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Rowing Victoria

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Rowing in a young Victoria
  3. Formation of the Association
  4. Growth of the Sport 1876-1889
  5. Years of great success 1890-1899
  6. The rise of Henley on the Yarra 1900-1909
  7. The War Years 1910-1919
  8. Women's rowing and the modern era 1920-1929
  9. The Depression years 1930-1939
  10. War and rebuilding 1940-1949
  11. Expansion years 1950-1959
  12. The search for international success 1960-1969
  13. Combining the Associations and lightweight success 1970-1979
  14. The new national program 1980-1989
  15. Golden years 1990-1999
  16. Professionalism 2000-2009
  17. Yet More Growth 2010-2019


  1. Life Membership and other important awards
  2. Patrons and Presidents
  3. Office Bearers
  4. Clubs and their histories
  5. The Oarsmen's Centotaph and WWI Roll of Honour
  6. WWII Roll of Honour
  7. Premierships
  8. State Championships
  9. Hall of Fame Inductees
  10. Victorian Olympians
  11. International representation
  12. Intercolonial and Interstate Racing
  13. School rowing
  14. University rowing
  15. Personalities of the sport

15. Personalities of the sport

Surname I

Those appearing below are:

  1. Prof Martin Irving, MUBC
  2. Alastair Isherwood, Mercantile

Prof Martin Irving

Melbourne University Boat Club

1863 - Intercolonial Men’s Four Championship three seat – Second

Prof Martin Irving

Professor Irving was a champion rower in the UK where he was born. In 1851 he was a member of the Balliol Eight Head of the River. In 1852 he won the University sculls and narrowly missed out on winning the Diamond Sculls at Henley Royal Regatta.

He arrived in Australia in 1856 at the age of 25. He was a fine scholar and joined a university only three years old. He was the professor of Classical and Comparative Philology and Logic at Melbourne University from 1851 to 1871. In 1871 he became headmaster of Wesley College. In 1876 he acquired Hawthorn Grammar School which flourished under his care. He left Australia in 1900.

In Australia he was also a good oar, rowing in the first amateur race of a true intercolonial character between crews from Victoria and New South Wales.

He was amongst the first to promote amateur rowing in Victoria and was the founder of Melbourne University Boat Club on 3rd Sep 1859, the oldest of Australian rowing clubs still in existence. The Professor was president of that club for some thirty-one years and also stroked the crew that raced and won against a crew from Melbourne banks in September 1859. He maintained his strong connection with his club until he left Australia in 1900 and maintained that interest until his death in 1912.
He was also prominent in founding the Melbourne Regatta in 1860, the first amateur rowing club regatta in Australia which in turn led to the foundation of the oldest rowing association in the world in the Victorian Rowing Association in 1870.

Many rowing commentators, including fellow MUBC member and rowing historian John Lang, regarded Irving as the father of amateur rowing in Australia.

Andrew Guerin 2010

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Alastair Isherwood

Banks Rowing Club and Melbourne University Boat Club
1994 – Interstate Men’s Youth Eight Championship stroke – First
1994 – Trans Tasman Lightweight Four Stroke – Second
1995 – Trans Tasman Lightweight Pair Bow - First
1997 – World Cup II & III  - Men's Lightweight Eight Three seat – Gold
1997 – World Cup III - Men's Lightweight Eight Three seat - Gold
1997 – World Championships – Men’s Lightweight Eight Four seat – Gold 
1998 – World Cup II - Men's Lightweight Pair Stroke seat – Second
1998 – World Cup III - Men's Lightweight Pair Stroke seat – Gold
1998 - World Championships – Men’s Lightweight Pair stroke – Fifth 
2001 – Interstate Men’s Lightweight Four Championship three seat – Third 
2001 – World Championships – Men’s Lightweight Pair stroke – Ninth 
2001 – World Championships – Men’s Lightweight Eight three seat – Sixth 
2002 – Interstate Men’s Lightweight Four Championship stroke – Fourth

1997 World Champion Australian Lightweight Eight

Al has followed his successful rowing career with a professional coaching career at school, club, National and International levels. As Head Coach he guided Mercantile to the number 1 club in Australia at the 2011 Nationals and has coached multiple National title winning crews.  He is a superb coach and his best coaching is yet to come.

Andrew Guerin 2013

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<back to Victorian Rowing Hall of Fame Index

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