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australian rowers profiles and history

Rachael Golonka

Yarr Yarra Rowing Club (VIC)

Rachael was a club member from 1994 to 2000 and was successful at novice and intermediate racing.

Her club members surprised her and her future husband as the following story from the club's newsletter the Yarra Yabbie no 95 1999-7-20


“It’s on…..get confetti and get here quick” were the words Janet excitedly screamed to me down the mobile.

My response? “Quick Keir….HURRY….Rachael and Craig are getting married!”.

The big day (12th June) started with Janet and I amongst many others helping Rachael and Craig prepare for their engagement party….what a total scam that was!

Speculation about wedding bells had been laid to rest after leading questions and close scrutiny had led nowhere, the pair giving nothing away, not even signs of nerves on the day itself.

The shed looked glorious, decorated with gold stars and hearts and even tasteful graffiti “Rachael 4 Craig” on the back wall. At 9pm the shed was full of guests but no hosts. The crowd could sense a stranger amongst them and it didn’t take long to determine that she could be a celebrant, escalating the air of anticipation.

Then the bridal party arrived to a chorus of “OOHHH” “AAHHH”,” I had no idea”. The best kept secret unveiled at last (even Rach’s mum had no idea). Rachael looked radiant, full of wonderful laughs and smiles which captivated the well-wishers,

Craig looked as handsome as Rach did beautiful and together they were very relaxed but excited about the whole prospect of tying the knot. The bridesmaids Katrina and Carol, looked stunning and even wore YYRC colours – and the groomsmen were a fetching accompaniment! The ceremony went off without a hitch and I believe (although it’s yet to be confirmed) that this was the first wedding ceremony in YYRC history.

The bridal party took heaps of photos in and around the shed whilst the guests tucked into a delicious feast prepared by friends. We all helped to give the newlyweds the official YYRC seal of approval by making them walk through an arch of oars which was a set of eight, but we had so many eager rowers it soon became 12!

It was an evening of true romance and one we’ll all remember as it formalises just one of many happy liaisons formed as a result of the YYRC rowing shed…..I hope that the new shed will be just as lucky for more couples. Good luck to Rachael and Craig who are now on honeymoon in Europe. 

Wins recorded:-

1996 - Scotch Mercantile regatta, women’s novice four (bow)

1966 - Henley regatta, women’s novice four (bow)

1966 - Barwon regatta, women’s novice four (bow)

1966 - Colac regatta, women’s intermediate pair (bow)

1966 - Warrnambool regatta, women’s intermediate pair (bow)

1966 - Banks regatta, women’s intermediate pair (bow)

1997 - Henley on the Maribyrnong regatta, women’s intermediate pair (stroke)

1997 - Albert Park regatta, women’s novice eight (5)

Jim Skidmore
June 2024

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