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australian rowers profiles and history

Arthur W Adams KC

Mercantile Rowing Club and Melbourne University Boat Club (VIC)

7th January 1842 - 30 March 2024

Arthur William Adams KC was a life long rower who loved the sport and supported his interest through membership of both Mercantile Rowing Club and Melbourne University Boat Club, as well as being a subscriber of the Melbourne Amateur Regatta Association. His successes at the Australian Henley Regatta with Mercantile and at the Australian University Championships with Melbourne University, created this long standing interest in all these entities.

Xavier College was where Arthur learned his rowing craft, finishing his school years in the seven seat of the First VIII, along with other future prominent members of the sport including Mike McKenna, Mal McKenzie and Jim Gurry. The tradition of Xavier College rowers not succeeding at school but performing well in the Club environment was again evident with Arthur and his rowing friends.

The first season out of school was with Mercantile. He was successful after a couple races where things did not go to plan, including a damaged boat at the Ballarat Regatta causing a withdrawal. However the win at Australian Henley in 1960 would have been a highlight not only of that season, but memorable thereafter. This boat included such luminaries of the sport such as David Yunghans, David Hume and Geoff Speed, all great personalities. He finished the season racing in an open eight.

His second season was in the junior ranks and again successful, and again after a loss at an earlier regatta. The highlight was again Australian Henley with a one foot win in the final after thrilling victories in the heat and semi-final. Arthur's first attempt at the Australian Universities Championship was unsuccessful when at about the half way mark of the men's eights, his crew, which were well placed at the time, lost their bow man and did not finish. A loss in 1962 was rectified in 1963 with a good win.

The 1962 season brought forward Arthur's first Victorian Championship in the Junior Eights in a crew with plenty of great characters including his '59 Xavier first crew colleagues Mal McKenzie and Mike McKenna and also Bob Lachal and Dick Garrard, all big personalities and great rowers. Arthur would have fitted in superbly with this group. Arthur raced in the senior eight at Henley this season, albeit unsuccessfully.

Arthur studied at Newman College and was a member of that College's first winning intercollegiate crew in 1963, rowing in the seven seat as usual.

1963 University crew with the Oxford and Cambridge Cup
Standing left to right - Bill Dobson, Tony Wilson, Mark Schapper (on Tony's shoulders), Arthur Adams, Chester Keon-Cohen, Ian Bult, Front Bill Stokes, Ian Galbraith and Campbell Penfold

Finally, other than racing in 1963 Australian University Championships successfully, Arthur focused on his legal studies but always maintained his interest in the sport, including a 64 year membership of Mercantile Rowing Club and a great interest in the affairs of Melbourne University rowing.

Maintaining his interest in the University Championships, Arthur officiated at 1973 event hosted by Melbourne University. He also served on the Melbourne University Boat Club Committee for many years, was Vice-Captain in 1963, and Vice-President in 1972.

Finally, he maintained his interest in the sport by rowing in masters crews. The longevity of this part of his rowing career was significant lasting well into the 2000s, including rowing competitions at Henley-on-Thames, Boston, Italy and Austria

Arthur enjoyed a lifetime of rowing and the friendships and fitness that it brought.

Well rowed Arthur.

Known rowing record:

1958 - APS Head of the River, Xavier College Second VIII, five seat - Fifth

1959 - APS Head of the River, Xavier College First Eight, seven seat - Sixth

1960 - Australian Henley, Maiden Eight (Lord Mayor's Challenge Cup), seven seat - First

1961 - Australian Henley, Junior Eight (Founders Challenge Cup), seven seat - First

1961 - Lake Colas Regatta and Ballarat Regatta, Junior Eight, seven seat - First

1961 - Australian University Championships, Men's Eight, seven seat - Did not finish

1962 - Victorian Championships Junior Eight, seven seat - First

1962 - Half rowing Blue awarded and full Blue awarded in 1963

1963 - Australian University Championships, Men's Eight, three seat - First

Numerous masters rowing victories

Andrew Guerin
March 2024


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