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History of Preston Rowing Club in Melbourne Victoria Australia

History of Preston Rowing Club

Chapter 2 - Boathouse

At this time boat housing was primitive, but effective, for when not in use boats were sunk in the Lake. As cattle had a habit of stepping in the sunken boats it was necessary for repairs to be done before each row. This made members determined to erect a clubhouse, and so, setting to work we soon had sufficient money to build what is now the north wing of the present sheds. Mr. Frank Hannaford, our treasurer, turned the first sod in the presence of an enthusiastic working bee (on April 2. 1921) who soon had the wing finished. Colonel William Braithwaite presented the club with a clinker racing four "The Captain Braithwaite M.C." We are proud to be still using this boat and winning races in it. During the season the ladies raised £44 for club funds, and so 1922 season opened with the club in great heart.

At Ballarat and Barwon regattas we celebrate our first wins when F. Mills (bow), F. Mathieson (2), G. Jones (3), E. Edington (str.) won the lightweight fours easily.

Having liquidated the debt on the first wing it was decided to erect another wing. To finance this the Preston Council was approached for permission to hold carnivals in the Park on Easter Saturday and Monday these to be an annual event. Permission having been granted, the first carnival was held and proved to be a big success, £130 being raised. With this good start the building of the shed was continued working bees putting in many tedious hours on this job.

After the success and enterprise shown by the members in 1922 the next two seasons went very quietly. The Easter carnivals were still held but the weather at this time of the year was not congenial to outdoor functions .and they did not prove the success that the work put into them warranted. After this quiet period 1924-5 was to see a revival of the club's fortunes.

Frank Hannaford, our treasurer, by the sale of soft drinks to members had raised enough money to purchase a racing pair. This boat which was named Frank Hannaford, is still in use and has carried the club's crews to many victories, including two State Championships. The carnival, after a trying two seasons, was a huge success, this being mainly due to an enthusiastic committee led by Frank Mathieson as secretary and manager.

The club had at this time two wings of the shed finished, these being about 20 feet wide and 80 feet long with a space of 30 feet between. It was now thought opportune to complete the building of the clubhouse. Plans and specifications were produced by members Clarrie Marshall and Harold Bartlett and as this undertaking was too big for the usual working bee the assistance of the Preston Council was sought. The council, seeing the benefit to be derived by such a fine building in the district arranged for tenders to be let to finish the shed, the club to repay the amount by the proceeds of the annual carnival. The shed being completed, it was officially opened on the 7th of May, 1927. The Mayor of Preston, Cr. A. E. Newton, performed the ceremony before a large gathering of visitors. At the close of this season our president, Mr. J. P. Kellam resigned after holding that office for seven years.


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