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australian rowers profiles and history

J Bartholomew

Maryborough Rowing Club (QLD)

1880 - Queensland Championships, Men's Four, three - First

Jack Pritchard in his history of Queensland Rowing "Rowing in Queensland 1880-1995" commented as follows.

In 1880, it was decided that races be held for the Champion Four of Queensland for amateur oarsmen only, and the first race was conducted at Maryborough on May 24, 1880, over 2 miles. The race was described as the "Maryborough Challenge Race for the Four-oared Gig Championship of Queensland" and was won easily by the home crew of J.McWatters (B), R.A.Sim (2), W.S.Sim (3), J.Sim (S) and A.J.Sim (Cox). 

A Brisbane Rowing Club crew travelled to Maryborough for this race and rowed in a new carvel gig built by Donnelly of Sydney. The Brisbane crew would have travelled to Maryborough by steamer as the railway line to Maryborough was not opened until July 17, 1891, with the completion of the Brisbane to Gympie section. Since the Maryborough to Bundaberg section had been completed on February 20, 1888, the Brisbane to Bundaberg section was also complete in 1891. The Bundaberg to Gladstone section was completed on August 1, 1896, but the Gladstone to Rockhampton section was not opened until December 18, 1903. 

There was no Queensland Rowing Association in existence at this time and accordingly each district which felt they had a good enough crew staged a championship race. This appeared to be an amicable arrangement between the rowing centres since all clubs entered when they felt they had a crew of sufficient calibre and could afford the expense. The Championship Four of Queensland was the premier event because all centres had four-oared boats, and Maryborough and Rockhampton did not possess eight-oared craft. The first eights race rowed at an Association regatta was an open eights race on December 17, 1892, in Brisbane between Commercial Rowing Club and the Breakfast Creek Rowing Club. 

On December 10, 1880, (Anniversary Regatta Day) the race for the Champion Four of Queensland was held in Brisbane over 3 miles on a course from the South Brisbane Dry Dock to a point in the upper Toowong Reach (near the Regatta Hotel). Crews from Maryborough Rowing Club, Brisbane Rowing Club and Commercial Rowing Club entered, and Maryborough won well from Brisbane Rowing Club. The Maryborough crew was W.Poulter (B), C.F.Barton (2), J.Bartholomew (3), A.Poulter (S) and J.McDowall (Cox).

Steve Roll and Andrew Guerin
December 2020

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