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history of corowa rowing club

History of Corowa Rowing Club: 1863-2013

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Chapter 5: 2000-2013

Chapter 5 page 1 2 3 4 5


2005 was the beginning of purchases for the gym – the first purchase being an exercise bike for $890.

This year also saw the introduction of an international crew representing Corowa, it was made up of Andrew Johnstone (Australian), Ryan Person (American), Cedric Melin (French) and Ed Van Gool (Dutch) – they qualified for a final in the State Championships in the Male Beginner Coxed Four but did not win.

Unfortunately in 2005 no State Championships were won, we were competitive but just missed out, especially Jayden in the scull coming a very close second.

This year saw such an influx of rowers that also included masters. One crew that focused on social rowing was Kaye Corfield, Heather Lowe, Virgina Phibbs and Dot Peterson, these ladies really got into the spirit of social rowing calling themselves the “River Queens” .

The trivia night in 2005 made $1986 profit.

This is the year that the club purchased a 2nd hand regulation four that we named ‘Peter Gamble’. To make room in the shed for this we cut the bow off the ‘Terry Cornelius’ which now can be seen on the wall. The newly formed Albury Rowing club also took some surplus equipment off our hands. We were also successfully in receiving a $2600 grant from the RSL club that was used to purchase another Concept II Ergo.

Over the winter months of 2005 it was full on shed building.

July 2005 saw the purchase of our first floaty training scull for $2000, this was named in honour of the long time pub raffles – ‘Global Star’. This year saw the introduction of Police Checks for all committee and coaches.


At the beginning of this season, it was obvious that Jayden Deas and Peta Johnstone would be very competitive. Jayden showing how keen he was by travelling in a ute to Dimboola with Robert & Wes (Squashy fit) with the boat on roof. It paid off though with a win on the Sunday after coming a close 2nd on Saturday.

This year also saw a change to the traditional raffle prize, we moved from bikes to a BBQ raffle, this was a success with it raising $2848 profit.

2006 also allowed us to discover that we could not hire the shed out (even to members) without purchasing an additional insurance policy for $2500!!! The committee suspended clubroom hire for the time being until this problem could be sorted out.

2006 also saw more equipment purchased for the gym, with another exercise bike, treadmill and some weight stands being purchased.

This year also saw us start winning at the 2006 State Championships again with the following crews:
2 Wins:
Peta Johnstone (D Grade Single Scull);
Andrew Johnstone, Nathan Collins coxed by Sheridan Horrigan (Male D Grade Coxed Pair).

Peta & Jayden’s dedication paid off this year with the two of them taking out the most successful woman & man.
Jayden was also successful in winning the Victorian E Grade Rower of the year.

At the end of the 2006 season the club purchased a tub scull from Tom Prime for $5500 + oars $600 ‘Corowa Lions Club’ – this boat was able to be purchased through assistance from the Lions Club. Originally for the rebuild of the shed they donated $7850 and loaned us $7850 to be repaid, but they then decided to waive the repayment to allow us to purchase this new scull.

This is the year that the rowing club got sun smart and purchased a large free standing shade to take to all regattas – this was made possible from the RSL Sports Grant program costing $2885.

After the 2006 MRA regatta we also received a $2500 dividend just going to show how successful this two day regatta had become.

This is the year that the club had their first ever representation at a National level in Masters – with Robert Eyers, Jim Eyers, Terry Eyers, Len Johnstone coxed by Steeven Grae compete. Robert also competed in a single scull making the final. This regatta was held at Nagambie.

July 2006 saw the huge decision to swap over to Swift Racing boats.....we ordered a new racing pair/double scull and a new racing four for $17,000. These boats very fittingly were named ‘Wes Canny’ (pair/double) and ‘Robert Eyers’ (four/quad).

Robert Eyers and Len Johnstone were both presented Life Memberships at the AGM in August 2006.

September 2006 saw the club have the opportunity to join forces with the Corowa Rutherglen Football Club to purchase all the gym gear from the closed Corowa Golf Club gym.


