Scroll To Top
australian rowers profiles and history

Sydney R Coulter

Ballarat Rowing Club (VIC)

Sydney Richard Coulter was the second eldest son of Irvine and Mary Coulter. He was born in 1876 in Ballarat and educated at Grenville College. He was employed at Cuthbert, Morrow and Must Solicitors. His eldest brother Irvine, who was three years older, became involved with Ballarat City Rowing Club in the early 1890’s as a coxswain. Along with his brothers, Sydney was involved in many sporting pursuits including rowing but his main focus was football. He was secretary of the Ballarat Football Club for several years. While Irvine, Graham, Jason and Leslie all rowed for Ballarat City Rowing Club, Sydney joined Ballarat Rowing Club in about 1896 and raced his Maiden fours at Ballarat regatta that year. He was in BRC’s winning maiden eight at Ballarat Regatta in 1897.

He enlisted for the Boer War in October 1899 and received a commission as Captain in the 5th Victorian Mounted Regiment. He served for nearly 2 years before he was killed in action at Hlobane on 27th of August, 1901. He was buried at Vryheid, South Africa. He was entitled to the Queens South Africa Medal with Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal and South Africa 1901 clasps. His two brothers, Graham and Jason also enlisted with Graham serving 14 months and Jason arriving in South Africa just as the war ended. 

When word reached Ballarat of his death, the whole town flew flags at half-mast. His name is recorded on Ballarat’s Boer War Memorial in Queen Victoria Square, Sturt Street. The Ballarat Rowing Club Annual report stated: “He was an enthusiastic oarsman and he took part with success in several races with the club. He was ever welcome at the shed and amongst the members of the City and Wendouree Clubs, he was also a favourite.”

Given that Irvine, Graham, Sydney and Jason were all rowing in the late 1890’s, I feel quite sure that the Coulter boys would not have missed the opportunity to row together in a four at some stage. If they had included young Leslie as their cox and the five Coulter boys in one crew would have been unbeatable. 

Kate Elliott
September 2021

Website by Hope Stewart—Website Design & Management