As the rowing season 2021- 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the first women’s club in Ballarat and also significantly, the first women’s regatta held on Lake Wendouree in January 1972, it seemed an appropriate time to research further into the Begonia City Ladies Rowing Club history, particularly their struggles to establish the first women’sContinue reading “CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF WOMEN’S ROWING IN BALLARAT”

Their name liveth forevermore.

Ballarat City Rowing Club HONOUR ROLL January 1919 When researching for members who served in World War 1, I discovered an article describing the dedication of the club’s first honour board. It was unveiled at the boatshed on Saturday the 18th of January 1919 by Lt. Colonel Alfred Wilton Bennett who was again elected PresidentContinue reading “Their name liveth forevermore.”

Jack Inglis Blaikie

Jack Inglis Blaikie was born in Ballarat in 1893. His parents were Robert Laidlaw Blaikie and Annie Blaikie (maiden name Brown). He is recorded as having attended Ballarat Junior Technical School which is now Dana Street Primary School. He probably attended from about 1900 until about 1908. From about 1902 when he was approximately 8Continue reading “Jack Inglis Blaikie”

Arthur Treve Marsh

Arthur Treve Marsh was born in 1892 the son of John and Sarah Marsh of Armstrong Street, Ballarat. His father John was the Captain of the Ballarat Fire Brigade for many years and would have worked alongside Harry Bunce who was also a stalwart member of Ballarat City Rowing Club and later the President. HisContinue reading “Arthur Treve Marsh”

Rasmus Robinson Hansen

Rasmus (Ras) was born in 1889 in Clifton Hill. He was the eldest son of Christian and Sarah Hansen. His grandfather was also Rasmus Hansen who came to Australia from Denmark in 1859. His grandfather died in 1909. He was a well-known pioneer of Bendigo. Rasmus completed his education at St.Mary’s College Bendigo winning anContinue reading “Rasmus Robinson Hansen”

Ernest Davey Morshead

One of the first members of the Ballarat City Rowing Club to pay the supreme sacrifice was Ernest Morshead. He joined the club as a schoolboy in 1912 and raced with success for two years. He enlisted in July 1915 and was killed at the Battle of Fromelles in July 1916. He was just 23.Continue reading “Ernest Davey Morshead”

Albie (Albion) McGuire

Albie McGuire was a life member and club stalwart in the true meaning of the work. Albie was a great rower and a terrific handy man, with great carpentry skills. He turned his hand at almost any job from repairing boats to maintaining the shed. When he and Bob Angow were in their late 60’sContinue reading “Albie (Albion) McGuire”


Ballarat City Rowing Club, Ballarat Regatta Association 1889-1895-Captain 1904-05 Vice-president 1908-1909 Vice-president 1910-1915 President 1918-1922 President 1923 Racing pair christened Col.A.W.Bennett Alfred Wilton Bennett was born in 1866. He married Elizabeth Bentley, whose father owned Craig’s Hotel, in 1887. He and his wife lived in Neil Street, Ballarat. He ran the family jewellery business startedContinue reading “Lieutenant Colonel ALFRED WILTON BENNETT V.D.”

Lieutenant William Arthur Holtham

For Remembrance Day today, I thought this would be a fitting post. LEST WE FORGET. Lieutenant WILLIAM (Billy) ARTHUR HOLTHAM– Ballarat City Rowing Club, Hawthorn Rowing Club 1913 Ballarat City Rowing Club and Ballarat Agricultural High School 1913 Henley Regatta, Bow: W. Holtham, 2. J.Cross, 3. P. Cross and stroke C. Manners, cox W. GribbleContinue reading “Lieutenant William Arthur Holtham”

Alan Robertson Scott

This story starts about 10 years ago when Lake Wendouree was completely dried up. I never imagined a time when I would be able to walk across the area that I had so frequently rowed over. It was a surreal experience. From 2006 the water levels started receding and we did not get adequate winterContinue reading “Alan Robertson Scott”

Leslie James Hobson

Leslie (Les) was the son of Edward Ebenezer Hobson and Elizabeth Hobson. His father was a well-respected painter and paperhanger and ran E.E.Hobson’s in Doveton Street, Ballarat. His father was killed tragically in a buggy accident in July 1913 when Leslie would have been would have been 16 or 17. He was well educated andContinue reading “Leslie James Hobson”


I have been updating the profiles of members who died in World War 1 and are listed on the club honor board. Robert Haniford Commons is the most recent update and I hope to add further information about his father Fredrick William Commons, his brothers Fredrick William Commons who was known as William and RichardContinue reading “ROBERT HANIFORD COMMONS”


Just recently I was fortunate enough to again make contact with the descendants of one Ballarat City’s earliest champions, Arthur Gibbs. His great, great granddaughter Bronwyn Fisher purchased a copy of “Boys from the Rush Beds-The History of Ballarat City Rowing Club” for her brother. She mentioned in passing, that her grandmother had had aContinue reading “THE REMARKABLE ARTHUR GIBB”

Teddy Jones-a lifetime of coxing.

