited to COVID 19, contributed to the celebration very different to the one she envisioned in 2012.
Our greatest achievement this year was to see members back on the Lake and racing! At the Victorian Master’s Regatta in May and the Australian Master’s Regatta a week later we saw Wayne Lyle, Norman Young, Tim Wise and Jordan O’Keefe represent the club with distinction after an eight year hiatus. Ron Young and Barry Wright also represented the club at these regattas as BROs and earned their five year service certificates. Lake Wendouree was finally back to its glorious best despite the dredging still not being completed and the buoying only just being completed in time for the regattas. Maggie Marriott and the team at Buoyage Systems completed the task under very difficult circumstances!
It was fitting that the first club member to win a race was Jordan O’Keefe winning in a composite Men’s Open 4 at Henley on Maribynong. It was a welcome return to regattas and racing on Lake Wendouree when we cheered Norman Young and Wayne Lyle on to silver at the Victorian Masters Regatta in the Men’s E double scull.The Victorian Masters was quickly followed by the Australian Masters where the club was well represented by Jordan O’Keefe, Silver medal in Mixed B eight, Norman Young and Wayne Lyle made the final Men’s E double scull and Tim Wise won bronze competing in men’s C eight and made the final Men’s D eight. Barry Wright and Ron Young who volunteered many hours to work in atrocious weather to ensure that the regatta ran smoothly. Both regattas saw large numbers of competitors return to the Lake and the foreshore looked like the days of old with tents and boats and boat trailers spread out between the finish and St. Patrick’s Point. While not everyone was ready to race, most members and many former members made their way up to watch some of the racing.
It has been very difficult re-establishing the club. Unfortunately there was no funding or assistance forthcoming from Rowing Victoria although Wendouree/Ballarat received $15,000 to re-establish their rowing program. Members are still getting back to training and we have seen some more old members join and some new school age members from Ballarat Clarendon College.
Belinda Bilney undertook the task of updating all our online information in ROMS and emailed a Winter Newsletter out to members to update them on progress around the club. She also organised and ran two very successful Learn To Row programs over summer. Through these we have picked up some enthusiastic new members who even seem to not mind using the ergos when it is too rough to go out. Belinda has also organised and run successful ergo sessions and put up training programs to assist with keeping members engaged, active and training effectively. Jordan O’Keefe has also taken on responsibility for coaching a men’s squad mainly of school age rowers from Ballarat Clarendon College. About 4 members joined the club and have been training regularly during winter. Kate Elliott has continued working with the Monday Morning ladies who have trained regularly and are looking forward to warmer weather when they can re-launch onto the Lake.
The only addition to the fleet this year was a second hand double scull purchased from Melbourne University. The motor boat has also been overhauled and is running again but probably needs to be replaced as the cost of doing it up completely would be prohibitive. Barry Lyle who also refurbished the speedboat launch system.
Lake Physio have had reverse cycle air conditioning installed to make heating and cooling of the hall more efficient. They also contributed $2000 towards the installation of insulation in the roof.
“So by Christmas time we should be sporting a new roof that will take us through the next 100 years.” (excerpt from Annual Report 2010-11) The replacement of the roof did not go as smoothly as anticipated! We’d obtained a loan, paid out half the contract amount and then……….. we waited and waited and waited. We didn’t anticipate that with delays and hold ups it would take another six months for the work to be done. The difficulty of obtaining scaffolding and the delays while we obtained an engineer’s report, kept the project on hold. Then finally the scaffolder was free and in a little over a week we got the new roof. While the scaffold was up we also contracted Jim Hems to repaint the entire upstairs except for the fire escape side and the windows on the Wendouree Parade side. The painters will return and finish the painting when the weather fines up. Jim and his team did a fantastic job and the shed looks great.
The biggest hold-up was having to obtain an engineer’s report on the ability of the structure to support the scaffold required to do the roof. This was required by Worksafe and when the report came back it would have cost the club thousands of dollars more to reinforce the structure as they required. So the decision was made to just scaffold the places we could and work off the roof with handrail. This meant that some areas of spouting and fascia could not be replaced but all the most necessary work was completed. Thanks to Wayne and Barry Lyle who attached the steel beams that were required on the side walk way and made sure it complied without costing the club thousands of dollars more! This is a summary of the work done: all extraneous flues, pipes and the flag pole removed; safety mesh installed; special higher rating, insulation installed; all zincalume sheeting replaced over north side of hall and entire front section; spouting and fascia replaced to all accessible areas; side walk way reinforced to take scaffold-the total cost of the re-roofing was just under $30,000.
While the scaffold was in place we obtained a quote from Jim Hems for painting the shed. He and his team did a great job of scrapping back, sanding and painting the shed. He also completed a fair amount of the front and has allowed us to pay this off given our large outlay of funds in a short space of time. The total cost of repainting was just under $14,000.A Working Bee was held in January to clean up the inside of the shed. Several people worked really hard to clean and dust down walls, sweep and throw out accumulated rubbish. Jean Chew and Julie Slade of the Monday morning ladies cleaned out lots of rubbish and took a ute load to the tip.The final task on the maintenance list was to see to the repair of the balcony. Jacks were going to be placed under the balcony to lift it up on the day of the January Working Bee but the weather was wet and cold and the wet, slippery jetty was not a safe place to be working. So it is hoped to see that work done and completed this season.
Sadly our Life member and trustee Alby McGuire passed away in December 27th 2011. Alby contributed to the club over 65 years as committee member, vice-president, coach and rower. He was the first BCRC rower to win at Henley Regatta with Frank Beattie in the pair. They won in 1948 and it would be another 40 years before the club could again win at Henley. He could always be seen in his overalls tackling some repair or other around the shed. The carpet on the stairs in 2012 came from Alby’s lounge room and was expertly laid on the stairs by him. He and Bob Angow replaced the whole floor in the hall pretty much by themselves. Many boat repairs and building repair jobs were done by Albie. Even when he retired and could no longer get up to the shed or Annual meetings, he always was interested in how the club was going. Usually every year, just before Christmas, he would ring Secretary Kate Elliott and get a run down on the activities of the club. He would be sadly missed.
The new roof at last!