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australian rowers profiles and history

John Burford

Mercantile Rowing Club (VIC)

John Burford was an outstanding leader and coach of the Mercantile Rowing Club.

He started off his rowing at Brighton Grammar School before being recruited to Mercantile. His rowing and coaching career was as follows:

1964-65 – Victorian Championships Junior Four

1965-66 – Australian Champion Junior Eight

1965-66 – Treasurer

1966-67 – Victorian Championship Junior Four

1966-67 – Victorian Champions Eight

1966-67 – Captain

1967-68 – Victorian Champion Eight

1971-72 – Captain

1973-74 – Australian Champion Lightweight Eight – coach

1974-75 – Treasurer

1979-80 – Victorian Champion Youth Four – coach

1968 Champion Eight won by Mercantile with John in the four seat

He was an uncompromising Captain who led the Club in 1966-67 season, to win the senior, junior and lightweight premierships and no less than eight Victorian championships including the senior eight. In 1967-68, again under John Burford’s guidance, the club won the senior and junior premierships, three Victorian championships, including the senior eight and three Australian championships.

At times of need, John was always present. For example, when the Club had to be rebuilt in 1974, he took on the onerous role of Treasurer. When the club was floundering for success in 1971-72, he came back as Captain and turned the club around. Perhaps more than these things, he inspired others such as Martin Owen and Andrew Guerin to take on leadership roles.

He was also an inspiring and enthusiastic club coach who coached many crews including Australian Championships crews.

John Burford umpiring at the National Championships at Penrith in 1988

His legacy to the sport and Mercantile Rowing Club was profound.

Andrew Guerin 2014

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