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 fromContinue reading “Teddy Jones-a lifetime of coxing.”


A couple of weeks ago I was very excited to meet with the great grand-daughter of Alfred McLaren. She had been researching family history and found a copy of my book “Boys From the Rush Beds-The History of Ballarat City Rowing Club 1870-2004” and discovered my research about her great grandfather and also her greatContinue reading “JWR PRINGLE and ALF McLAREN”

Return to the blog!

I have taken an extended break from posting after the epic feat of covering 150 years of club history in 150 days! I didn’t think when I started that it would be simultaneously very challenging and extremely rewarding. I promised myself that I would revisit some posts as some years there was so much extraContinue reading “Return to the blog!”

2020 The ultimate post

As it is still 2020, I am not going to cover the year’s activities and the impact of COVID19 until the year is over. Clear perspective is often not gained until well after the event. Instead I am going to look at how things have changed over the 50 years or so we have beenContinue reading “2020 The ultimate post”

2018 Year of change

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 inContinue reading “2018 Year of change”


While this season was not as successful as last on the water the club never the less managed to record 19 wins for the year. After 17 years as treasurer Norm Young retired. He had been quiet achiever who managed to keep us afloat during the drought when we had no water and no membersContinue reading “2017”

2012 Racing again!

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, eightContinue reading “2012 Racing again!”

2011 The slow return

Committee 2010-2011 President: Danny Elliott, Secretary: Kate Elliott, Treasurer: Norm Young, Captain of Boats: Ron Young, Committee: Tim Wise, Belinda Bilney,Wayne Lyle, Barry Lyle, Rower: Jordan O’Keefe, Trustee: Mr. Albie McGuire. These were the people who kept the club going during the six long years of drought. They were there at the beginning and theyContinue reading “2011 The slow return”

2010 Hope at last.

“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 runningContinue reading “2010 Hope at last.”

2006 The long drought.

“Our Lake is to Ballarat what our beautiful Harbour is to Sydney. It is our pride and joy and our principal source of recreation. Nothing could compensate us for the loss of that oasis in the desert in the absence of which all the surrounding mansions, villas and smiling lawns and gardens would soon presentContinue reading “2006 The long drought.”

2004 In memory of Alan Dixon

No water, no rowing, no wins but the club soldiered on!  The Annual Report opened with “ It is with regret that I report this season was characterised by an almost complete lack of that very activity to which we owe our existence-ROWING!” The committee this year were Danny Elliott ,President; Kate Elliott, Secretary; NormContinue reading “2004 In memory of Alan Dixon”

2003 Master’s dominate

The low level of water in the lake in the second half of the season also meant many regattas were cancelled or the venue changed. It was the beginning of the “big dry” that would impact our activities for the next nine years. Consequently the Masters National Championships were moved from Ballarat to Nagambie. ThisContinue reading “2003 Master’s dominate”

2002 World Master’s Games

This season saw a marked increase in memberships, the majority being in the Masters category. It was great to see these members becoming involved not only in the sport but in the administration and maintenance of the club as well. The highlight of the season was having twenty Mater’s rowers from the club compete inContinue reading “2002 World Master’s Games”

2001 A rowing Odyssey

The committee this year was Danny Elliott, President; Kate Elliott and Belinda Bilney were co-secretaries; Norm Young ,Treasurer and Tim Wise ,Captain. Racing was strong this year particularly in Master’s events. This year our International Master’s Champions attended the FISA World Master’s Regatta in Montreal, Canada. Having conquered Europe they now headed to the CanadianContinue reading “2001 A rowing Odyssey”

2000 Sydney Olympic silver

The highlight for rowing in Australia was the holding of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. Past and present members of the club were very proud and delighted to see Rachel Taylor achieve her sporting dream winning a silver medal in the Women’s coxless pairs with partner Kate Slatter. Rachel was originally introduced to rowingContinue reading “2000 Sydney Olympic silver”

1997 Rise of the Masters

This season will be remembered as the Masters era of rowing, with the return of several former members now keen to participate in the growing area of Master’s rowing. Two of these “born again” rowers who would have a great impact on the club over the next five years were Norm and Ron Young. AlsoContinue reading “1997 Rise of the Masters”

