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History of Dimboola Rowing Club

The following history was written by Robert H Gooding in 1982 for the Club's Centenary. Photos added by Andrew Guerin.

Committee 1981-82 Season

PresidentJohn S Kemfert
Immediate Past President

Geoff E Gazelle
Vice-PresidentsEvan J Gazelle

Ian W Barry

Ardan J Werner
SecretaryMrs Judith I Neagle
TreasurerW John Watson
CaptainWilliam Thomson
Vice-CaptainAnthony Harradine
CommitteeRonald W Gook

Rodney Lehmann

Clifford F W Unger

Edward Korver

Neil Penny

Robert H Gooding
Match CommitteeEvan C Sanders

Ivan H Kuhne

Dudley K Williams
VRA RepresentativesRodney B Pilmore

Donald J Todd
VLRA RepresentativesMrs Ruth Klinge

Miss Pamela Westendorf
AuditorsKeith C Jones

John Starmans

The Beginning

A meeting called by advertisement, was held in the Victoria Hall Dimboola on Thursday evening the 27th April 1882 at 8.00 o'clock for the purpose of taking into consideration the formation of a Rowing Club at Dimboola. 

Mr P. P. Fraser was voted into the chair. Mr Holderness moved and Mr Pavier seconded that a Rowing Club be formed and called the Dimboola Rowing Club, which was carried.

At this meeting Mr R. Melross was appointed secretory and a committee was formed to prepare a report on costs of boats and the erection of a boat house. This report was to be submitted to a General Meeting of the Club to be held on Friday 12th of May 1882 at Paviers Hotel at 8.00 o'clock in the evening.

The committee met on the 29th April 1882 and the 6th May 1882 where the types of boats and the size of the boat shed was discussed. It was also decided the Secretory should write to the Barwon, Ballarat, Melbourne, Sandhurst & Echuca Rowing Clubs asking for copies of their rules out of which 31 rules and 14 By-laws were drawn up. 

The Secretary was also instructed to write to the Lowan Shire Council for permission to erect a boat shed at the recreation reserve. 

The report was presented at the meeting on the 12th May 1882, and offer considerable discussion it was decided to erect a shed and purchase 2 four oared jigs, one pair boat and one pleasure boat, the boats at 100 pounds and the boat shed 44 pounds. Messrs Pratt, Holderness, Pavier, Fraser, Fisher, Anderson, Brewer, Finder, McLennan Sands and Husband signed promissory notes to cover the cost of boats and shed. 

An election was held for the first committee of management which would consist of: Patron, President, Vice President, Captain, Treasurer, Secretary and a committee of five, five to form a quorum. 

PatronHon. W Madden MP
PresidentT Holderness Esq
Vice-PresidentP P Fraser Esq
CaptainG Stanlake
SecretaryJ Melross
TreasurerA Black
CommitteeW Anderson

J Fisher

R Husband

T Pratt

B Sands

Adopted at this meeting were the rules of the Club, a decision that the financial year begin on the lst June and that the annual meeting be held in June of every year. 

The first boat shed was completed on 13th July 1882 by Holt & Firlay and after inspection was passed for payment on 15th July 1882. 

Mr W. T. Greenland built the first boats and insurance on the boats was to be 80 pounds plus 30 pounds insurance on the boat shed. 

It was decided that the boats would be christened on the 1st September 1882 and Mrs Holderness the wife of the President was invited to perform the ceremony with champagne donated by members of the committee. The pleasure boat was named "Lowan" the pair oar "Undine" and the two four-oar gigs "Siren" and "Sylph". The report of this occasion in the Dimboola Banner concludes -"Coke and Wine was then partaken by those present, the members with their lady friends then indulged in a pull down the river in the boots and all present appeared to enjoy themselves thoroughly". 

At a meeting on 4th September 1882 a sub-committee was formed to draw up a program of sports to be held on the Prince of Wales birthday Thursday 9th November 1882 in aid of funds for the club. The railways department was asked to provide a special train from Stawell to Dimboola on that day who replied asking for 37 pounds l0 shillings as a guarantee. Mr McGibbany of Ararat donated four sets of solitaries for the members of the crew winning at the Regatta. 

It is recorded that the Dramatic Club was asked to assist with a concert and ball on the night of the sports, and application be made to the Shire to erect a booth in the reserve for that day. The refreshment booth was later sold to Mr Pavier for 19 pounds ten shillings. An account of the first Regatta was published in the Dimboola Banner on 16th November 1882 where it is recorded that the gate charge was one shilling with approximately 1000 people attending. The special train arrived from Stowell at 11.00 a.m.