It was obvious we had two talented kids that had begun to row for the club – Chloe Williams and Rhylee Deas both doing extremely well in their E grade class.

November 2006 saw the club apply and receive a multi function liquor licence that allows 26 functions a year. This is still going today.

2007 also saw the beginning of the MRA dinner that we hold for the rowers and supporters that come up to row. This started off slow with about 80 people the first year, growing to 350 this year and that will be able to extend to 400 by next year.

Peta Johnstone continued with her good form winning three medals at the local MRA regatta. This is also the first time in 141 years of the regatta that Corowa took out the Red Gum Shield which means we won the most races out of all clubs that had entries. Another talented sculler started to shine through the ranks at this regatta – Phoebe Ward who travelled down from Lake Hume to train 3 times a week – she won both the D and E Class single scull.

Robert Eyers was also recognised by Corowa Shire as Citizen of the Year in 2007 for his service to the rowing club.

Chloe, Rhylee, Phoebe and another sculler James Bridges all represented the club at the Yarra Yarra regatta with Phoebe winning the D grade single scull.
Phoebe (coached by Robert Eyers) then went onto the Carrum regatta where she won the Year 10 single race by 8 boat lengths.

Corowa had great success at the 2007 Victorian State Championships – coming away with 7 titles. The following all had wins –
Phoebe Ward won the U17 single scull, E grade single scull and then teamed up with Peta Johnstone, Chloe Williams, Felicity Williams cox Connor Johnstone to win the E grade coxed quad scull.

Rhylee Deas won the E grade single scull and he teamed up with Jayden Deas, Taylor Good, Nathan Collins cox James Bridges to win the E grade coxed quad scull.

Callum Payne, Zane Eyers, Taylor Good, Jayden Deas cox Connor Johnstone won the E grade coxed Four and finally Doug Shelley, Rick Aitkin cox James Bridges won the D Grade Coxed Pair defending Corowa’s title.

Rhylee was the only winner at the Victorian State School Boys that year with him taking out the Year 9 boys division in a single scull.

The club had its first representative at National level at Nagambie in 2007 with Phoebe Ward competing in Female U17 single in which she was ranked no 9 in Australia, setting a standard for the next generation to follow. Phoebe also rowed with members from Footscray Rowing Club to form a composite quad in the U19 age group, this saw Phoebe and her dedicated family travel to Melbourne for training. Coach Robert attended the weeklong regatta in support of Phoebe.

Phoebe finished the year off by attending the largest all female regatta in the southern hemisphere – Head of the Schoolgirls – which is held at Geelong’s Barwon River. There are over 2000 competitors at this regatta. Phoebe competed in the Open Single Scull division which she won her heat and semi easily to progress to the final. The final was held in tough conditions with a head win but Phoebe still managed to win by 2 lengths. Phoebe was selected as a finalist for the Border Mails Young Sports Achiever of the Year Award but was unsuccessful.

The year was finished off at the Essendon/Footscray regatta in which the young rowers did extremely well again, Chloe Williams winning three medals in E grade single and with crews and Phoebe winning both D and C grade single sculls.

Corowa Rowing Club was again rewarded by Rowing Victoria by Chloe Williams winning the Female E grade rower of the year, must be noted that Chloe was only 13 years old then and Rhylee Deas winning the Male E grade rower of the year, with Jayden Deas coming 2nd in this class.

We received another grant from the RSL sports grant program for $3418 to purchase four pairs of sculling blades. This year it was also decided that a new boat trailer was needed, the committee was on the lookout for 3 second hand sculls and 2 regulation fours for the influx of members.

Robert & Stacey & James Webb along with local businessman Greg Milthorpe decided to try to sell advertising to cover the cost of the new boat trailer. The local transport companies – Milthorpe’s, Willet, Chester, Francis, Lewis, SBA Transport, Talbots, D & S Collins, along with Dunkley Panels and Colrain all came on board with donations and the trailer was designed and built by James Webb of Focus Engineering with Robert Eyers and was ready for the 2008 MRA regatta. We sold the old trailer for a sum of $900.

Chapter 5 page 1 2 3 4 5

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