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australian rowers profiles and history

John F Cazaly

Albion Rowing Club (England), Ballarat Rowing Club, Ballarat City Rowing Club, Melbourne Rowing Club, Warehouseman’s Rowing Club (VIC)

John Foy Cazaly was born in November 1837 at Stoke Newington, the youngest son of James and Eliza Cazaly. John followed his brothers Henry and Peter out to Australia in late 1856 or early 1857.

He lived with his mother Eliza in Drummond Street, Ballarat. When she died in 1853, he was listed as being 23 years of age on the death certificate.

In 1864, the sport of rowing began on Lake Wendouree when Robinson McLaren of the Ballarat Regatta Club, proved that the reeds on the Lake could be cleared to provide navigable water and moved the club to the shores of Lake Wendouree. Owen, John, James and Peter Cazaly were involved from these very early days and were prominent in rowing activities in Ballarat for the next 20 years or so.

John remained single and moved to Melbourne in about 1870 where he was working as a warehouseman for W. Watson and Sons. He joined Melbourne Rowing Club and had success with them and then in 1876 joined the Warehousemen’s Club (later Mercantile RC). He and brother James continued their rowing together on the Yarra.

He came back to Ballarat briefly to row in Ballarat City Rowing Club’s Intercolonial four in 1873 but returned to Melbourne. He is the “forgotten” Cazaly in some ways, with James being more well known in Melbourne circles and Peter a stalwart of Ballarat rowing and musical circles. John in later years was referred to as the “evergreen John Cazaly” and he certainly continued rowing much longer than most of his contemporaries. His actual rowing career was much longer than James or Peter. He also was probably the oarsman who competed in the greatest number of competitions for the Warehouseman’s Cup presented by Mr. Stevenson. He was definitely racing in 1870 in the second annual competition and he was still competing in the Warehouseman’s Cup race in 1892 at the age of 56! Given that he started his rowing career as a 18 or 19 year old and he was still racing, often in the stroke seat, at 56 meant that he had a career spanning nearly forty years. Even in 1892 his crew still put up a good show coming second by only a length or so. 

In November 1878 John was called to give evidence in an accidental drowning on the Yarra. He was described as a packer, employed in Flinders Lane. On his Sunday morning row up the river he saw two men arguing but took little notice. On his return about half an hour later, one of them was dead in the water so he stopped and helped getting the man to shore. The finding was accidental drowning.

He died 2 Apr 1921, aged 84 at Melbourne Hospital. On his death certificate he is listed as a gardener so perhaps in his later years that is what he did for work being too old for the heavy lifting required by a warehouseman. His contribution to rowing in the early days of rowing in Victoria, along with that of his three brothers Owen, James and Peter, certainly recognition as perhaps a unique family involvement in the development of rowing. 

Humorous article on the Cazaly family and John

Rowing Record

1856 - First record of Cazaly family involved in rowing. Royal Thames National Regatta in August 1856, the winning team in the Gentlemen (juniors) Four-oared Race was the Albion Club consisting of J.C. Cazaly, J. Cazaly, W. Devon, H.C. Wynn, G. Moore coxswain (ref: Morning Chronicle, and London Standard, both Thurs 21 Aug 1856). This was James Charles and John Foy Cazaly. James was about 16 and John 18 or 19.

1864 - Ballarat R.C. versus Prince of Wales R.C. (Melb.). First four-oared interclub competition held on Lake Wendouree - Ned Williams, Henry Golightly, James Cazaly, John Cazaly. (BRC)

1865 - Ballarat Regatta (first held on Lake Wendouree) Ballarat Rowing Club

Senior four - Peter Cazaly, John Cazaly, Ned Williams, James Cazaly

Senior pair - Peter Cazaly, John Cazaly- 2nd

Maiden Scull - John Cazaly-2nd

1865 - Geelong Regatta, Senior four - John Cazaly, J. Wallace, Ned Williams, James Cazaly

1866 - Melbourne Regatta - Junior Gig and Senior Gig - John Cazaly, J. Wallace, Ned Williams, James Cazaly (Ballarat Rowing Club)

1866 - Geelong Regatta, Maiden Sculls - John Cazaly (BRC)

1866 - Ballarat Regatta, Senior four-R. Bennett, John Cazaly, Ned Williams, James Cazaly (BRC)