The program was as follows: -

The Sports

Maiden Plate 100 yards. lst Prize one pound 10 shillings Second ten shillings. C. Hunter 1st C. Turnbull 2nd. 

Boys Race Under l5 years. lst Prize ten shillings, Second five shillings. A. Rauert 1st C. Davis 2nd. 

Dimboola Rowing Club Handicap 130 yards First Prize ten pounds, Second two pounds, Third one pound. 

G. J. Bray 9 yards 1st, G. Smith 9 yards 2nd, G. Hughes 3½ yards 3rd. 

Drop Kick Football Prize one pound. T. Young 65 yards 1st, T. Moncur 2nd., 20 entered. 

Hurdle Race 120 yards. 1st prize four pounds, Second one pound, G. Hughes Scratch 1st, W. J. Wallis 10 yards 2nd, J. H. Brilliant 4 yards 3rd. 

Throwing Cricket Ball Prize one pound, G. Mont 99 yards 2 feet 1st, R. Kennear 95 yards 2nd. 

Walking greasy pole Prize two pounds, H. Collard 1st, 3 entries. 

Hurdle Race 240 yards, 1st prize four pounds, Second one pound, S. Hughes scratch 1st, J. F. Brilliant 8 yards 2nd, C. J. Nicholls 16 yards 3rd. 

Forced Handicap 130 yards, 1st prize one pound, 2nd ten shillings, W. Gillies 8 yards lst, C. K. Nickolls 6 yards 2nd. 

The Regatta

Four Oared Boat Race l mile - Confined to members. First Heat

W. J. Brady St 8st. 13 lbs.

H. Collard l0st. 4 lbs.

J. P. Ryan 11st. 11 lbs. Lochiel side 

C. J. Nicholls 9st. l lb

J. Kenvig Cox 7st.

R. Husband St 10st. 3 lbs 

C. Graham 13st.

R. Ellitson 11st. 2 lbs. Dimboola side

G. Hunter l0st. 7 lbs.

W. Barnes Cox 9st. 4 lbs.

Brady's crew rowed into the bank on the corner and while Brady's crew was al a standstill, Husband's crew made the 'mistake of going on the wrong side of the buoy. On reaching the staging Brady protested al Husband taking his water, which was upheld by the referee and Husband was disqualified. 

Second Heat

W. Greenwell Str. 10st. l0 lbs 

Phillips l2st. 7 lbs. 

J. l. Anderson 11st. 2 lbs.Lochiel side 

W. Emerson l0st. 11 lbs.

J Fisher Cox 7 st.

W. Anderson Str. 10st. 10 lbs.

P. Mussen 11st. 2 lbs. 

J. R. Melross l0st. 2 lbs. Dimboola side

H. Smith 9st. 8 lbs. 

J Kenvig Cox 7st.

Greenwells crew won by one and a half lengths lime 6 min. 7 seconds. 

Final Greenwell's crew on the Lochiel side won by 4 feet from Brady's crew in a lime of 6 min. 40 seconds. 

The Dimboola Banner concludes the report of the first Regatta by slating - "Greenwell's crew did not appear to hove recovered from their race with Anderson, and there is very little doubt that had they met Husband's crew they would have suffered a defeat. It is to be regretted that Brady did not show a more generous spirit in the matter of the protest against Husband than he did, for though the later was wrong in coming inside the buoy, it did not effect Brady's chance or interfere with him at all, as he was several lengths behind at the time, and actually out of the race, by his own mistake of running aground". 

The next record of boat racing over 1 mile was the result of Trial Fours held on the Queens Birthday, May 24th 1883, where H. Collard (stroke) C. Graham, J. P. Ryan, B. Heinze, C. Collard (cox) defeated W. Anderson (stroke), W. Phillips, G. Taylor, P. Mussen, C. J. Nicholls (cox) by several lengths.

The first Annual meeting was held at Paviers Hotel on Tuesday 5th June 1883 at 8.00 o'clock where the first balance sheet was presented. 


Members Subscriptions

Donation Hon. W. Madden 

Dimboola Dramatic Club 

Proceeds Prom. notes 

Committee costs of boat Christening 

Balance from sports & regatta 

Entrance Money-scratch fours 









Purchase of boats & oars 

Repair of boats 

Carriage of boats 

Erection boat shed 

Additions boat shed & staging 

Christening boats 


Interest on Prom. notes 


Petty Cash 

Printing & Advertising


Cash Balance 









4- 0-0





£ 262-16-7

The first time the Club contested races away from Dimboola was at Colac in 1886 where they were entered in Fours & Pairs. 

