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Adelaide Rowing Club - The First Hundred Years

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

9. Narrative History of the Adelaide Rowing Club - 1912-1922

Chapter nine page 1 2

Seasons 1915-19 Inclusive

Besides adding names to the Roll of Honour, the caretaker Committee met regularly and thought up ways of keeping in touch with members at the front.

They sent a cable to the G.O.C. Australian troops (Egypt) conveying Christmas Greetings to all rowing men. One guess who thought up that one - old Joe Sharp, who was back on the Committee after 21 years. After Egypt, they cabled the War Office.

They sent the hat around and bought a wedding present for J.P. Marcus, and attended the funeral of George Steel who had been deeply depressed, and took his own life at Port Pirie.

They sent a "deck billiards set" to J.F. Doswell's unit.

J.H. Gosse and F.W. Porter were now Vice Presidents.

When the boathouse needed painting they invited life members to lend a hand and got contributions from all members to buy the paint and materials for repairs carried out by a working bee and got Ern Jolley to carry out repairs to boats and oars.

In October, 1918, just before the Armistice, a General Meeting was held and a report for season 1916-18 tabled, with financial report and lists of members in the services, casualties, current members and other events and the fourteen members present elected practically the same Committee to carry on.

Which they did in a manner which reflected the enthusiasm of the general membership which was just about rock-bottom, failing to hold a General Meeting in 1919, and finally getting around to it in March 1920, without an Annual Report, and having failed to keep minutes of Com­mittee meetings held since the A.G.M. in 1918 (except one).

At Christmas Morning, 1919, there were 4 members, but they kept the tradition going and thanked God the War was over, sang carols and finished off with the National Anthem. Joe Sharp was one of the four.

Season 1919-20

The Annual General Meeting gave promise for a new start after a long period of disruption and inaction.

There was a new governor as Patron, H.E. Sir Archibald Weigall, W.G. Auld was elected President, and people like Arthur Nicholls, W.H.G. Blain and Joe Sharp were added to those of Jimmie Gosse and Fred Porter as Vice Presidents.

Jimmie Gosse led off by offering 4 cups for crews winning Club races, and some promising young members had joined the ranks, including C.A.M. West, R.J. Legoe, L.T. Grummet and L.W. Rogers.

Sir Ross Smith, a member who had won fame in the War and had been knighted with his brother for flying a converted bomber from England to Australia, was welcomed at a ceremony held at the boathouse on March 29th, 1920, where 73 members honoured the toasts.

Elsewhere in South Australia two crews from other clubs gained fame. The Murray Bridge crew won the King's Cup for S.A. and Adelaide University won the Oxford and Cambridge Cup, stroked by Jim Lord, who later joined Adelaides.

At the Autumn Regatta, we won Maiden 4's and Maiden 8's and although the S.A.R.A. had decided not to hold Champion 8's this season, most clubs were busy enough just getting back into stride once more, and signing up new members.

Season 1920-21

Such was the influx of new members (including the Lord Mayor, Frank Moulden) that the Club's finances were well in credit, which state had been unknown for a couple of decades, so 7 new boats were ordered - 2 eights - a best and a practice and 5 fours - a best, two practice clinkers and two tubs.

Among the new members were men well known to members today, and some who still come down to the Club functions.

B.H. Boykett and his brother, K.H., B.F. Hopkins, W.O. Menz, C.A. Wilksch, G.A.A. Dennett, W. H. Stephenson and a host of others joined up and there were not enough boats or coaches to go around notwithstanding the efforts of Blain, Gosse, Cudmore and Grayson.

Back To Winning Races

With Murray Bridge still unbeatable, Adelaides did not enter a crew for Champion 8's this season, but concentrated on entering as many Maiden and Junior races as possible, and managed to win a Maiden 4 at Henley, a Junior 4 at the Summer Regatta and Senior-Junior 4's and Maiden 8's at the Autumn Regatta. By competing for Champion Junior 8's and races at the Murray Bridge -Mannum marathon without success, the young hopefuls were initiated into tough conditions.

1921 Senior-Junior 4's

April 1921 Senior-Junior 4's

Bow: C A Wilksch, 2: R J Legoe, 3: S S Ringwood, Str: G A A Dennett, Cox: A S George

To top it all off, the Annual Ball was a great success.

Season 1921-22

In September, just after the A.G.M. an ambitious A.R.C. four entered in the Henley-on-Yarra Regatta, but drew Murray Bridge, and were eliminated before the final. Murray Bridge went on to win, but it was a nice try, and good experience, once more.

With the Torrens unsuitable for regattas in summer, more races were rowed at Port Adelaide, but it was not until the January long week end that a crew scored by winning the Arnold Cup at Mannum. Another indication of the improving standard of rowing in the Club was the choice of three men to row in the composite metropolitan crew to row against Murray Bridge 8 to decide who would row in the King's Cup, the latter having won Champion 8's. The three men were the stroke man G.A. Dennett, P.L. Begg at 6 and W.O. Menz at 3.

Murray Bridge crew won the test race and went on to win the King's Cup for South Australia, a magnificent effort.

1922 Championship Certificate

1922 Interstate Men's Eight Championship Certificate

Before the season had finished, Adelaides had won another Junior 4 at Port Adelaide and 2 races in eights at the Autumn Regatta - Maidens and Dash 8's.

For some reason, the Swimming Races had gone out of favour, and were cancelled, but not so the Ball, to which 300 turned up.

Two famous members died, Sir Ross Smith, and W.H.G. Blain, whose name was given to Blain Fours, competed for in Club races. Another member, J.M. Napier, was congratulated on being made a K.C. This man was destined to be knighted and as Sir Mellis Napier, to be nominated Lieutenant Governor.

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