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australian rowers profiles and history

David Deeble

(18 Jan 1940 - 24 Nov 2011)
Hawthorn Rowing Club
David Deeble was nominated for RV life membership due to his fine work for Victorian rowing generally, but in particular, for his work as President of Rowing Victoria Inc, his advocacy and leadership of the ROMS system and his critical work in the evolution of the Head of the Yarra regatta into an outstanding marquee rowing event.

David Deeble commenced his rowing at Hawthorn Rowing Club in 1954 as a coxswain being recruited with a number of others from Camberwell High School. He has remained a member of that club since that time despite working overseas for an extended period. David was Captain of his Club in 1965, President during the period 1999-2003 and is a life member. His time as President was is noted by the application of contemporary business practice to the administration without losing the essential character of a community and volunteer run club. The production of a “welcome package” for new members is an example of his work. Currently he trains and occasionally competes in masters rowing.

Professionally he was also a senior executive of the National Australia Bank.

He was President of Rowing Victoria from 2003-2006 and chaired the Rowing Australia Competition Commission.

Head of the Yarra

The involvement of David with Head of Yarra regatta commenced before he worked for an extended period overseas. But on return to Australia, he took over the major role in organising the regatta. David introduced a ‘corporate‘ model into the management structure which was the basis of the growth and success of the regatta. In particular, a key feature of the management structure was to identify the various working groups and to document their tasks against a time line. This enabled:

  1. Tasks to be achieved almost without fail.
  2. Seamless transition from year to year with experience retained and lessons learned being corrected in the next year.
  3. The autonomy of the groups created innovation and ownership of responsibilities.
  4. Problems were able to be identified and corrected in time.
  5. Succession planning was achieved.

This management structure has stood the test of time and the regatta continues to be the marquee event on the Victorian rowing calendar.

Presidency of Rowing Victoria

David was elected President in 2003 and immediately made significant changes to the Association. He appointed Grant Cosgriff as CEO and an excellent team was created. They immediately undertook a strategic review of all areas and created a suitable structure from which change could be achieved. Not only did he provide breadth of vision, but always applied good analysis as the basis of decisions.

David Deeble presenting a trophy at the 2010 National Championships

David Deeble and Dr Denis Bourke in a typical pose at the 2010 National Championships

The following are examples of the work of David Deeble and the changes in Rowing Victoria in that time:

  1. The engagement of RA and members state associations with the national membership database and online entry system and the provision of leadership and advocacy for it.
  2. The further development of good regatta management skills within the Association.
  3. The establishment of rigorous a regatta application processes to lift the standard of regattas for the enjoyment of all participants.
  4. The complete review of the competition structure to overcome serious deficiencies with it and the establishment of the rowing score system as an outcome.

He was about to become the next President of Rowing Australia when a terminal illness struck. He spent his final years with his family.

The work of David Deeble permanently improved the sport and the Association has left a significant beneficial legacy for the Association.

Andrew Guerin 2009 (updated 2011)

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