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History of Jeparit Rowing Club

Jeparit Rowing Club was formed in 1909 on the Wimmera River and was wound up in 1922. Jeparit is situated near Lake Hindmarsh which is beautiful when it has water.

The club raced under the black and white colours.

The Wimmera Rowing Association serviced the three rowing clubs of the district, Antwerp, Dimboola and Jeparit.

The claim to fame of this town is that Australia's longest serving Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, was born here. His father was a local shopkeeper and an inaugural Vice-President of the Jeparit Rowing Club. Menzies was educated at the local school and became a scholarship winner. Otherwise it is a small country town servicing the wheat belt that surrounds it.

What continues to astound all who review the towns history, is the extraordinary number of soldiers it offered to the war effort in WWI. The following are those who enlisted from the Jeparit Rowing Club alone.

John Allen William H Gunn Herbert S Madden MM
James M Almond Clarence E. Hamdorf Clarence Mann
F. Barry Norman T Hiscock David H Osmond
Thomas Bell V. Hutchinson Herman Schulze
G J Brown G T Knight C C Shiell
K. Burn W. Lamont Frederick C Stride 
A. Caldwell William G Lane F. Tricks
Simon F CoatesAlbert E Lester J R B Wall 
Robert J Currie Edward R Lester R. Wells
R. Dixon Douglas Livingston W. West
Berthold Fritsch George Livingston Reuben F W Womersley
F. Girdlor Clifton B Logan  
Ira W Gunn Percival Loxton  

One side of the War Memorial in Jeparit

The club did not survive post WWI well and it, along with the Wimmera Rowing Association, eventually failed in 1922. There are no visible signs of the rowing club remaining.

The following medals were won by George Livingston at the Jeparit and Antwerp Regattas.

A medal won by George Lingston at the Jeparit Regatta of unknown date

Another medal won by George Livingston, this time at the Antwerp Regatta of unknown date

The following history of the Club appeared in a booklet "Our Jeparit", a souvenir of the Back to Jeparit held in 1980. The author is unknown.

On November 2nd 1909 a meeting was held at Cordner's Hindmarsh Hotel to form a Rowing Club. 

Those present were H. Block, J. R. McDonald, Hutchinson, Almond, Reichelt, Murchie, Helyer, Coyne, Cherry, George, Holden, Hiscock, House, Franklin, Newsome, Boreham, Wells, T. Livingston, Williams, Bissett, Jas. Menzies, Caldwell, Glenton and Dr. F. Gawne. 

Mr. Hutchinson moved and Mr. Murchie seconded that a club to be known as the Jeparit Rowing Club be formed. 

Mr. H. Block was elected president and vice presidents were H. Cordner, J.McDonald, P. Glenton, J. Menzies and Dr. F. Gawne.

The secretary was Mr. Thompson and the position of treasurer was taken over by Mr. Almond. 

The annual membership was priced at ten shillings and six pence. The Antwerp Rowing Club had made an offer of a boat and oars for one pound, and it was agreed to accept this generous offer. 

It was decided to leave the choice of a bank to a game of chance. 

Both names were placed in a hot and the first one drawn out was the lucky one. The National Bank won the deal but records quote the club as being in the red quite often. 

It appears that one time the club was concerned about its overdraft of two pounds, one shilling and nine pence. M. Kenneally known for his generosity, paid it out of his own pocket at the meeting. 

The next meeting was held at Rowe's Hopetoun House Hotel on the 11th November to accept regulations and by-laws. 

Jeparit Rowing Club was now a reality. 

After these two meetings, well attended regular meetings were held every month at alternate hotels. An occasional meeting was held in the Mechanic's Institute. With the help of the other two clubs, Dimboola and Antwerp, a regatta was held annually in November.

In 1915 all three clubs ran their regattas for patriotic purposes, namely the fund for Australian wounded soldiers. 

The poster for these regattas is pasted in the minute book. The following extract from the minute book of November 6th, 1915 covers a selection of boat crews to represent Jeparit at the local regatta and later at Dimboola. 

For the Jeparit Regatta:


Str: A Parker
3: R Parker
2: J House
Bow: G Eldridge

Str: D Gray
3: H Kirby
2: W Lamont
Bow: R Jenkins

Str: G Ridley
3: H Kirby
2: R Hudson
Bow: D Livingstone

For the Dimboola Regatta:


Str: A Parker
3: R Parker
2: J House
Bow: G Eldridge
No entryMaiden

Str: G Ridley
3: H Kirby
2: R Hudson
Bow: D Livingstone

Junior Pairs

Str: J Parker
Bow: R Parker

In the early years of the club the boats were housed in the A & P Society's shed. On the 26th April, 1910 application was made for the land on which to build boat sheds. This land was the site where the tennis courts are now situated.

