At the Annual Meeting in October 2017 two events occurred that were both devastating to the people involved and marked a critical change in the administration of the club. It would have the greatest impact on the club during 2018.The first was that President Danny Elliott was not re-elected as President. After 17 years in the role, 20 years as captain/coach and a total of 45 years on the committee, the newer members saw fit to deprive him of the opportunity to continue to lead the club to its 150th celebration and also the chance to become the longest serving President in the club’s history. All the older members’ votes were for the status quo but the members of one or two year’s standing plus the garnered proxy votes of members who didn’t even attend the meeting, meant that Danny was ousted. This had the immediate effect of the Secretary Kate Elliott withdrawing her nomination for the position, on moral and ethical grounds. Sue Peacock being the other nominee was elected. So the partnership that had served the club so well since 1974 were ruthlessly and summarily removed from any role at all in running the club. The administration of the club was now almost totally in the hands of people who were new to the club. It was a devastating blow on so many levels. The second change was to the time honoured constitution of the club by adopting a new rules which included changing the structure and function of the committee. A more salient solution that would have retained our individuality and historic context would have been to develop sub clauses added to the existing rules that could be easily altered as the club changed. But once again, any input by older members was completely ignored and the wholesale changes steamrollered through.
The committee held a Strategic planning morning setting goals for the season and longer term. The main goals were increased participation at regattas, increased membership and rather importantly to boat all these members, further boat acquisitions.. The gym area was re-painted and once again upgrading the toilets for women was on the agenda and once again it didn’t get any further than the agenda. It was a year of writing policies, not all of them well-received. Brad Jessup and Sue peacock were our Member protection Officers. As the club grew so did the number of formal and informal complaints received also grew. An Adult Learn to Row was held this year and 12 particpants enjoyed their 5 week program in the depths of winter. A Winter Sweep Academy was held after the Head of the Lake with two sessions a week until the end of Term 2. Forty participant registered initially with some participants keen to keep going and row over winter.
Geoff Hereen, Danielle Foley’s dad, made new honour boards for downstairs which started listing the office bearers of the club. Annette Weir, in the newly created position of Boat Captain, was responsible for throwing out a lot of older spare parts, tools and workbench and purchasing new ones. She was also responsible for repairing damage to boats. Because there were a lot of new beginner rowers who did not know how to handle boats safely and carefully there was a lot of damage to repair.
At the Annual Dinner held again at the Ballarat Golf Club, The Danny Elliott Trophy for the Most Successful Rower went to Kathy Lloyd, the Norm Angow Club person of the Year went to Sharon Waters, The Kate Elliott Trophy for the Most Successful Junior went to Lily Kittelty and a new trophy for the Most Improved Novice went to Anthea Pinson.
The on water, rowing activities were capably overseen by Captain, Kathy Lloyd, who had returned to the club after a 15 year absence, and followed the tried and tested Ballarat City formula of training hard and leading by example. After all, it was our on water activities that really mattered. This season we saw 42 rowers winning 30 out of 84 events entered compared to last year when 31 rowers enter 114 events with 21 wins. Although we had more rowers than last year, there were less entries but more wins. At the Victorian State Championships held on Lake Wendouree the club won two gold medals in Female C 8 and the Female D double sculls; two silver medals Men’s C 4 and Female D scull and a bronze medal in the Female C pair. At Masters State Championships in Nagambie we won one gold medal with Kathy Lloyd and Belinda Bilney rowing composite with Lisa Letic and Marie Cecile Lacoste of Albert Park in Female C quad and silver in the Female D quad. Kathy and Belinda won bronze in the Female D double scull and Kathy a bronze in the Female D scull.
At the Masters National Championships on Lake Barrington Kathy again won a silver in the Female D scull and a bronze medal in a composite Female C 8+. The season started out with a very successful Bendigo sprint regatta winning nine out of 18 events entered with 20 club members competing. Unfortunately, this attendance did not continue at the following regattas. There was a small, but strong contingent of female rowers attending quite a few regattas including the Nestle/Hamilton event, Victorian State Titles, Geelong Masters and Australian National Masters Championships. Our men attended regattas with the women at Ballarat, Wendouree/Ballarat, Colac and Henley on the Maribyrnong. Eight Ballarat City rowers and one cox attended the Australian Masters Championships on Lake Barrington in Tasmania in May. Kath Mills, Sue Peacock, Anthea Pinson, Sharon Waters, Meg Merrylees, Kathy Lloyd, Peta Clarke (first regatta back for many seasons) and Danielle Foley made the trip while Erin Dexter also made her racing debut as a cox. This was a very large regatta and we returned with a silver and bronze medal under wet, cold and windy conditions. Danny and Kate Elliott are also running learn to row and sculling programs for junior rowers on a Sunday. This season saw one of these crews with a senior rower on board take out the Novice quad sculls at Bendigo Regatta.