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history of richmond rowing club melbourne australia

History of Richmond Rowing Club

Social & Fundraising

1920 Richmond cricket match

1920s Richmond Rowing Club cricket match

Social events have always formed an important part of the club's life. Looking back at some of the earliest annual reports we have found that the Annual General Meeting was always followed by a club social event, perhaps even somewhat similar to that which current members enjoyed just this year to mark the 150th Annual General Meeting!

There would have been a distinct difference though, as from 1926 to 1975 the event was termed a "smoke social". This was a predominantly Australian term for a gentlemen's only evening where men gathered to smoke tobacco together and held an allure of classy behavior and social respectability for participating men. Having spoken to our very own Ray Dennis who remembers these evenings fondly, the RRC events were widely revered and often involved a classical and civilized piano revue.

In the 1930s 'The Ladies Committee operated independently of the Club Committee and had its own President, Secretary and Treasurer. It met monthly and was heavily involved in arranging

a series of dances and other events. The enterprising Ladies Committee even organised a Steamer to take Club spectators down to regatta Championship events which in those days were generally held on the Lower Yarra Course downstream from the Spencer Street Bridge over a distance of 2 ½ miles (4kmsl. Both sides of the river were lined with busy shipping wharves [North Wharf and South Wharf] and viewing the races from the river banks would have been exceedingly difficult. The activity even resulted in a profit for the club on the day. Their efforts in 1931 alone rewarded the Club with a new eight, christened "The Ladies" on "Ladies Day" and a set of racing blades. Overall the ladies committee generated 21.4% of the Clubs income for the year.

2003 Richmond cake stall

Cake stall fundraiser 2003

In 1933 the club boasted a fully functioning Social Committee of 9 members including office bearers and committee which were solely responsible for all of the Club's numerous official social activities. In addition the Ladies Committee continued to organise functions within its "own sphere" such as tennis tournaments and picnics providing valuable support and it is interesting to compare their contribution in 1934 of £178.0.0 to the club total income with the members' subscriptions totalling £219.6.6.

By 1936 a third social group joined the fundraising and organisational planning with the Old Boys' Club contributing as well. Nearly 25% of club revenues for the year came from these social groups and the Balance Sheet for that year showed that by year's end the club had repaid all its debts.

1951-52 Corio Bay picnic

Corio Bay Picnic, 1951-52

Mothers, wives and friends of members began hosting the popular new event of square dancing at the club house in 1952. The fifties saw dances being held every two weeks with rowers and friends from many other local clubs joining together to make them successful events. The season of 1955-56 saw a 500% increase in the rent which clearly put pressure on the club to increase its fundraising activities so after a few quiet years a very active social committee was formed for the season on 1957-58. The ladies organised house parties and dances attracting members from many other clubs to enjoy Richmond hospitality and raising £300. Their untiring efforts were a great help to the clubs financial position. In the following years to move with the times the senior dances were gradually replaced by the popular monthly "teenage dance".

For many years Richmond has had strong links with other Victorian based rowing clubs and a regular event in the calendar was the Corio Bay Fours. Corio Bay club members, relatives and friends would visit as our guests and compete in combination four races followed by a luncheon and the afternoon comprising of a social event such as music and dance. The reciprocal arrangement would occur later in the year when Corio Bay played host to Richmond members for some fun racing, a BBQ and then an afternoon football match. In 1957 the event hosted by Richmond attracted 120 people!

Moving with the times a young group of seven men formed the social committee of 1961-62. Card nights were a new popular form of socialising and fundraising but to cater for all members and all ages great variety was employed for events with other highlights including a theatre night, slide night and for the more adventurous a Car Trial

After the club opened its doors to female members the 1980s saw the welcoming of schoolgirls to the clubhouse with Methodist Ladies College taking up residence in the boatshed. The rent received from the school rowing club has been an important addition to club finances.

1992 saw the social committee organise a range of events to introduce new members to the club and bring in more funds. These included pizza, film and cheese nights, race luncheons and a trivia night. The famous Judy's Jaffles were a popular regular addition to club days and in recent years the culinary delights of Mike's lasagne have been enjoyed by many hungry rowers after

a hard evening training. Good food and not least good coffee do seem to go hand in hand with the Richmond culture and why not? After a hard morning session nothing tastes better than a bowl of coffee and a waffle from Mark in Degraves Street, and it is a well practiced ritual that calories are replaced at 'The London after the exertions of weights or boxercise with John at Richmond football club. Off water training comes in all shapes and sizes - the "Tigers on Wheels" offer an alternative leg workout but did you know that some more unique training sessions have included touch rugby, water aerobics and a mini surf carnival on Elwood Beach in 2003.

2010 Tigers on wheels

Tigers on wheels, Around the Bay 2010

Recent years have seen many people get involved to help keep our bank balance in the black with ergothons, chocolate drives, sausage sizzles, raffles and selling Christmas cards. Just 24 hours of non-stop rowing in 2006 led to $11,000 raised for the club funding our very own custom built brand new boat trailer and imagine where we would be without it?

2004 ergothon

Ergothon, 2004

Current members will also appreciate the amazing annual trivia nights which combine the great spirit of the club and also bring in precious funds. In 2011 this one event raised over $8000 and brought together a lot of people for a fun, if not slightly brain bamboozling Saturday night.

2012 Christmas dinner

Christmas Dinner, 2012

Donations have always been a big contributor to healthy club funds and with the introduction of a tax deductible donation scheme through the Australian Sports Foundation [ASF] Richmond has been able to benefit greatly from the kindness and generosity of members, friends and associates. With thanks to many hard working committee members over the last few years the club has also enjoyed grant success with our community and volunteer status being acknowledged by government and commercial sources. The club just could not survive without this input.

Today one of our biggest sources of income is from the hire of our hall to external parties. We are privileged to have a stunning outlook over the city of Melbourne and our central location is second to none making us a highly desirable venue.

Who could think of a better way to ring in the new millennium than joining together with friends at our very own clubhouse? Some lucky members celebrated this momentous event with the bar open and the most enviable viewing spot for the spectacular firework display.

We are all eagerly awaiting our new clubhouse redevelopment and that stunning deck which will no doubt increase not only our attraction to private hire but will also be a place for members and friends of Richmond Rowing Club to relax and enjoy many more years of fun and activity.

Without the generosity of so many people with their time, effort and money this redevelopment could not happen and representing the current members of the club we would like to recognise all those before who have contributed to make Richmond what it is today and long may it continue.

Website by Hope Stewart—Website Design & Management