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History of Begonia City Ladies Rowing Club in Victoria Australia

History of Begonia City Ladies Rowing Club


Article women’s rowing club Ballarat 1912

This article appeared in the Ballarat Courier after the first meeting to form a women’s club and is reproduced here as it makes very interesting reading.

BALLARAT COURIER Friday, February 15th, 1912




Why shouldn’t the Ballarat girls pull an oar as well as their sisters of Warrnambool and Albert Park? “ And why shouldn’t we?” was the answer in effect of 30 odd strapping young women in a meeting assembled at Barge’s refectory, Wendouree, last evening. Consequently Ballarat is to have its ladies rowing club. The meeting was composed of sturdy young women, who should “make good” in the world of rowing, and the so-called maidens of the three Ballarat clubs may be assured that a crew can be chosen from among the ladies assembled last night that would give them a good shaking up on the water. Experts who saw the Victorian and Queensland crews in action on Albert Park Lake a week or so ago considered that the oarswomen could hold their own with some maiden crews of the ordinary rowing clubs.

Perhaps the lament that was given expression by “Adela” recently because the Ballarat Regatta Committee did not provide a race for the ladies crews when compiling their programme has had something to do with the present movement. At any rate, it became very popular, and many of the girls present have pulled a strong oar in weighty pleasure boats that may be hired day by day.

Mr. Ern Davies was voted to the chair and for some minutes was the only man present. By and by others came in and received encouraging reception. “Here’s our coach,” cried half a dozen girls in unison as Mr. J. Wilson entered the room, and this and subsequent events ……….. that the selection of the coach was “cut and dried.”

The chairmen at the outset explained that practically a challenge had been thrown out to the Ballarat girls to visit Warrnambool on next Regatta Day, Boxing day with a racing eight and it was considered quite within the bounds of practibility for a well-trained crew or two to be sent from Ballarat.

The question of name was freely discussed. The Chairman hinted that as some of the members of the Wendouree Club were keenly interested in promoting the club the choice of name might easily be settled. A coterie of girls in what might be described as the opposition corner suggested in one voice that the name be “The Ballarat Ladies Rowing A show of hands gave a majority vote for “The Wendouree Ladies Rowing Club,” but a strong force of the Ballarat clubites present suggested that though the club will be called the Wendouree there will be Ballarat and Wendouree crews in conflict ere long. Anyhow, this should be productive of a healthy rivalry that gives vim to most sports. The election of officers occupied a little time. The choice of secretary fell on Miss McDonald, and that of the treasurer on Miss McGregor. The captaincy devolved on Miss Hawkins, and the vice-captaincy on Miss Spottiswoode and the following ladies were appointed to the committee:-Mrs. P. Davies and Misses Herman, Field and Clemson, to act with Messers B. A. Alexander, W.A. Nicholls, E. Davies and A. Muir or at the rate of one gentleman to accompany each lady home after the meetings, as somebody suggested amidst laughter.

No president or vice-president, nor any patrons were elected last night. The ladies agreed that it would be better “to have a look around” during the next few days. Somebody suggested Mr. Thomas O’Loughlin as president. Four gentleman present qualified for vice-presidencies by mentioning a half-guinea as their token of goodwill.

Mr. J.Wilson was elected coach. Mr. “Barney” Nicholls, who is Captain of the Wendouree Club, was chosen to accompany Misses Clemson and McGregor to interview the picture entrepreneurs of the City with a view to purchasing the “house” at one of the shows on the Monday following Regatta Day. A suggestion might be made to try and arrange for a picture of several members to be taken in the meantime and reproduced as a star attraction on the Show night. It was also agreed that by way of adding to the attraction of Regatta Day the members should be supplied with tickets that they may dispose of them amongst the crowd.

It was decided to communicate with Miss McKee of the Warrnambool Club with a view to gaining information as to constitution etc.

The ladies present seemed anxious to get to work as soon as possible, and from the desultory discussion that ensued it appeared that the Wendouree Club have a couple of old pair-oared boats which should serve the girls for practice.

A thoughtful member suggested that lifebelts and waterwings should be served out to the crews before they venture onto the water, but the majority appeared to prefer becoming mermaids to wearing wings, and the suggestion was scouted.

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