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Adelaide Rowing Club - The First Hundred Years

A Narrative History 1882-1982 - Compiled by R W Richardson

8. Narrative History of the Adelaide Rowing Club - 1907-1912

Chapter eight page 1 2

Season 1907-08

At the Annual General Meeting, all the usual routine was carried through; His Excellency the Governor Sir George Le Hunte, K.C.M.G. was elected Patron again, his A.D.C. Lieut. A.C. Boddam-Whethem, remembered from his dashing dancing of the Lancers at the last A.R.C. ball, was made an Honorary Member, A. J. Roberts was returned, albeit protesting, as President for one more year, and coaches were appointed in the form of Grayson, Nicholls, (observe the order) Burton, Gosse and Anderson.

But the move that brought into focus the feeling of the members against the autocracy of a Captain's having the only say in choosing crews to represent the Club at regattas, was a change of the Club rules proposed by H. Armstrong and seconded by H.E. Winterbottom, whose rowing career was blighted last season because Blain dropped him from the 8.

In future, by a good majority, the members voted that the selection of crews would be done by the Captain and two other suitable members elected at the Annual General Meeting.

The standard of rowing was still in the doldrums, the Club winning 2 races at the Summer Regatta on the Torrens and 3 races at the Autumn Regatta, which was also called the Junior Regatta. No crew was entered in Champion 8's, and the Junior 4 was entered in Champion 4's at the last minute and managed to keep up for a mile, but folded there.

The Committee tried hard to induce more members to become active rowers by decreeing that "non active" oarsmen should wear black braid on the outside seams of their shorts, but without the desired effect.

H.H. Dutton, who had dropped out of active rowing with Gosse and Grayson and Blyth, accomplished a courageous feat by driving a Talbot motor car across Australia from south to north with one companion. There is a photographic record of his arrival in Alice Springs at the Motor Museum in that city, and the same feat was repeated IN THE SAME CAR sixty years later by R.H. Dutton and J.E. Gosse, sons of the two famous Adelaide Rowing Club members.

The boxing and wrestling classes had lapsed, but swimming had become more popular, and the races at Glenelg Baths, even though the weather was inclement, were well attended and keenly contested, and one D.C. Turner was commended for his work organizing them.

Altogether, not an auspicious season.

Season 1908-09

Another season, another Governor was Patron, this time H.E. Sir Day Hort Bosanquet K.C.V.O. and still the internal cross fire at meetings. This time P.H. Upton ups and makes a motion that the rules regarding selection of crews last year be repealed and that the Captain should be sole selector. Grayson and Winterbottom, the ones who suffered Blain's autocracy one and two years back, spoke against the motion, and the members duly rejected it.

Grayson and Richardson were appointed to be the other two members of the selection committee - fair enough - Captain, Vice Captain and Senior Coach.

A whole lot of new members joined up this season, but strangely enough, the attendances at the Club functions were down. At Opening Day, 200, and it was a fine day. At Closing Day "a moderate attendance" and Mrs. Van Senden named the new practice 8 "Adelaide" and there was music and afternoon tea and all the old ingredients, but gone was the verve.

Blyth resigned, Grayson got married, Hamilton resigned, Gray left for Singapore. But away from the old Club things were happening.

Absent Members Shining

Charles Morgan, a senior rower with Grayson and Milne back in 1891 and 92 had opened an emporium in Port Pirie, and after he got the business moving, started up a rowing club, and in 1909, invited Adelaides to send a crew to their regatta. Which they did, but the result of the race is not recorded. However, as a gesture of goodwill, the Captain presented the old eight oar "Patawalonga" to the P.P.R.C. with the Club's compliments. George Steel, one of the commercial travellers dealing with Charlie Morgan, and coaching the Port Pirie crews when he was up there, arranged the visit and suggested the presentation.

Another important event was happening in England.

C. R. Cudmore rowed No. 2 in the Oxford boat in 1908, and was in the Magdalen boat that won, in 1907 both the "Wyfolds" and the "Visitors" at Henley and the "Stewards" in 1908. In 1909 he was in the winning Oxford boat.

There is no evidence to show that Collier Cudmore had been a member of Adelaide Rowing Club before he went to England, but he certainly was when he came back, and several other famous oars who rowed for Oxford and Cambridge were members too, notably Hurtle Morphett, Jock Gosse and Lew Luxton.

A Dredge For The Torrens

Meanwhile, back on the Torrens .... for years, irate Secretaries had been bombarding the Adelaide Corporation to do something positive to eradicate the weeds that were progressively clogging the channel and trapping garbage and debris every time a freshet came down the river.

R.A. Anderson wrote a long letter in 1902, suggesting that a "dredger" was the only effective means of reducing mud banks and weeds and at long last, the dredger appeared and began to widen and deepen the channel at Long's Point, which in those days encroached far out where the course is straight from the Morphett Street bridge to the Henley finish today, but was a restricted bend then.

The trouble was, the City Engineer found that in order to move the dredger under either of the bridges, water had to be let out of the lake to allow the bucket elevator to clear the roadway beams.

Never mind, rowing was not so important for Adelaides this season anyway. One crew only won three races on the Torrens. No entry was made in Champion 8's although a crew trained at Port Adelaide.

White ants were noticed in the timber of the boathouse and Peterswald was instructed to procure "Bain's White Ant Cure".

The rowing seems to have suffered the same fate.

Season 1909-10

A. J. Grayson must have felt it ironic that the first year that he was Captain of the Club for which he had stroked and coached to so many victories, would be the least successful at winning races in its career so far. One race, for Maiden or Junior Fours (there is no record of the name of the race) was all that the Club won, although three of its members rowed in the Interstate 8, held in Tasmania in 1910, won by N.S.W.

1910 SA King's Cup Crew

1910 South Australian Crew

These members were E.M. Luxmoore at 6, V.A. Clutterbuck at 4 and S.S. Ringwood at 3.

At least the Club entered crews in Champion 8's Junior 8's and Champion 4's, thereby keeping its rowing skills alive during the rowing depression.

Characters At The Swimming

Ken Milne, back from his four years' study at the Architectural School of Sydney University, entered into the Club functions, especially the swimming at Glenelg Baths, where he gave a demonstration of diving from the high board, which was burlesqued by C. Lord, much to everyone's amusement.

This function had become a major attraction, and was ably organized by two Club enthusiasts, Dudley Turner and Charlie Hayward.

Discouraging Non Active Members

A lot of young men at this time were joining the Club as non-active members which entitled them to enter in some of the Club races, the swimming, go to the Ball and all the Smoke Socials, Christmas Morning and so on, but serious rowing was suffering.

So the Committee imposed an entrance fee for non-active members, and curtailed their privileges for entering contests.

The result was not felt straight away, but eventually the tide turned, and rowing came back into the forefront.

Death Of King Edward VII

In May 1910, the King died and the Annual Ball was cancelled, but very little else changed. The Smoke Social went on, but with a reduced attendance. The boxing and wrestling was resumed and both Upton and Grayson became fathers; to P. H. Upton, a daughter, to A. J. Grayson, a son.

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