Most of the Clubs history between 1888-1910 has been lost. 

During 1919 the West Wimmera Rowing Association was formed, the participating Rowing Clubs were Antwerp, Dimboola and Jeparit and the then President of the Dimboola Rowing Club, Dr. Phillips presented a shield for annual competition between the three clubs. This shield has been retained by Dimboola and hangs in the boat shed to this day. 

Many members of the Club enlisted in the 1914-l 8 war and on 23rd September 1919 it was decided to procure an honour board at a cost of 15 pounds to recognise this fact. The Dimboola Rowing Club was also very generous during these years. It donated 405 pounds eleven shillings and eight pence to the Returned Soldiers Association and 403 pounds eleven shillings and eight pence to the Repatriation Authorities and in 1920 412 pounds seven shillings and ten pence each to the same Authorities. 

After the Great War, the Dimboola Rowing Club passed a resolution on 21st August 1919 to stimulate interest in a public meeting to be called towards the end of the year with a view to assisting the Returned Soldiers Association and Public Hospital. 

A further resolution at a meeting of members on December 12th 1919, that the Rowing Club take the initiative and call a public meeting to assist the R.S.A. and local hospitals. The date of the meeting 15th January 1920. From this and subsequent meetings gave birth to the Dimboola Memorial High School as we know today. 

The 19th August 1920 was a great day for the Club, for it was on this day the Dimboola Rowing Club became affiliated with Victorian Rowing Association and the Club presented its first life membership to Dr. G. Phillips. The presentation to Dr. Phillips was performed when he returned to the town on 28th March 1928. 

Since that time there have been no less than 27 life memberships presented for sterling service to the Dimboola Rowing Club, for the complete list see below. 

On 21st January 1921 saw a ladies crew from Dimboola win the Victorian Ladies Champion Four, which was rowed on the Maribynong River in Melbourne. Miss Nettlebeck (stroke), Miss Harbourd, Miss Walsgott and Miss Currie, Lionel Enery (Cox), Jim Molloy (Coach). 

Unknown Dimboola men's four of the same era as above

Over the years this Club has had good ladies crews, some notable performances being -

Ladies Country Champions 1946, 1949, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1958. 

Victorian Ladies Senior" A" Champion Four 1976-77. 

Victorian Ladies Youth Champion Four 1976-77. 

National Club Champion Senior & Youth Four 1976-77. Miss D. Petschel (stroke), Miss P. Westerndorf (3), Miss L. Whitehouse (2), Miss L. McDonald (bow) with Mr T. Gazelle (cox). This crew also represented Victoria in the Australian heavy weight fours in Perth that year, and were placed fourth. Since then Miss P. Westerndorf has represented Australia at three world Championships in eights, fours and pairs and represented her country at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games in the coxed fours and has recently been selected to row for Victoria at the National Titles this year, and is without doubt one of the best oars persons to row for Dimboola Rowing Club, and would be at this time the best oarswomen in Australia. 

1980 Olympic Rowing Team - Pam Westerndorf is seated third from the left

Year 1922 two sculling boats added to the fleet at a cost of 23 pounds each plus 2 pounds per set of 2 oars. That year also saw the appearance of Jim Sharman's boxing tent and a special prize for an aboriginal canoe race at the Club's annual Regatta. 

It was also during that year that Mr Jim Currie, who had been the Club's Secretory resigned after no less than 22 years of outstanding service. 

During 1924 the first decorated and illuminated pleasure boats appeared on the waters of the Wimmera River. 

In the years which preceded the Second World War some of the Clubs most famous names came into prominence. For example:-

Arthur Fortington, Bill Cordner, Les Cordner, Les Bushby, Alf Milbourne, Vic Pratt, Les Gazelle, Ern Gazelle, Wally Jochinke, Norm Moy, Ron Mudge, Allan Cordner, Bill McCarthy, Syd Muir-Smith. 

1931 saw the purchase of the first two racing fours and were named the W. J. Cordner & S. Muir-Smith. The Club colours since the beginning were pale blue with a navy monogram and it was during 1931 that they were changed to the present green & gold, for what reason no one really knows, but is generally believed that the Football Club changed their colours at the same time. A Mr Jim Wright wrote the Club history and was presented on October 12th 1931. 

