EDWARD (TEDDY) JONES Ballarat City Rowing Club-Life Member, Vice-President, Committee member, BRA delegate, BCRC Selection Committee, coach, coxswain extraordinaire for over 40 years.
Teddy Jones was a member of Ballarat City Rowing Club for 45 years in total. He started in 1919 just after World War 1 and his diminutive size meant that right from the beginning he was put into the coxswain’s seat. He quickly made his mark and the club President Lt.Col. A. W. Bennett remarked in his report in 1920 that:- “….there is no more enthusiastic cox on the lake than Teddy Jones.” During the 1920’s he also fought as an amateur bantam weight boxer in Ballarat although from my research, was not as successful in boxing as he was in coxing!
During the 1920’s and 1930’s Teddy coxed many winning club crews. In the 1940’s and 50’s he was coaching and coxing and usually took charge of the club’s Maiden and Novice eights. At this time the clubs on Lake Wendouree did not have motor boats and so coaches would have to ride around the Lake on push bikes yelling instructions from a megaphone. It would have been very useful to be both cox and coach in the boat. Obviously Teddy had a lot of experience and was always keen to teach new members the ropes. He was also in demand by many other Victorian club’s to steer at regattas. He steered many other clubs in Championship races. In fact he steered so many races to victory that he lost count.
In 1932 he was elected to the committee and he along with all the other members celebrated the amazing feat of finally building a new boatshed after some 40 years of saving and planning. The fact that the club achieved this during the Depression is testament to their hard work and dedication. During this time Teddy was somewhat notorious for riding an Indian motorbike and it was usually parked in front of the boatshed on a Sunday morning when members would clean up the shed after the Saturday night dances. During World War 11 the club was in caretaker mode from 1942 to 1946 and Teddy would have been among the stalwart older members who kept the club going.
In 1946 he coxed the club to win at Henley Regatta with the crew of Laurie Sedgwick, Dave McCallum, Hobson and Orm O’Neill to a win in the Ladies Challenge Four’s. He was now coxing and coaching and also helping out with repairs and maintenance on boats and the boatshed being a regular attendee at working bees. He was also elected as a Vice President in 1946 and served the club in this capacity until 1962. In 1950 when the boatshed burnt down he was one of the members who stayed with the club and saw it rebuilt in 1956.
In those 16 or so years as Vice-president, he rarely missed a committee meeting with only the President or Captain equalling his yearly attendance. In 1954 when there were 19 committee meetings for the year, Teddy was in attendance at every single one! In 1950 when the boatshed burnt down, he was one of the members who stayed with the club and saw it rebuilt in 1956.
In 1952, after 30 years of steering the club to victories, Teddy was made a Life Member. It was a well-deserved honour for such a hard working member. In 1954 he was cox of the club’s most successful eight, a lightweight eight that won at the VRA and Henley Regattas.In 1956 when the club hosted the rowing team from the USA for the Olympic Games in the new shed, the club loaned them a racing four to train in and Teddy steered them in training. In 1958 he was selected as the cox for the Victorian Lightweight four for the inaugural Penrith Cup for the Australian Interstate Championships. The crew won and Teddy, or as they knew him “Eddie” became possibly the oldest coxswain to steer a crew to victory at any Australian Championships. He also steered the Penrith Cup crew the following year when they finished fourth. Teddy coxed at the club from 1919 until about 1961 which in itself is a remarkable effort. There is a picture of the crew with Teddy in it on the Australian Rowing History website for the 1958 Interstate Championships.
In the 1962 Annual Report it was the first time that Teddy was not listed as assisting with coxing and he only attended 9 of the 16 committee meetings for the year. The last meeting he attended at the club was the Annual General Meeting of 1964. He passed away not long afterward. He was a small man but he made a huge contribution to both Ballarat City Rowing Club and rowing in Victoria.
In 1964 legendary club member Teddy Jones died. From the young boy in the early 1920’s who was the most enthusiastic cox on the Lake, to the coach and cox who steered for Victoria, guiding the first Penrith Cup crew to success, he had given a lifetime of service to rowing and the club. Again there would be no replacing him-he was one of a kind.