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History of Tamar Rowing Club

Tamar Rowing Club, Launceston TAS

Tamar Rowing Club is one of the oldest continuing rowing clubs in Australia having been established in 1876. It has a proud history in the sport and has produced many top rowers including Olympic Champions.

The attached few pages provide some historical materials on the club.

In 2021, Jim Guy prepared a book Tamar Rowing Club Snapshot which can be found through this link. In his words, "Tamar Snapshot is a scrapbook of people and events from my fifty years or so at the Tamar Rowing Club as a rower, Captain, Coach, Chairman, President and Life Member." It is a very interesting and informative publication.

Book cover

The following outline of key milestones in the club's history from 1876 to 2006 comes from information displayed on the walls of their boathouse.

Brief Chronology 1876-2006

1876A meeting between the Tamar Boating Club (est.1870) and the Cataract Rowing Club (est. 1874) resulted in the formation of the Tamar Rowing Club. Design of Club Flag adopted. First President W.H. Westbrook Esq.
1877Work started on the clubhouse by Connolly and Sanders. Building dimensions – 50 ft long, 30 ft wide and 12 ft to eaves. Building completed in mid-November 1877 at a cost of 137 pounds.
1879The Annual Meeting elected Hon George T Collins as President. a position that he held until resignation, due to ill health, in 1922. Mr Collins served as patron until his death in 1927.
1883-84Boathouse enlarged by an additional 45 ft at a cost of 145 pounds.
Club colours altered from light blue to navy blue.
1886-87Caretaker's cottage completed by Robson Bros. at a cost of 228 pounds.
Club crews competed interstate for the first time.
1887-88A thirty-year lease of clubhouse property was negotiated.
1890-91Viewing balconies and additional boat bay area of 20 ft x 100 ft were added by Mr J Cowling, cost 500 pounds. 
1902-03Club member, T.H. Bourke, Tasmania's first ever representative in the Australian sculling Championship, won the event by twenty lengths. He followed this victory with wins in 1903/04 and 1904/05.
1903-04Electric lighting installed in clubhouse.
Club won first ever State Championships for fours and sculls.
1904-05Original part of clubhouse built in 1877 was rebuilt by J & T Gunn at a cost of 550 pounds.
1905-06Club won first maiden eight event rowed in Tasmania.
Club won the first State Pennant presented by Tasmanian Rowing Association.
Two club members F H Stephens (3) & K Heritage (7) represented Tasmania in its first ever win in the inter-state eights competition - see image below. 
1909-10Club won Stewards Challenge Cup at Melbourne Henley - first interstate club crew to win this event. Henley on Yarra in 1910 below.
1912-13President W.O. Layh Esq. joined club. Mr Layh was elected Treasurer in the 1920/21 season, auditor in 1923 and has been actively involved in the club ever since as Vice-President, President & Trustee.
1928-29The club enjoyed probably its most successful season in winning State Senior Championships in eights, fours and pairs, the TRA pennant, NTRA pennant and Stewards Challenge Cup - fours (Henley Vic) - image below.
Disaster also struck in the same season when floods caused extensive damage to clubhouse and boats. Renovations and replacements cost over 1000 pounds.
1940/41Through the generosity of W E Rainbird Esq, who made an interest-free loan available to the club, the club purchased from the Barriers Estate the land on which they were situated. 
1947-48Donations from past oarsmen resulted in the club’s first boat purchase for many years. The regulation four was called 'Old Members'.
Club created a State record when its eight-oared crew qualified from maiden class to win a senior eight in the same season.
1951-52With only twelve rowing members, the club set a record winning the state and Northern Pennant.
Post-war fleet of boats added to with delivery of racing eight ‘Frank Davidson’ named after club President.
1952-53Seven club members and coach represented Tasmania in Kings Cup Regatta. 
1954-55Club names new four-oared shell after senior Vice President, Mr Jack Routley. 
1960-61Club wins senior eight and junior eight championships, state pennant and northern pennant.
1966-67Caretaker's cottage built in 1886 was destroyed by fire. 
1971Clubhouse purchased by Tasmanian Government to make way for Paterson Bridge.
1971-72Club boated from temporary premise situated at the southern end of Royal Park. The temporary premise were made available by the Tasmanian Government on land leased from the Launceston City Council.
1973Construction of new clubhouse by T J & B Vinpany commenced on land made available by Tasmanian Government – T V Tandy, Architect.
Club takes delivery of new four and new eight oared shells. The four was named ‘Michael Goodger’, a former club captain and the eight ‘Allan Cunningham’ after a former club secretary. 
New clubhouse officially opened - by Premier Hon Eric Reece.
1974-75A R Marchal selected in Kings Cup 
1975-76Celebrated the club’s centenary.
Tamar was host club for visiting NZ and NSW crews in Colts crew race held on the Home Reach course. New pair ‘Plummer Brothers’ was purchased from Sargent & Burton.
1977-78Death of President Mr W O Layh.
Mark James and Ventry Lightbody selected for Tasmanian youth regatta in Ballarat.
1978-79Purchased new eight ‘W O Layh’ (donated by W O Layh estate), and convertible coxless four ‘Jim McIntee’. Mark James selected in Tasmanian Youth squad to compete at West Lakes. 
