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australian rowers profiles and history

Douglas C L Brooke

Mercantile Rowing Club (VIC)

At the time of his death in December 1986, there would be few members and former members of Mercantile Rowing Club who did not know or know of Doug Brooke. He joined the Club in the season 1924-25 and was still rowing regularly and vigorously on Sunday mornings until shortly before his death.

Above: Doug stroking his Sunday morning crew in 1970s – Bow: Graham Richardson, 2: Alec Dobbie, 3: Mick Williams, Str: Doug Brooke

Apart from those years when he was posted interstate in the course of his business or was on war service, Doug was about the Club as an oarsman, coach, Committee member and finally as a social oarsman for the whole of his term of membership.

His impressive list of successes on the water commenced with the Maiden Eights at Albert Park in February 1926.

He won the Champion Eight in 1929 (with Patron Jim Sprigg in the four seat) and was a regular member of the Club’s senior crews for the next six or seven years.

Doug’s most famous victory was in the King’s Cup in 1930 when he and five other Club members were in the crew which won the Cup by three feet over the three mile course at Mannum in South Australia. This was Victoria’s first win for eighteen years.

Finish of the 1930 King's Cup

1930 King's Cup crew with Doug in the six seat

Doug served on the Committee from 1930-35 and during that period was one of the Club’s delegates to the V.R.A. He was an active coach during the late thirties both before and after he ceased active competition.

He was made a Life Member of the Club in 1983 in recognition of his outstanding service.


Andrew Guerin (based on his obituary in the annual report 1986-87)
October 2018

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