Scroll To Top
history of australian rowing at olympic games

Olympic Games—Berlin 1936

Men's Eight

Men's Eight

Standing l-r: Elias, Jordan, Einsaar, McKenzie (coach), Wood, Ferguson & Cross. Seated l-r: Mackney, Ella & Gould.


Funds were again a problem with the eight selected on the proviso that it could be funded from sources outside the normal revenue sources of the Australian Olympic Federation. The NSW Police Club intimated that it would have no difficulty in raising the funds to send the eight. Funding came from the NSW Police Federation and the police force itself with all policemen in NSW being levied two shillings per week from their pay.

Police superintendent George Ferguson, the father of Don Ferguson (2 seat) was instrumental in the fund raising and travelled with the team to Berlin as the unofficial team manager.

Cecil Pearce

Cecil Pearce

Cecil Pearce, a cousin of the great Bobby Pearce, gained selection after defeating Australian Champion Herbert Turner. The rowing selectors also nominated Pearce and Turner in a double scull. However the AOF selection committee (which included Kenny who supported the AARC recommendation) rejected this recommendation on the basis that the doubling up would jeopardise Pearce's chances in the single. Pearce's son Gary rowed in the 1964, 1968 and 1972 Games.

Harry Alderson, rower and general manager of the full Australian Team, suggested that a single club representing Australia was not ideal, as only the best in Australia could produce a crew with a chance in Olympic competition.

Australian Team

Men's Single Scull - Eliminated in repechage

Men's Double Scull – Sixth

Men's Eight - Eliminated in repechage

Selectors: Bernie S Williams (NSW), Paddy J Ryan (WA) and Edward Kenny (VIC)


The Germans went to a great deal of effort to make the course at Grunau a success, The Germans dominated the regatta with five gold medals. One of the highlights of this regatta was the gold medal performance of Jack Beresford in the double scull. Beresford, in his fifth Olympic Games and at the age of 37, had a tough race against the German combination of Kaidal and Pirsch who had the better of the British crew in the heat. Beresford won a medal in each Games he attended including 3 gold medals. It is only speculation whether a sixth Olympic Games was possible without the intervention of World War 2.

Single Scull

E1: 1st POL 2nd BRA 3rd EST 4th NED 5th YUG
E2: 1st GER 2nd AUT 3rd CAN 4th AUS 5th USA
E3: 1st SUI 2nd FRA 3rd NOR 4th HUN 5th SAF
E4: 1st GBR 2nd ITA 3rd ARG 4th URU 5th TCH
R1: 1st AUT 2nd NOR 3rd EST 4th HUN
R2: 1st USA 2nd ITA 3rd NED 4th SAF
R3: 1st ARG 2nd TCH 3rd FRA 4th YUG
R4: 1st CAN 2nd AUS 3rd BRA 4th POL
Semi 1: 1st GER 2nd USA 3rd ARG 4th POL
Semi 2: 1st SUI 2nd AUT 3rd CAN 4th GBR
Final: 1st Gustav Schafer (GER) 8:21.5, 2nd Josef Hasenohrl (AUT) 8:25.8, 3rd Daniel Barrow (USA) 8:28.0. 4th CAN, 5th SUI, 6th ARG. (20 scullers)

Pearce trained very impressively in Berlin but suffered a severe cold on the day of his heat and finished fourth. In the repechage he came second and thus was eliminated.

Double Scull

E1: 1st FRA 2nd POL 3rd NED 4th AUS 5th USA 6th TCH
E2: 1st GER 2nd GBR 3rd SUI 4th YUG 5th AUT 6th BRA
R1: 1st AUS 2nd POL 3rd HUN 4th SUI 5th BRA
R2: 1st GBR 2nd USA 3rd TCH 4th YUG 5th AUT
Final: 1st GBR (Jack Beresford and Leslie Southwood) 7:20.8, 2nd GER 7:26.2, 3rd POL 7:36.2. 4th FRA 5th USA 6th AUS (12 crews)

The best result at the regatta came from the reserves in the double. The heat result was fair with a fourth placing. The big result was in the repechage with a fine win. The result in the final was a good result bearing in mind Dixon had not sculled before selection.


E1: 1st USA 2nd GBR 3rd FRA 4th JPN 5th TCH
E2: 1st HUN 2nd ITA 3rd CAN 4th AUS 5th BRA
E3: 1st SUI 2nd GER 3rd YUG 4th DEN
R1: 1st GER 2nd AUS 3rd TCH 4th DEN
R2: 1st ITA 2nd JPN 3rd YUG 4th BRA
R3: 1st GBR 2nd CAN 3rd FRA
Final: 1st USA (Herbert Morris, Charles Day, Gordon Adam, John White, James McMillin, George Hunt, Joseph Rantz, Donald Hume, Robert Moch) 6:25.4, 2nd ITA 6:26.0, 3rd GER 6:26.4, 4th GBR 5th HUN 6th SUI (14 crews).

The eight's result was disappointing coming fourth in the heat and being eliminated in the repechage.

Other Racing

Men's Pair without cox

1st GER (Willi Eichorn & Hugo Strauss) 8:16.1, 2nd DEN 8:19.2, 3rd ARG 8:23.0. (13 crews)

Men's Pair with cox

1st GER (Gerhard Gustmann, Herbert Adamski, Dieter Arend) 8:36.9, 2nd ITA 8:49.7, 3rd FRA 8:54.0 (12 crews)

Men's Four without cox

1st GER (Rudolf Eckstein, Anton Rom, Martin Karl, Wilhelm Menne) 7:01.8, 2nd GBR 7:06.5, 3rd SUI 7:10.6. (9 crews)

Men's Four with cox

1st GER (Hans Maier, Walter Volle, Erbst Gaber, Paul Sollner, Fritz Bauer) 7:16.2, 2nd SUI 7:24.3, 3rd FRA 7:33.3. (16 crews)

Website by Hope Stewart—Website Design & Management