1994 AIS and VIS scholarships

The club again posted an excellent season with a total of 65 wins. Of these there were a record 8 Victorian Championships and Ballarat City was represented in four Australian Championships wins. Rachel Taylor, a graduate of the clubs’ first Talent Identification Program was awarded a scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport. She racedContinue reading “1994 AIS and VIS scholarships”

1993 In memory of Otto Hauser

Amazingly Ballarat City posted another incredible season winning 70 races, including 5 Victorian Championships and 1 Australian Championship. With just eight men competing the club finished second on the men’s Champion Club Premiership with Corio Bay Rowing Club the premiers. We also placed third on the men’s Senior Premiership winning more Senior races this seasonContinue reading “1993 In memory of Otto Hauser”

1992 Two Australian Championships and Prime Ministerial Award

Ballarat City continued to forge ahead hosting Australia’s only regional Talent Identification Program. On a meagre budget (compared to programs in other states) but with extreme dedication and enthusiasm the program exceeded all expectations in its first year. The 14 recruits went from total non -rowers to seasoned competitors in ten months. Four participants leftContinue reading “1992 Two Australian Championships and Prime Ministerial Award”

1991 World Championships Vienna. Talent Id Program

With the World Championships at Barrington in November 1990, no sooner had they concluded than selection trials for the 1991 World Championships in Vienna commenced. Again committing an incredible amount of time, effort, energy and travel to various regattas Tim Wise again earned selection in a Lightweight double scull with Sam Golding as his partner.Continue reading “1991 World Championships Vienna. Talent Id Program”

1988 First Australian rep.

Ballarat City was once again “to the fore” in rowing activities finishing this season with the third National Championship win in three years. James McKee won the Champion Senior B Sculls of Australia taking our tally to four Australian Championships .The outstanding success of the club last season really galvanised the metropolitan clubs into actionContinue reading “1988 First Australian rep.”

1987 Achieving the dream!

3 Premierships, 3 Victorian Championships, 1 Australian Championship, 94 wins Unless you were there, you cannot begin to imagine what a year 1987 was. The season started in October 1986 and both the men and women of the club were poised to take on the rowing world not individually but as a club. None ofContinue reading “1987 Achieving the dream!”

1984 First Victorian rep

1 Victorian State sculler-2 VRA Women’s Premierships-3 Victorian Championships Last year we had many close second placings and if our crews had been able to convert them we would have had closer to forty wins. Captain Danny Elliott could see that crews just needed a bit more coaching, ironing out the minor faults that wouldContinue reading “1984 First Victorian rep”

1983 The Stars align

Several factors started the club on its upward trajectory this year. Colin Angow was elected President at the Annual Meeting in September 1982 and would lead the club for nearly 20 years. Having been a cox, rower, committee member and having lots of practical workshop skills he was an ideal President. He knew what wasContinue reading “1983 The Stars align”

1982 The Dynamic duo

Graeme Angow was President this year which would be his final year. At the end of 1982 at the annual Meeting, Colin Angow would take on the role for the 1982-83 season, a role he would fill for 18 years in in so doing would become our longest serving President. Kate Elliott was again secretary,Continue reading “1982 The Dynamic duo”

1979 Amalgamation. First Victorian sweep-oared Championship and 23 wins

This season saw the club record the highest number of wins ever with twenty-three in total. Danny Elliott also won the club’s first Victorian Championship in a sweep-oared boat winning the Lightweight Coxless pairs on the lake in a composite crew with Terry Poole of Corio Bay. Danny Elliott scored another eleven wins in LightweightContinue reading “1979 Amalgamation. First Victorian sweep-oared Championship and 23 wins”

1978 Quality not quantity

Mr. Alf Quick took on the role as president and Ralph Murphy was the secretary. There were only five committee meetings held this year well down on the sixteen or so that were usually held. The Annual Report was rather brief this year. Secretary Ralph Murphy was also doing the hall bookings and was heavilyContinue reading “1978 Quality not quantity”

1977 sculling success!

Life member Mr. Bob Angow took on the role of president this year with Rob McGuire, secretary and Alf Quick, treasurer. Rob McGuire resigned as secretary in October 1976 and Ralph Murphy took on the role. The Captain was Danny Elliott and the Begonia City Ladies’ captain was Tracey Kriz with Kate Wise continuing asContinue reading “1977 sculling success!”

