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australian rowers profiles and history

William (Bill) G Burton

Yarra Yarra Rowing Club (VIC)

Bill joined in the 1945/46 season and remained a member most of his days until his death in February 2011.

Always active in administration, he served as:

Re-joined in 1977/78 to join the members of the Wednesday evening social rowing group.

He was awarded life membership in 1997/98. At that time, Ron Mitchell spoke as follows on Bill:-

Bill won his first race in 1947 and won a lot of races in the junior class. Bill’s mum used to cater during races, and his family got behind the club and helped to boost membership.

The Burtons bought a piano for the club and were extensively involved in organising some very big parties (where 90 gallons of beer was said to have been consumed).

(Bill’s mother had a coxed racing pair named in her honour).

Bill also was a boat race official for a number of years part of the Yarra group that made sure small country regattas had sufficient officials to be run the regatta safely. 

Bill christened a scull named in his honour in 2009.

His mother gave the club substantial assistance, and older members recall the boat named the 'Mrs Burton'

The naming of the Bill Burton

Recorded wins:-

1945/46 - V R A novice regatta, novice pair (bow)

1945/46 - Sale regatta, Novice four (3)

1945/46 - Bairnsdale regatta, Novice four (3)

1946/47 - Nagambie regatta, Maiden eight (6)

1946/47 - Colac regatta, Maiden eight (6)

1946/47 - Upper Yarra regatta, Maiden four (stroke)

1946/47 - Albert Park regatta, Maiden four (stroke)

1947/48 - Colac regatta,  junior pair (stroke)

1947/48 - Bairnsdale regatta, junior pair (stroke)

1951 - V R A regatta, junior eight (5)

1951 - Colac regatta, junior four (3)

1951 - Victorian championships, junior four (bow)

1952 - Warrnambool regatta, junior pair (bow)

1952 - Camperdown regatta, junior pair (bow)

1957 - Ballarat regatta, maiden eight (coach)

From the 2010/11 Yarra Yarra Rowing Club annual report:-

Bill Burton, after whom the Club named a single scull in 2009, passed away in February this year

Believed to be Yarra Yarra’s longest member, Bill joined YYRC in 1945, served as club captain from 1949 to 1951 and rowed in the first regatta ever hosted by YYRC in 1952. A new racing single scull involved in the coaching  and was christened in Bill’s name in August 2000 and serves as a tribute to a member who was actively the significant participation of members in the late 40’s and early 50’s. Bill moved away from Melbourne and was not as active in recent years but his interest in Yarra was clear through his attendance at the club on Sundays. We extend our sympathies to Bill’s family.

Jim Skidmore
June 2024

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