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History of Bendigo Rowing Club

19. 1973-1979

Chapter (number) page 1 2 3 4

In 1973 the Club conducted an 'experimental' regatta at Lake Eppalock.
In 1974 Glen Heazelwood (a top rower in the '20s) returned to Bendigo and commenced coaching. He was a most patient and knowledgeable coach who introduced hundreds of Bendigo school students to the techniques of rowing.

With his friend Rex Randall, they carried out hundreds of hours of maintenance on boats and equipment.

In 1976 The first fibreglass boats to grace the boatshed created great enthusiasm -two sculls 'funded' by Glen Heazelwood and a training pair. John Barton handed over the Secretary/Treasurers reins to Denis Nihill. New faces around the club included Vic and Steven Burnett, Bob Styles, Jeff Sellens, Andrew Watson, and Peter Heil. Peter Presser was Club Captain.

newspaper clipping

Extract from the Bendigo Advertiser Aug/Sep 1976

Andrew Watson organised the inaugural Schools Sprint Regatta on Lake Weeroona. Golden Square High won the Boys First fours: Don Cochrane, Chris Heywood, Brian Semmens, and Peter Heil.

Another meeting to discuss the new club/boatshed with Council was attended by Neville Howell, Denis Nihill, John Barton and Bob Styles.

Our well credentialled pair of Charlie Barton and Peter Armstrong won the Victorian Senior Coxless Pairs Championship at Ballarat, again at the Australian Henley, the Country title at Colac and a special Queens Jubilee Trophy on the Yarra. Golden Square High students: John Martin, Peter Guest, Chris Heywood and Don Cochrane won at the State High Schools Regatta.

Great excitement as we took delivery of the new fibreglass four "Glen Heazelwood" - making the club much more competitive. Hayden Bennetts was the leading coxswain in 1977.

In 1978 a meeting was called of groups interested in being part of a new complex at Lake Weeroona.

Sue Pearce, Lisa Randall, Sharon Runnalls and Kerry Nancarrow created history by winning the State High Schools Champion four title; a first for Bendigo's women rowers. Paul Stoltz fostered and coached this crew. In the '78/79 season Joanne Burnett, Debbie Wakefield, Kerry Nancarrow and Sharon Runnalls, won the Victorian Youth four Championship and came second in the Nationals. Paul Stolz, along with his brother Peter, Charlie Barton and Peter Armstrong managed to raise finance to purchase a racing four - "Joan Pearce", whilst Flora Hill High and Golden Square High Schools each gave $600 towards the cost of a new training four (to be called "Neville Howell"). Annette Barton organised a Disco/Fashion Parade Night at White Hills Tech., using some Rowing Club members as models - Army's fall from the catwalk was the evenings highlight.

Neil Manefield arrived in 1979; a powerfully built surfboat rower and working in the Army, based at Fortuna. Said he.. "I just wanted to improve my bladework - thought rowing on flat water would help the technique...". It sure did; coached by Neville Howell, he first won on the Yarra in a tub scull, then went on to win the Victorian Junior and Senior Sculls Championships in 1980.

Neil Manefield, Neville Howell

Neil Manefield being congratulated by Neville Howell

He sculled at the Australian Titles, being Victoria's representative in the Presidents Cup, but just went down to multiple National Title holder, Ted Hale. Neil moved on to Brisbane in his job and later rowed for Queensland in their Kings Cup crew. (A more modest, self effacing champion you could not meet).

Faces around the Club in this period included Hayden Bennetts, Peter Harriott, Peter Leggo, Ricky Holl, Greg Cowling, the Burnett Family, Frank Conway, Ray Buck, Judy and Dianne Harrowfield, Peter Smith, Harry Verbeek and Brendan Watt.

Design work started on the new Rowing Pavilion and we took delivery of the new four - "Neville Howell". A most successful Trash and Treasure Auction conducted by Wal Griffiths raised $700.

At the Annual Meeting, President Neville Howell thanked Paul Stoltz, Charlie Barton and Glen Heazelwood for their coaching during the year. The Schools regatta in 1979 was cancelled due to weed growth.

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