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australian rowers profiles and history

William (Bill) G Brett

Mercantile Rowing Club (NSW), forerunner of Mosman Rowing Club (NSW)

1878 – Intercolonial Men’s Eight Championship four seat – Second

1881 – Intercolonial Men’s Eight Championship four seat – Second

1886 – Intercolonial Men’s Eight Championship three seat and coach – Second

Bill Brett was also a sculler of some repute challenging the best around in 1880. In 1881 he won the Sydney Mail sculls over fancied fellow Mercantile sculler Charles Bros. He competed unsuccessfully in a series of races for the Krug Champagne Cup in 1882-3.

In 1886 at the height of the amateur debate between New South Wales and Victoria, Alan May in his history of Sydney Rowing Club records: A suggestion from the VRA that Brett might not be a bone fide amateur (presumably due to a series of challenge races with a Victorian sculler) was dismissed by the NSWRA and the matter lapsed. May also reports that the 1886 NSW crew elected Brett as their coach whilst also participating as a crew member.

Andrew Guerin
January 2021

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