A feature at many Regattas was a high board diving team from Melbourne and two famous names were Vic Loverson and Con Ruhhee. The high divers used a tree as their platform and it was not until 1935 that a 30 foot tower was erected on the south side of the river on the bend just down stream from the present finishing line of the rowing course. This cost 100 pounds and a lot of work from Mr L. 0. E. Bushby using a tractor to erect same. 

These were just a few of the names that rowed for the Club al that time, but the most famous crew of that era would have been the 1937 Elswick Challenge Cup winners at Henley A. Milbourne (stroke). V. Pratt (3), L. Gazelle (2), E. A. Gazelle (bow), J. Russell (cox). This feat was repeated 20 years later in 1957. R. Gooding (stroke), L. Smith (3), G. Gooding (2), G. Gazelle (bow), G. Norton (cox), Geoff Gazelle (bow) of 1957 crew being the son of Ern Gazelle (bow) of 1937 crew. 

A. Melbourne and V. Pratt were also a very good pair oared combination rowing in the champion senior pairs of Victoria in 1937. 

During the Second World War the Rowing Club went into a brief recess during the critical years of 1943 and 1944. This is the reason why the centenary of the Club does not correspond with the centenary regatta which will be held in 1984. It was during 1938 that we saw school boys from the Dimboola Memorial High School competing in fours and a shield donated by Mr Smith has been the trophy for the house fours ever since.

Easter 1952 Dimboola High School House Regatta - hand painted colours added

Easter 1952 Dimboola High School House Regatta, Kenmore winning crew - hand painted colours added

Tony Edgar, Stewart McConnell, Arthur Robinson, Maurice Bothe, Geoff Gazelle

There have been many school boy oarsmen who have rowed for the school and then for the Club and possibly the most famous would have been the crew that won the Country Champion Fours at the Victorian High Schools Regatta's 1960-61-62. The crew R. Ronning (stroke), J. Smith (3), D. Teschendorf (2), G. Linder (bow) 1960. 

R. Ronning (stroke), J. Smith (3), D. Teschendorf (2), G. Pohlner (bow), 1961.

R. Ronning (stroke), G. Pohlner (3), D. Teschendorf (2), D. Jones (bow) 1962. Graham Pohlner later transferring to the Banks Rowing Club and representing Victoria in the Kings Cup crew at Murray Bridge 1967.

School rowing was further promoted, when in 1973 the Wimmera Head of the River for fours was inaugurated to be rowed at Dimboola and Horsham on alternate years. The first head of the River was won by Dimboola on 10th November 1973 at Dimboola. The crew comprising P. Gooding (stroke), G. Watson (3), P. Clarke (2), G. Eagle (bow), G. Gooding (cox). Of the nine head of the river events Dimboola has been successful four times. Girls events were also introduced to the Wimmera Head of the River Regatta and the First girls fours have been won by Dimboola on five occasions. 

After the Second World War the Dimboola Rowing Club instigated learn to row campaigns for the young people of the district and with the men who returned from active service some good crews were formed. With the formation of these crews and after experience in novice events Mr Ray Todd, who had just returned from the 1948 London Olympics, was invited to coach these members and a maiden eight was selected to row at the Henley Regatta of 1948. From his coaching crews went on to win many races for the next 10 to 15 years. Listed are some of the members of those crews at that time and up to 1960:-

L.Pearse, K. Hosking, W. Cowan, L. Collins, W. Porter, R. Elliott, J. Feery, J. McCabe, J. Walsgott, J. Spencer, W. Gazelle, E. Walsgott, R. Gooding, I. King, O. Edwards, J. Hiscock, S. Smith, J. Peoples, D. Karpany, G. Rice, B. Harders, R. McPhee, B. McPhee, W. Taylor, J. Taylor, E. J. Gazelle, J. Kembert, J. Krahe, G. Gazelle, J. Watson, D. Huffam, D. Williams, P. Robinson, B. Taylor, Barry Gooding, G. Gooding, G. Wright, R. English, F. Whitehouse, N. McEachron, A Krahe, T. Krahe, L.Schultz, G. Rodda, G. Brand, R. Harmer.

Coxwains during that period were:-

A. Parker, P. Norton, G. Norton, G. Linder, and J. Russell also a lot of the rowing members listed above started their careers as coxwains. The most successful coxswain was without doubt Graham Norton who transferred to the Banks Rowing Club and went on to steer the winning Victorian Kings Cup crew of 1962 and should have coxed the winning Empire Games Eight in Perth that year. 

Highlights of the period 1947-1967 

The Dimboola Rowing Club Social Committee was formed on 7th August 1949. The first President Mr K. Hosking, Secretary Miss I. Searle, membership 2 shillings. Keith Hosking was later killed when the Adelaide Overlands collided at Serviceton in the early 50's. 

