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australian rowers profiles and history

Henry (Harry) Adams

Fremantle Rowing Club (WA)

(Born 20 April 1864 in Fremantle, died 26 October 1954)

Harry Adams was an early and prominent member of the Fremantle Rowing Club who also raced as a professional. He was awarded life membership of Fremantle Rowing Club in 1893.

His father was John Adams 11/5/1829 – 25/6/1904 who arrived in the “Rockingham' in 1830 as a worker for Thomas Peel. He married on 17 March 1896 and together with his wife, raised five children. They lived in Louisa St South Fremantle and he worked as a fisherman and as a Customs Officer in Fremantle

Bill Cooper in his book Home & Dry, A History of Rowing in Western Australia references Harry on page 52 as follows:

The rowing of the Professional Sculling Championship of Western Australia in June 1892 signalled the start of local championship events. The race, which was between carpenter William Rose of the Swan River Rowing Club and customs officer Henry Adams from Fremantle for £25 a side, was rowed from the head of Freshwater Bay to a spit post off Preston Point. Adams won by 15 lengths after the patent clip on Rose's stroke-side gate was dislodged and interfered with his stroke. It was a popular event, with "the water in the vicinity of Peppermint Grove crowded with steamers and other boats" and the finish-point in Rocky Bay "covered with boats of all descriptions, and a good number of people watched the finish from the banks." Two years later, Fremantle fisherman William Willis challenged Adams for the title and £100 a side, over the same course. On this occasion "an eager multitude" saw the challenger win by 800 metres after Adams' right shoe-leather broke and propelled him into the Swan.

(Bill references the Western Mail 9 and 16 April, 4 June 1892, 1 and 8 September, 27 October 1894.)

The Fremantle Rowing Club history notes Harry's contribution to the Club in the following terms.

It was not long however, after the Club was founded that Harry Adams, Harry Blinco and Ernest Fordham became members and were very prominent with A.G. Fyson in four oared rowing. They were the Club's Senior Four oared crew and a very strong combination.

1888 Senior Four Winners Swan River Rowing Club Regatta 22 October 1906
From left: J Fyson, Harry Adams, H Blinco, E Fordham, T Blinco (Cox)

Andrew Guerin with assistance from John Adams.
February 2023


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