1979-80Mark James and Ventry Lightbody selected for Tasmanian youth regatta in Ballarat. 
1980-81Mark James, Robbie Weeks, Susan Young, Lee Beswick, Kerry Loosemore and Craig Loosemore represented Tasmania at Nationals at Hinze Dam Qld. 
1981-82Tamar won the NTRA Pennant and ran second to Buckingham in the State pennant. 
Mark Wilson selected in Tasmanian Kings Cup Crew. 
Susan Young was a member of Tasmanian Ladies four. 
Navy Blues purchased a new aluminum flag pole.
1982-83Won State Pennant. Mark Wilson rowed in Tasmanian Kings Crew, Julie Shegog rowed in the women’s elite four, Glenn Myler (cox), Simon Frost, Angus Roberts and Jason Seville were members of the Tasmanian Youth eight in Perth WA. 
Donation from Navy Blues enabled purchase of coxed/coxless four ‘Navy Blues’. 
1983-84Won the Northern Pennant. State Selections for Tasmania were: Youth eight - Glenn Myler, Simon Frost, Dan Wyly. C Saville, Michael Cox and M Roach (coach). 
King’s Cup - M James, and M Wilson. 
Women’s elite four - S Young, J Shegog. 
Lightweight four B Symons (Cox) and Linda Winzenberg. 
1984-85Mark Wilson, Mike Davis, Glenn Myler. Simon Frost, Michael Cox and M Roach (coach) selected in Tasmania King’s Cup crew. Scott Oakey selected in state youth eight.
1985-86Glenn Myler selected to represent Australia in the Commonwealth Games in stroke seat men’s heavyweight pairs at Edinburgh. First Tamar club member to represent Australia at Commonwealth Games.
1986-87Tamar (J Poynter, Mike Davis, Dan Wyly and Tim Robertson) combined with Mersey to win senior eight Championship. 
Allan Cunningham (President Tamar Rowing Club) awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for services to rowing. 
Glenn Myler represented Australia at the World University Championship in Yugoslavia rowing in a pair. Tasmanian representation for Glenn Myler in the President’s Sculls. 
1987-88Past president and club stalwart Jack Routley died. 
1989-90Geoff Foley and Rik Bryan selected in Tasmanian Youth eight. 
Glenn Myler selected to represent Australia in the men’s coxed four at the World Rowing Championships at Lake Barrington - back row second from left.
1990-91Phil Frith past President and life member died.
Purchase of new coxless pair/double scull ‘Clive Blazely’. 
1992-93Purchased new four ‘Alan & Derris Kitto’.
1993-94Anne Green selected to cox Tasmanian Kings cup crew, the first woman to cox a King’s Cup eight in Australia.
1997-98Deanne Grant, rowing in Tamar colours, takes up scholarship at the AlS in Canberra - gained position in Australian Rowing team.
Brendan Long is invited to the TIS.
1998-99Purchased new boats ‘Alan & Derris Kitto’ sweep four quad (new boat) and pair double ‘Navy Blues’. 
Brendan Long selected in Australian under 23 quad to compete at the Nations Cup in Hamburg.
1999-00Club members Michael Goodger, Rik Bryan, and Kerry Bligh selected as boat race officials for Sydney Olympics.
Clubrooms flooded during the annual dinner by extremely high tide. Members sense of humour and determination ensured the night was a success.
2000-01Discussion was held on a proposed Northern Rowing Complex at the Seaport. A special subcommittee of Alan Kitto, Jo Clarke, and Jim Guy was formed to prepare a strategic plan and evaluate the proposal. A special meeting was held and it was decided to stay at our current location with extensive upgrading.
Brendan Long selected to row in the Australian team at Lucerne. Stacey Curbit selected in Tasmanian youth Olympic team. 
Celebrated clubs 125th Anniversary.
2001-02Purchase of new eight ‘Tamar Spirit’.
Flood levy built around club facility with a government grant of $5,000 from Dept of Sport and Recreation.
Brendan Long represented Australia at Nations Cup in Linz, World Cup Munich and World Championship Lucerne.
2002-03Brendan Long selected to compete for Australian in men’s heavyweight quad scull at Milan Italy.
2003-04Club purchased two double sculls pair ‘Brendan Long’ & ‘Raise the bar’, and a quad/sweep four coxless ‘Jim Guy’.
Pontoon washed away and demolished and was replaced. 
The club won the State Championship men’s senior eight (first time since 1961) in its own right. The crew was William Brieir, Blair Tunevitsch, Aaron Ling, Sam Pelzer, Sam Gale, Mathew Wyton, Flynn Ruddick, Nick Wynwood, Lizzie McQuestin (cox) James Russell (coach). 
Brendan Long selected to represent Australia in the men’s double scull at the Athens Olympics.
2005-06Dominic Monypenny wins gold at the World Rowing Championships in Gifu Japan in men’s adaptive arms only single scull.  
At the Australian Championships held at Lake Barrington Tamar had the following results.
  • Brendan Long won gold in OM2X, and rowed in Tasmanian Kings Cup Crew.
  • Blair Tunevitsch won - gold in U23ML1X, silver in U23ML4 and bronze in ML4x, selected in Australian U234X to compete at Hazenwinkel Belgium. Winner Tasmanian Championship men’s eight.
  • Dominic Monypenny- won gold in Adaptive men’s fixed seat scull and selected to row for Australia in Germany, Poland and defend his World Championship at Eton in UK.
  • William Brieir - Won Bronze in ML4X. Rowed in Tasmanian Youth 8.
  • Ingrid Fenger - Won gold in U23WL1X, U23WL2x and U23WL4X, bronze Victoria Cup and invited to attend Australian Selection trial at Penrith.
  • Megan Hibb - Won silver in U23WL1X, gold in U23WL2X and U23WL4x, bronze in Victoria Cup and invited to attend Australian selection trials at Penrith.
  • Rebekah Tunevitsch - Won Bronze in Tasmanian Queen's Cup 8.
  • Carly Cottam Won Gold in U23WL4X
  • Lizzie Ferench - Rowed in Tasmanian Youth 8.

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