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australian rowers profiles and history

A George (Paddy) Barrett

Melbourne University Boat Club then Mercantile Rowing Club (VIC)

21 Nov 1922 - 27 Feb 1962

Paddy commenced his rowing at Geelong College where he raced in the 1940 Head of the River finishing second in their heat to the eventual winners MGS.

On 8th October 1941, he enlisted into the Army and attained the rank of Lieutenant before discharge after WWII on 11 December 1946.

Post war, Paddy commenced study at Melbourne University and recommenced his rowing. This was probably a sound way of recovering from the ravages of war. 

Fellow Mercs rower Jack Morganti remembered Paddy with some fondness and in an interview with the author in February 2020, added that sadly some rowers were unable to shake off the effects of war, noting his friend Paddy Barrett dying early.

Australian University Championships were a happy hunting ground for Paddy racing in 1948, 49, 50 and 51. The University crew also won the State Eight Championship in 1950.

However in 1952, no doubt in search of higher rowing achievements, he joined Mercantile and raced in the State Championship eight in both 1952 and 1953. He then raced in two winning King's Cup crews in those years and retired on top in 1953.

During this short and brilliant career with Mercantile, he made many friends and his early death was felt heavily by them. The Club noted that his death was a big loss to the Club and the sport.

1952 Victorian crew with Paddy in seven seat

Andrew Guerin
February 2023

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