1976 The sculling era begins

The president for this season was Graeme Angow with secretary Rob McGuire and treasurer Alf Quick. Daryl Calvert was elected captain with Paul Gursanscky, vice-captain. Note was made in the annual report that the lack of an active Captain severely affected operations of the club. Unfortunately the elected captain Daryl Calvert was unable to putContinue reading “1976 The sculling era begins”

1975 100th Annual Report

The 100th Annual meeting was held on September 2nd 1975.The trophies presented were Most Improved Novice-Jim Burzacott, Most Successful Oarsman-Ron Taylor and Clubman of the Year-Danny Elliott. Graeme Angow was returned as president this season and Rob McGuire continued, as secretary. Mr. Alf Quick became treasurer after Mr. Bob Lawrie retired serving over twenty-five yearsContinue reading “1975 100th Annual Report”

1974 The adventure begins

The Annual Report this year was a combined one presented to the members of Ballarat City and Begonia City at the AGM in September. Ralph Murphy was returned as president this season and Rob McGuire continued, as secretary. Mr. Bob Lawrie entered his twenty-fifth year as treasurer. Bill Davies became Captain and Danny Elliott wasContinue reading “1974 The adventure begins”

1973 Novice influx

This year’s Annual General meeting was a combined effort of the men’s and women’s clubs. The Annual report contains the two separate reports even though essentially we were one club using the same boats, same coaches and same boatshed! Ralph Murphy was elected President this year after serving as secretary and Rob McGuire was electedContinue reading “1973 Novice influx”

1971 After 100 years -what next?

The Centenary Season 1970-1971 was another “watershed” in the club’s history, not only for achieving its one hundredth birthday but also it was pivotal in terms of how the club would progress into the future. The feeling of ambivalence is best summed up in the Annual report: “The past season has seen the club achieveContinue reading “1971 After 100 years -what next?”

1970 Centenary

The highlight of this season was the hosting of the King’s Cup and National Regatta on Lake Wendouree. The Annual report stated: ” We are indeed fortunate in having as our home water the best 2000 metre course in Australia and full credit must be given to the Ballarat City Council for the interest andContinue reading “1970 Centenary”

1965 Out of the doldrums

The Annual Meeting was held at the boatshed on September 24th 1965 and the 90th Annual Report presented to the club.  Although Alan Dixon was Captain for most of the year at the Annual meeting he was elected to the Secretary’s job after Albert Harden stepped down. Daryl Brown took on the Captains role supportedContinue reading “1965 Out of the doldrums”

1964 Vale Teddy Jones

“I regret I have to think that 1963-64 to my club has been very trying in many ways, but, how happy I am to have been one of the team of loyal members who kept the club afloat,” Frank Findlay wrote in his President’s addendum this year after what had been a tough year allContinue reading “1964 Vale Teddy Jones”

1962 Kings Cup Regatta and first National Regatta held on Lake Wendouree

Mr. Francis E. Findlay continued as president and was also the president of the Ballarat Rowing Association with Mr. Albert Harden the secretary. This meant a busy year for Frank and the club as the King’s Cup Regatta was held on Lake Wendouree in March and the inaugural National Championship were held in April, havingContinue reading “1962 Kings Cup Regatta and first National Regatta held on Lake Wendouree”


After nearly four years back in our own home the club began again to revive its rowing fortunes. Again the catalyst to this resurgence lay with one or two key oarsmen like Alan Dixon and Bob Coutts and coach Mr. Pat Harrison who reinvigorated training. The Lake was a hive of activity this season withContinue reading “1961”

1960 The invincible four

This season proved to be one of the most successful for some time. The club attended 21 regattas over the summer and winter series with 85 crews. The wins were mainly achieved by one crew. The Maiden four of Neville Kerr, Michael Walsh, Alan Dixon and Bob Coutts coached by Pat Harrison started the seasonContinue reading “1960 The invincible four”


Membership was on the increase this year with nearly seventy members. Many of these were novice rowers and this year saw several novice crews start to make their mark. Constable Pat Harrison, who was stationed in Ballarat, joined the club this year as an Honorary member and he started regular winter training with the clubContinue reading “1959”

1958 A very good year!

This year the boatshed was edging nearer to completion. Members had lined and painted the inside of the shed upstairs and down. The outside had been painted upstairs but still had to have the coat of render applied downstairs. Eight long years of long, and a lot of time and energy by a core groupContinue reading “1958 A very good year!”

1957 Are we there yet?

The Annual Report of 1957 opened with: “What a wonderful year for this club and rowing in general the past season was. Firstly, we had here on our Lake the rowing and canoeing events of the XVI Olympiad which proved to be an outstanding success, with Australia represented in every rowing event for the firstContinue reading “1957 Are we there yet?”


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