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australian rowers profiles and history

Michael Eastaughffe

Torrens Rowing Club (SA)

Michael is one of the great volunteers of the sport. It is clear to the author that his work for Rowing Australia as team manager, umpire and competition management stand out. They are all technically difficult and skilled roles which he has performed with distinction. They demonstrate both his deep love for the sport and also his view that we must make provision of the best available arrangements for the rower.

From a family that had no interest in the sport of rowing, Michael got his interest by reading a book on the 1956 Olympics which included a story and images about the rowing at Ballarat. Michael recalls: I was also going to a college at the time, from memory 1959 at Gregory Terrace in Brisbane, that had rowing in its sport program. I attended two Head of the Rivers 1960 and 61 on the Brisbane River before my father was transferred to Melbourne in his employment and then to Adelaide. So it was some years before this sporting interest could be realised.

Rowing commenced for Michael in 1963 when he attended Christian Brothers College in Adelaide. He rowed in the first eight in 1967 and Michael added that he really enjoyed my time there.

Not surprisingly, club rowing beckoned in 1968. Torrens Rowing Club was his choice and he rowed mainly as a lightweight. Michael recalls: I rowed until the 1972-73 season after which I was told by qualified person that I could not continue as a lightweight without causing future health problems. His rowing highlights were winning a number of State Championships as well being reserve for the 1970 and 1972 State Lightweight Fours.

1970 South Australian Lightweight Four with Michael inset top left with coach Bob Russell

Michael's long life in sports administration commenced with joining the club's committee in 1970. He served in many roles including club Captain and President. During his presidency, membership was widened with the introduction of women's rowers and club extensions were undertaken. He was elected a life member in 1987. 

A similar record of senior positions followed at Rowing South Australia, then the South Australian Rowing Association. It was during this time that his team management, umpiring and regatta management skills were gained and refined and his knowledge of the affairs of Rowing Australia . These matters were the foundation for his good work at Rowing Australia. Michael was elected a life member of Rowing South Australia in 2013. 

As mentioned at the beginning of this story, his best was yet to come in team management, umpiring and regatta management.  

Whilst the joys of assisting young people on Australian teams is great, so is the commitment, especially for volunteer team mangers such as Michael. He performed these roles very well and on many occasions. This requires a variety of skills and determination that employers of such individuals need not know about nor be reminded of with letters of appreciation.

With umpiring, Micheal has many highlights including the London Olympics in 2012, Paralympics in 2008, and World Championships in 2004 and 2010. Michael added to his highlights that: I enjoyed every event I was selected for international duty.  Also, the Australian Rowing Championships are always a highlight and the club regattas always provide a challenge. One other thing I got involved with RA Time Trials and Selection Regattas going back to 1993 when they all started.  I have tried to attend every year and I thoroughly enjoy watching the best of our rowers giving of their best.

Finally, Michael specialised in regatta management helping the lifting of national regatta standards and providing good and fair racing for all. Participants soon learnt that the Nationals were different than other domestic events and were run at international standards.

Michael continues to be a key thread in the fabric of our sport.

Known rowing record

Torrens Rowing Club

Rower from 1968
Treasurer:1970/71 to 1972/73
Club Captain:1973/74 to 1975/76
Secretary:1976/77 to 1978/79
President:1983/84 to 1986/87
TRC Delegate to the SA Rowing Association General Committee 1973/74 to 1975/76
Life Member of Torrens Rowing Club in 1987

Rowing South Australia

Assistant Secretary: 1976/77 to 1978/79
Elected Board Member: 1987/88 to 2008/09
Secretary: 2009/10 to 2013/14
RA Councillor: 1990/91 and 1992/93 to 2013/14
Life Member of Rowing SA in 2013
South Australian Team Manager 1984/85 to 1990/91
Organising Committee for Australian Rowing Championships in South Australia
Committeeman: 1986 and 1999
Chairman: 1991
Chairman Australian Masters Games Rowing Event Committee 1992

Rowing Australia

Under 23 Team Manager: 1992 to 1993 and 1995 to 1997
Assistant Senior A Team Manager: 1994
Senior A Team Manager: 1998 to 2000
RA Councillor: 1990/91 and 1992/93 to 2013/14
Chair Regatta Commission: 2001/02 to 2007/08
Competition Manager: 2008/09 to 2011/12
Technical Delegate: 2012/13 to 2019/20
RA Organising Committee for the World Masters Rowing Championships at Ballarat in 2015.
Life Member of Rowing Australia in 2013.

Umpiring Record

Rowing South Australia from 1991
Rowing Victoria from 2016 
Rowing Australia from 1995
FISA: 1997 to 2015


2005 Rowing Australia Volunteer Of the Year
2012 Sports SA Official of the Year
2013 Recognition from the SA Olympic Committee.

Andrew Guerin
June 2023


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