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australian rowers profiles and history

Irvine Coulter Jnr

Ballarat City Rowing Club (VIC)

Irvine was the oldest of the five Coulter brothers born in 1973 to Irvine and Mary Coulter. Irvine Coulter was a well-known merchant in Ballarat. He was educated at Grenville College and worked in the Commonwealth Bank in Ballarat.

Irvine Coulter joined Ballarat City Rowing Club in about 1892 as a young man of 20 and quickly began to contribute to the club. He was Assistant Secretary in 1894-95, Treasurer for two years from 1895-1897 and then Captain in 1897-98. He raced in his maiden eight in 1893 along with a big contingent from the club-21 oarsmen! The club fielded a Maiden eight, four and pair and a Junior pair and scull. The club had two wins, the Maiden pair and Junior scull, but it should have been three with the Maiden eight was disqualified for finishing outside the post even they were clear winners. Corio Bay were awarded the win. 

In 1896 Irvine won the Club Scratch pairs with J. Cherry from a large number of crews. The trophy was a large lamp and in a show of loyalty he donated the lamp to the club for the dressing room which had just been renovated.

In 1896-97 the Ballarat Rowing Association was formed and it rules adopted, replacing the Ballarat Regatta Association. Irvine Coulter, Andrew A.O’Dea and Dr Champion were the club’s first delegates to the BRA. 

1893 - Warrnambool Regatta, Maiden 8-first past the post. Disqualified for incorrect steering

1894 - Club Scratch pairs, Good Friday - E Davies, I Coulter

1894 - Barwon Regatta, Maiden eight - First

1895 - Trial Fours and Trial pairs –I Coulter and T Holman

1895 - Upper Yarra Regatta, Maiden four - I Coulter, A Harvey, A Wallace, R Cameron

1895 - Ballarat Regatta, Maiden four - J Horn, E Darby, I Coulter, A Thompson 

1896 - Club Scratch pairs - I Coulter and J Cherry - First

He married in May 1900 and he and his wife moved to Bendigo where he was manager of the Bendigo branch of the Co-operative Coupon Company for 18 months. They had two children in that time and moved back to Ballarat in early 1902. Late in 1902 Irvine moved to Western Australia leaving his wife and children in Ballarat. He lived in Northam for several years and was very popular resident who was involved in all sorts of community groups. In 1906 he fell very ill with typhoid and his friends held a benefit concert to raise money for his recovery. He only returned to Victoria once in 1912 to visit his parents. In March 1914 he died in a drowning accident. How he died is a bit of a tragedy, he was fishing with friends at Mossman Bay and while the others had gone out in a boat to fish, he had gone to the river to bathe. They found him a little later in two feet of water, face down. Apparently he had a heart attack, a legacy from typhoid and drowned. He is buried at Karrakatta Cemetery W.A.

Kate Elliott
September 2021

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