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History of Fremantle Rowing Club 1887-1987

By Ralph Jeffreys

2. Rowing Success 1897 - 1907

Chapter Two page 1 2

During the seasons 1904-5 the men mentioned rowed with distinction. It was mainly due to their services that the Club was placed in a high position in pennant racing. Also at this period the old boat shed began to cause anxiety. It was entirely built on piles with access by a "cat walk" from the river bank. The shed jutted out 70 feet and terminated in a slipway. The piles were worm-eaten and the whole structure very unstable.

Worries increased when during a blow the slipway moved bodily and caused damage to the outer end of the shed. As the slip could not be reconditioned it was dismantled and the Government drove further piles gratis, upon which a new fan shaped slip was constructed. This stood for a few years and then disappeared. A search revealed its location out in the river and as it was too great a task to recover same, it was abandoned. If this slip is at any time in the far future recovered from the bed of the river what thoughts will be conjured up as to its original use?

Prior to this the dressing accommodation was inadequate and as funds were available a dressing shed was designed to be built on the area between the shore end of the boat shed and on to the small river beach. The area involved was approximately 30 feet x 40 feet. Tenders were called and Alf Tilley built this addition which as well as a dressing shed was used by the Club for Social Functions including Dances. The shed was taken over by the Army Authorities during the 1939-1945 conflict and was used as a submarine repair work shop. This shed remained until 1961 when it was dismantled to make way for up river harbour extensions.

The Club started the 1906 season with victories in the Senior and Junior classes, and later the Maiden men performed well. Successes spurred the members on but it was realized that without a racing eight the capturing of the Premiership Pennant was difficult. The matter of acquiring an "eight" was discussed and late in August it was decided to appeal to supporters for funds to purchase a boat. A subscription list speedily filled and in less than two days the Club had purchased a racing eight from Ormond College Melbourne

The boat was duly shipped and arrived in Fremantle on 11th October 1906, ten days before the race which was to decide the Pennant. The Club shed was not long enough to accommodate the boat so Edwin Duffield of Beach Street gave permission to store the boat under the pine trees on his front lawn. Beach Street was the street onto which the Rowing Club abutted and ran along the southern river bank. Duffield's house was some 300 yards towards Fremantle from the Rowing Club. The move meant difficulty in embarking and disembarking but this in no way dampened the enthusiasm of the crew seated as follow: T.J. Lovegrove (Str.), S.A. Mews (7), A.C. Manuelle (6), R.T. Brown (5), H.T. Woods (4), J.T. Prince (3), W. Taylor (2), J.W. Hugall (Bow), M. Pamment (Cox) and F.E. Shaw (Coach). The crew had nine rows in the boat and met the Perth Clubs on the Canning River on 22nd October, 1906. The Swan River Club boated a very strong crew with H.B. Stone stroke and in all contained seven men with Interstate Eight racing experience. Fremantle led from the start moving out with a 41 stroke a minute rating being clear leaders at the half way mark and drawing away to be two lengths clear at the finish thus winning their first eight oared race at the first attempt and in addition securing the Championship Pennant.

1906 Senior Eight

1906 Senior Eight

T J Lovegrove, (str), S A Mews , A C Manuelle, R T Brown, H T Woods, J T Prince, W Taylor, J W Hugall, M Pamment (cox), F E Shaw (Coach)

During May 1906 the first Interstate Eight Oared Race was rowed on the Swan River on the three mile course from Applecross to the Narrows and Syd Mews represented the Fremantle Club in the W.A. Crew. The result of this race - Tasmania lst, Victoria 2nd, New South Wales 3rd, Western Australia 4th and South Australia 5th. This was the first win by Tasmania and brought to an end a succession of twelve wins by Victoria. The time for the race was 15 minutes 57 seconds.

1906 WA crew

1906 WA crew

Shortly after the 1906 Canning Regatta, consideration was given by the W.A. Rowing Association for a crew to visit Adelaide for the 1907 race. A Selection Committee was appointed who immediately selected T.J. Lovegrove Stroke and E.E. Shaw Coach and other members finally selected to the crew were Syd Mews, Alf Manuelle, Jack Hugall, Bill Taylor and Malcolm Pamment (cox) which meant that Fremantle Club had six representatives in the crew. The race result was Victoria lst, Tasmania 2nd, Queensland 3rd. New South Wales 4th, Western Australia 5th and South Australia 6th. Time 17 minutes 4 seconds.

1907 King's Cup crew

1907 WA crew

When the crew returned home after the race their enthusiasm waned and for the time being at least the Club lost their services and during 1907 Season members performed very poorly in regatta racing. In subsequent years difficulty was experienced in boating crews and the Club was usually low on the Premiership list.

Chapter Two page 1 2

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