A working bee was arranged for the 15th November 1910, and with the material from G. Chaplins timber yards at a cost of 37 pound, 16 shillings and 7 pence, the building was ready for use. 

Dr. F. Gawne, who was the proud owner of a motorboat, acted as official starter for possibly all the years the club was active. 

He was also referee with the president of the day. David Lindsay was the starter for many years of all land events. 

In 1918 several local youths broke into the boat sheds and caused considerable damage to the boats and also the building. It was several months before the damage was repaired, but the incident left its mark in Jeparit. This group of teenagers was considered, by those affected by the destruction, a mob of Bolsheviks, possibly because of the name sake in Russia at that time.

As most of these lads were members of Jeparit seconds football team, the title was abbreviated to "Bolshies" and applied to the Seconds. This is how they became the "Bolshies" until the more appropriate title of "Reserves" was bestowed upon them. 

In reviewing the minute book there are several items that bear comparison with the present day. During the years of operation, it could have been the most successful club in the town. 

This is borne out by the membership consisting of a very broad section of the community. A glance through the list of names will endorse this point. The meetings were held monthly for almost the full period and were well attended by the members who offered their services in no uncertain manner. 

There are many outstanding members, but we would have to agree that the most outstanding was Dr. F. Gawne. It is difficult to believe that this gentleman found time to be involved with almost every activity in Jeparit, and at the same time attend to a one-man medical practice. He was one of the instigators of this club, and his name appears in the minutes of the first meeting and also in the last one in 1922.

Membership fees varied from five shilling (50 cents) to ten shillings and six pence ($1.05).

Special trains were run from Dimboola and Rainbow for the regatta, and the guarantee for the Dimboola train was twelve pound, 7 shillings and 6 pence. 

The handwriting in the minute book which covers all meetings from 2 11-1909 to 27-9-22, displays a fine exhibition of the copy book style. Dave Osmond was the last secretary. 

The boat sheds were shifted to the showgrounds for use by the footballers as a training room. The Aquatic Club replaced the Rowing Club and this would have been around 1922. The evidence to support this is a medal presented for Maiden Fours by the Aquatic Club in 1922. 

The only reminder of the Rowing Club is the straight stretch of water used for boat races.

Rowing Club Members - 1909-1922

(Editor: There appears to be errors when compared to the WWI honour list so it unlikely to be an accurate list.)

 Ackland, WKumnick
Ainslie, J
Kossatz, E
Kerr, R
Allen, John
Laing, S
Livingston, J
Anderson, A
Livingston, George
Armitage, ALivingston, T
Block, H JLoxton, Percival
Boreham, HLamont, W
Brown, G JLane, William G
BrochlebankLindsay, D
Baker, AMenzel
Barry, FMorely
Barker, EMiller
Cordner, HMiatke, F
Coyne, JMorgan
Caldwell, WMiliken
Currie, Rob JMathieson
Coates, SMaddern, R
Cobbett, T CMaddern, H S
Calder, WMoore, A J
ConnellMann, Clarence
Carruthers, RMenzies, Jas
Cameron WMcDonald, J R
Chaplin, GMcLigton, M
Dixon, RNewson
DiwellNatt, E
DanaherNatt, R E
DreherNeil, E
DaltonOsmond, David H
DickensonParker, R
DaveyParker, A
DouglasPfeiffer, C
Eldridge, GPearce, E
Fehlberg, PasPowell
Fritsch, APenny
Gawne, Dr FPage
Gloury, FRolfe
Gunn, FReichelt
GlintonRowe, J
Gardiner, AReid
Garrard, JRobson, G
Goebel, WRidley
Gray, D DRichardson
GrahamSpence, D
Haebich, AStone
Hennessy, JSherry, B
House, JShield, C C
HelyerStride, Frederick C
Holden, ISmith
Hiscock, H USheehan, B
HolmesSturtzell, W
HutchessonStrauss, F
HammondSchulze, Herman
Hamdorf, HSummers
Hill, AShannasy
Hiscock, W OTrengrove, W
Harrop, WThompson, W H
HudsonTwartz, A
HoffmanTurvey, G
Jenz, JTricks, F
Jolly, JThomas
JenkinsWard, A E
Kelly, WWallace
Kenneally, MWells, R
Knight, CWhitney, J B
Kneale, EWilson
Kuhne, FWomersley, Reuben F W
KrugerWilliams, A
Keir, B TWeseman
Kossatz, E
Kerr, R


  1. Visit by Graham Drage in September 2021
  2. The Victorian Oarsman by John Lang, published by Massina & Coy, 1919.
  3. Booklet "Our Jeparit", a souvenir of the Back to Jeparit held in 1980 provided by Gaye Golder, grand-daughter of George Livingston in May 2022. The author and publisher are unknown.
  4. Photographs of medals provided by Gaye Golder, grand-daughter of George Livingston, a member of the club.

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