1867 - Melbourne, Senior four- A. Blackstone, John Cazaly, Ned Williams, James Cazaly (BRC)

Melbourne, Junior scull - John Cazaly (BRC)

1867 - Ballarat Regatta (Lake Learmonth), Senior four - John Cazaly, Ned Williams, Henry Pascoe, James Cazaly (Ballarat Rowing Club)

1867 - Geelong Regatta, Senior Gig - John Cazaly, H. Pascoe, Ned Williams, James Cazaly (BRC)

1869 - Learmonth Regatta, Senior four - John Cazaly, J. Whitelaw, Ned Williams, R. Bennett (BRC)

Senior pair - John Cazaly, Ned Williams (first across line but demoted to second after a protest from the other crew in the race that Cazaly and Williams boat was “not regulation”!) (Ballarat Rowing Club)

1871 - Melbourne Regatta, Gardiner Cup for Senior Gigs - A. Nicholls, John Cazaly, J. W. Hilliard, James Cazaly - Melbourne Rowing Club

1872 - Melbourne Regatta, Gardiner Cup for Senior Gigs - John Cazaly, L. Bell, W. Orr, James Cazaly - Melbourne Rowing Club

1873 - Melbourne Regatta, Gardiner Cup for Senior Gigs - John Cazaly, L. Bell, W. Orr, James Cazaly. (Cup won outright by Melbourne RC after three wins)

1873 - Intercolonial four, racing for Ballarat City Rowing Club - Bow: William Stout, 2: John Cazaly, 3: William Crampton, Str: Zachariah Giles, coxed by Thomas Finks, coached by Peter Cazaly - Second. (John Cazaly was the only experienced oarsman in the crew, the others were all Maiden oarsmen. They placed second by just over a length to the much more experienced Melbourne Rowing Club crew stroked by James Cazaly, Thomas Colles, John Arthur and W. M. Orr)

Silver Rowing Trophy by William Edwards, bearing inscriptions: 'Intercolonial Champion Gig Race/ 29th March 1873/ Second Prize/ won by/ John Stout No1/ John Cazaly 2/ Wm Crampton 3/ Z Giles Stroke/ Thos Finks/ Cox'

1873 - Barwon Regatta, Senior Gig - John Stout, John Cazaly, William Crampton, Zachariah Giles (BCRC)

1874 - Barwon Regatta, Senior Gig - John Cazaly, J. Pearce, William Crampton, Zachariah Giles (BCRC)

1875 - Melbourne Regatta, Grand Challenge Senior fours - R. Ward, John Arthur, John Cazaly, James Cazaly. (Warehousemen Club)

1875 - Married versus Single eight oared race, Yarra River-single men’s eight - First. Married 8 - James Cazaly, J. Forrester, V. Saddler, J. Ewing, Zach Giles, R. Mitchell, A. Nichols, A. Michie. Single 8 - P. Carter, John Cazaly, J. Arthur, B. Goldsmith, W, Watson, R. Ward, O. Trickett, J. Eddington

1876 - Melbourne Regatta, Challenge Sculls - John Cazaly (Warehouseman’s Club) - 2nd (Christie of I Zingari RC won, with James Cazaly, also rowing for I Zingari, was third!)

1878 - Melbourne Regatta, Challenge Sculls - John Cazaly (Warehouseman’s Club) - 2nd 

1879 - Melbourne Regatta, Challenge Sculls - John Cazaly (Warehouseman’s Club) - 2nd

1882 - Stevensons Cup for Warehousmen - William Watson and Sons crew who were all members of the Victoria Rowing Club -John Cazaly (str), J. Ridge, W. F. Langdon and H. S. Clisby

1883 - Stevensons Cup for Warehousmen - Watson and Sons - H. Clisby, Hill, E. Clisby, John Cazaly (bow)

1885 - Stevensons Cup for Warehousmen - Watson and Sons - John Cazaly (str), W. Watson, K. West, S. Evans

1886 - 18th Annual Warehousemen’s Cup-Watson and Son - John Cazaly stroke (2nd) As  John was 50 years old and still stroking the boat this was quite an achievement.

1892 - Warehousemen’s Cup - R. Reid and Co.-stroke John Cazaly-2nd

Kate Elliott
December 2021

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