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australian rowers profiles and history

Leigh Gallacher

Yarra Yarra Rowing Club (VIC)

8th January1947 - 30th October 2013 

Leigh joined Yarra in the 1968/69 season and began a successful novice and maiden oarsman. However his greatest service was as a committee man and Victorian boat race official. Rowing became a large part of his life beyond his family. 

He married fellow Yarra life member Gloria and enjoyed a full family life with three sons.

This fine work was acknowledged with honorary life membership and other acknowledgements such as club member of the year and boats named in his honour.

His committee service included:

Coaching was also important with numerous Yara members benefitting from his work.

His life membership was awarded in the 2005/06 season.

Umpiring also followed with Leigh being a level 2 boat race official for many years.

Leigh in the dark hat judging at Wentworth regatta in 2011

1988 Boat naming with wife Gloria doing the honours

Wins included:-

1970 - Scotch Mercantile regatta, novice eight (2)

1970 - Mildura regatta, novice eight (2)

1970 - Wentworth regatta, novice eight (2)

1971 - Yea regatta, novice four (3)

1971 - Wentworth regatta, novice four (3)

1971 - Barwon, maiden eight (4)

1971 - Nagambie, maiden eight (4)

1971 - Ballarat state championships, maiden eight (4)

1974 - Upper Yarra regatta, novice four (coach)

1980 - Victorian University’s regatta, novice four (coach)

1980 - Banks regatta, novice four (coach)

1980 - Henley on Maribyrnong regatta, novice four (coach)

1980 - Footscray regatta, novice pair (coach)

1980 - Mildura regatta, novice pair (coach)

1980 - Wentworth regatta, novice pair (coach)

1985 - Winter regatta, novice pair (coach)

1985 - Horsham regatta, novice pair (coach)

2003 - Yarra Yarra named a bow coxed 4 in his honour

1972 photo at annual meeting Leigh seated on left

From the Yarra Yarra RC newsletter 'Yarra Yabbie' 1990-9-20

A great night was held at Dirty Dick’s on Friday 21st Sept. with a considerable attendance of members. ‘Gag’s Gallacher was crowned king for the night. With Gloria as his consort Gag’s slipped onto the role with aplomb and dispersed royal decrees with benevolent modesty. Bret was thrown in the stocks………many were lamenting that he wasn’t left there!!! Those members called up for the tongue twister, did just that…….twisted their tongues!!!

Plenty of good nourishing food and liquid to wash it down made it another Kerry Clegg function success.

Leigh and Gloria Gallacher

From 'Yarra Yabbie' 2003-3-20

Boat naming ceremony Wednesday – 19th March ‘The Leigh Gallacher’

In recognition of Leigh Gallacher’s unerring support to Yarra Yarra Rowing Club for many years, the committee has unanimously decided to name our most recent acquis ion, a bow coxed four, in Leigh’s honour. 

The boat was purchased from Scotch Oakburn in Launceston, Tasmania and was one of their first boats. It has been purchased for Yarra Yarra’s intermediate program.

The boat naming ceremony will be held on Wednesday 19th March at the club house commencing at 7pm. A BBQ will be held on the night.

Leigh joined Yarra Yarra in 1968. ‘I was with the Lorne Life Saving Club. They were doing their pre-season at Yarra. I had intended to row surf boats but later decided to stay at YYRC.’ 

Some of Leigh’s highlights of his time at Yarra Yarra include

Winning a series of maiden 8’s in our centenary year 1972.

Joint coaching several winning crews with Ron Mitchell.

Leigh can most commonly be seen rowing with the old boys on Wednesday nights or officiating at many of the regattas held around the state.

1985 Nagambie veteran regatta Leigh in 2 seat

From the 2013/14 annual report:-

Leigh (Gags) Gallacher was an enthusiastic and active member of Yarra Yarra from the time he joined in 1967 until his sudden passing in October 2013.

Leigh rowed successfully for many years.

He joined the Committee in1971 for several years and later became a committee member again recently.

Leigh joined the social committee in 1971 and later became the social secretary and the social chairman in 1984

Leigh was very involved with Yarra Yarra regattas over two decades mainly as the assistant secretary.

Leigh’s wife Gloria (an honorary life member) gave vital assistance during the regattas, especially with the catering side.

In the wider rowing world, Leigh was a Victorian Boat Race Official. Leigh had enjoyed interstate excursions to Kings Cup regattas and to the Sydney 2000 Olympics.”

He was elected a life member in 2005.

As part of his statement nominating Leigh, Lockie McPherson described Leigh as being “quietly in the background, modestly doing the jobs that needed to be done, but those that nobody else would take on, and doing a fine job with results always spot on, and maintaining his humour throughout.”

In 2012, Leigh’s continuing contributions were recognised when he was chosen as Club Person of the year.

A special gathering at our clubhouse with Gloria, his sons Paul, Ian and Andrew, as many friends and relatives on 8 January 2014 included a scattering of Leigh’s ashes from our newest 8 the ‘Spirit of Yarra’.

Jim Skidmore
June 2024

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