Bob Gooding (stroke), Lindsay Smith (bow), Graeme Norton (cox), Les Bushby (coach) competed in the Olympic trials at Ballarat on 12th and 13th October 1956. 

During the late 50's through to the mid 60's the Club had a very successful and rewarding era. Active membership was maintained at a high level and listed below are some of the highlights of this period. 


Drew with Barwon Rowing Club for the Country Premiership. 

Maiden Pairs finished First, Second and Third in a field of 10 at Ballarat Regatta. 


Junior Eight and Lightweight Pair won the Yea, Albert Park and Footscray Regatta treble. 

A Senior Eight competed at the Henley and Ballarat Regatta's. 

The Club ended a successful season by winning the Country Champion Eights and the Country Premier­ship for the season. 


Success come this year in Senior Fours at V.R.A., Upper Yarra, Colac, Footscray and Wentworth Regatta's. 

Senior Pairs won at Mildura and Wentworth for the second year our Club won the Country Champion eights. 

One of the highlights of this season was the trip by 22 members to Tasmania to compete in the Royal Hobart Regatta in February 1960. Success was achieved in 3 events at this two day Regatta.


Senior Fours won at the Dimboola Regatta and Open Fours at the Mildura and Wentworth Regattas. 


A crew of Geoff Gazelle (stroke), Greg Rodda (3), Lourie Schultz (2), Bill Taylor (bow), Ted McCabe (cox), Bob Gooding (coach), won the South Australian Champion Fours at Port Adelaide and a Lightweight Four was defeated by 2 feet in the Lightweight Championship the same day. 

Senior fours and pairs were successful at Murray Bridge and Mannum Regattas. 

The year of the drought 1967 saw the Rowing Course at Dimboola dammed each end, and water pumped from holes either end to till the course and give enough water for rowing events. An auger type pump was used delivering 60,000 gallons per hour driven by a small four cylinder engine which took approximately one week to fill the course. 

From 1967-1982 we saw more new names wearing the Club colours of green & gold and competing with distinction at the various Regattas in Victoria and Interstate. Some of the names listed were:-

R. Ronning, G. Linder, R. Haby, Gary Klinge, Gordon Klinge, E. McCabe, D. McCabe, D. Jones, G. Purvis, H. Godwin, G. Pohlner, D. Teschendorf, B. Henstridge, P. Norton, J. Blinkiron, E. Smith, G. King, E. Walker, G. Walker, R. Norton, J. Pilmore, D. Pohlner, W. Jenkins, M. Ross, D. Pearse, I. Barry, R. Pilmore, I. Kuhne, M. Code, T. Haebich, T. Haby, P. O'Laughlan, M. Leedham, G. Carroll, T. Coulson, W. Nitschke, B. Nicholson, D. Norton, A Williams, P. Thompson, P. Beecroft, G. Eagle, P. Clarke, L. Watson, P. Gooding, G. Gooding, I. Janetske, D. Fechner, L. Sheridon, W. Thompson, G. Davis, A. Janetske, K. Williams, M. Salter, P. Watson, T. Gazelle, P. Ross, J. Ross, A. Harradine, E. Sanders, G. Keating, G. Bolwell, M. Pilmore, B. Westerndorf, D. Grimmett, D. Tarrant, N. Penny, K. Potter.

And so this brings us to the close of the first one hundred years. When you read this booklet you will realise that time would not permit a more detailed version. I have tried to give as much detail at the beginning as possible, then as the history unfolds I hove highlighted the more important events up until the present time. 

My thanks go to the Dimboola Historical Research Group who I might add do not want to stop at this point but would like to carry on and produce a more detailed edition. 

R H Gooding
23rd February 1982

Life Members

1920 Dr G Phillips

1921 G Barmby

1922 Dr A Wood

1922 C E Foreshaw

1922 J Crebbin

1922 J Currie

1926 W C Gazelle

1926 A A Fortington

1926 W H Moulder

1926 A McLennan

1936 W J Cordner

1936 E C Davis

1936 S Muir-Smith

1940 E A Gazelle

1949 L O E Bushby

1955 W J Salter

1955 P C Pilmore

1958 L Howland

1969 A J Milbourne

1969 V E Pratt

1971 W L Taylor

1973 R H Gooding

1973 L H Pearse

1978 E W Walsgott

1982 E J Gazelle

1982 G E Gazelle

1982 W J Watson

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