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australian rowers profiles and history

Geoff Cohen

Colleagues Rowing Club (NSW)

The following is an extract from an April 2009 publication written by crew member Ian Stewart on the 50th anniversary of their Head of the River win in 1959.

Geoff has been our “elusive one” in that he has been in hiding virtually since leaving University with his law degree in the mid-1960s. On leaving school he enrolled in Medicine at Sydney Universtiy but was unsuccessful in his first year so changed to Law. After graduation he worked towards becoming a barrister which he achieved after an appropriate apprenticeship as a solicitor. For some time he practiced in Sydney with chambers in Beeanbah Chambers in Macquarie Street. For a period he lived in Balmain but has more recently moved to a situation of rural isolation at a locality called Towrang, north of Goulburn.

Geoff entered into a second marriage sometime around the early 1980s and it was from this time that he sought reclusiveness, even cutting ties with the old schoolmate who had been his best man at the first nuptials. It appears that this second union produced two daughters who spent their secondary schooling at SCEGGS Darlinghurst in the middle 1990s.

Enquiries made in the Goulburn district suggest that he is currently—March 2009— in indifferent health.

At school Geoff was a keen sportsman. He began his rowing career in the Sixth Four in 1957. He was a strong and determined oarsman which led to his elevation, in 1958, to the five seat of the Eight. In spite of losing its stroke, Peter Phillips, only a couple of weeks before the GPS Regatta, this crew went on to come third in its race at Penrith.

Geoff was one of four members of the 1958 Eight to return to row in 1959. Coming together with two members of each of the 1958 First and Second Fours, successful crews at Penrith, these experienced oarsmen merged to form what turned out to be a formidable combination, winning their race by two lengths in near-record time.

Geoff continued rowing after he left Sydney High, joining the newly-formed Colleagues Rowing Club. That club’s first eight was immediately successful, winning the Riverview Gold cup and the NSW State Junior Eight’s title. Geoff was a member of that crew. 

After a couple of seasons with Colleagues Geoff left rowing to concentrate on his law practice and on developing business interests.  

Ian Stewart
April 2009

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