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History of Leichhardt Rowing Club

On these Bright Waters - A Centennial History of Leichhardt Rowing Club 1886-1986
Reproduced with permission of the author Merle Kavanagh

5. Loss of the Club's First Shed

On 2nd June 1897 the Daily Telegraph at Sydney reported on the previous day's storm—


Along the foreshores of Long Cove an immense amount of damage was done. The Leichhardt Rowing Club's shed was levelled to the water's edge. The building was entirely demolished, and the whole of the club's fleet of boats destroyed, besides two valuable outriggers owned by Mr. W. Lambert, the well-known amateur sculler and several other boats privately owned. ... The value of the boats destroyed is estimated at about £300. The boatshed cost a similar amount. It consisted of a main building 70 ft, long by 35 ft. wide, erected on stone piers 2 ft. above high water mark, and had a verandah at both ends, as also a balcony, for the convenience of visitors desiring to view regattas and club racing events. A large floating stage was provided for the purpose of launching and hauling up boats. Dressing-rooms and caretaker's quarters were conveniently fitted up inside.

W. Lambert sent a telegram to Fred Walsh saying - SEVERE STORM BOATSHED AND BOATS A MASS OF RUINS.

An "Extra Special Meeting" of the members was called in the Bank Chambers of the Leichhardt Town Hall on 8th June 1897 when letters of sympathy were read from Glebe and Balmain Rowing Clubs, Balmain offering free use of boats etc. until such time as the club shed was rebuilt. A subscription list was started and resulted in the sum of £23.9.0 being promised at the meeting, with further subscription lists to be circulated by members, the N.S.W. Rowing Association and the various rowing clubs. Tenders for rebuilding were called for and Mr. W. Smith's tender for £ 103 was accepted. A month or so later, all the old boats, etc. were sold to Mr. Golding for 32/-d. The N.S.W. Rowing Association were asked to forego the club's subscription for 1897. The punt and planking were given in settlement of an account. The club would have to start again.

By August they were negotiating for an eight and a skiff, the subscription lists had been returned with their pledges and the Moonlight Excursions were in full swing and helping to boost the funds. It would not be long before they were rowing their own boats from their own shed again.

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