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History of Balmain Working Men's Rowing Club

Devastation at White Horse Point 

Tragically the storm which swept through Sydney on 19th September 1917 totally destroyed the Enterprise Rowing club shed and in its collapse smashed up all the wooden gigs, pair oared boats, skiffs and outriggers that were housed there. The smashed up remains were submitted to auction. 

smashed remains of the rowing shed

The loss was such a severe blow to the old established Enterprise club that it could no longer resume its position amongst the clubs on Sydney Harbour. 

Over the 31 years of the clubs existence new and more liberal ideas as to the class rules had taken all the sting out of the old-time rivalry between the members of the two Balmain clubs at “Whitey”. Often the two clubs were known to challenge each other to an inter-club duel.  In 1913 there had been talk of the two clubs merging to become one institution, this idea never eventuated. 

Over one hundred years on, this remarkable club is long forgotten. All that remains of the historical shed are a few stone footings that sometimes come into view at low tide.  Its old neighbour and rival, the Balmain Rowing Club, still stands proud in its original timber shed built in 1882. 

Beverley Malone

19 September 2017

Acknowledgements: NSW State Records - NSW State Library - Balmain Rowing Club Archives -The Sydney Sportsman -26/9/1917 Referee  3/10/1906 - Australian Town & Country Journal - 24/12/1892 - Australian Town & Country Journal  -6/3/1886 - Illustrated News - March 1886- The Sydney Mail - 6/3/1886 - Referee 10/12/1913 -

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