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australian rowers profiles and history

Clarence H Hannell

Newcastle Rowing Club, Port Hunter Rowing Club and Mercantile Rowing Club (NSW)

Hannell, is a name synonymous with rowing in Newcastle. Over more than half a century, as either competitors, promoters administrators or officials the Hannell family played a pivotal role in ensuring Newcastle was a major rowing centre at a time when rowing was the predominant Australian sport. 

Clarence Hewson Hannell (1836 -1909), James' son. Could be called, for want of a better cliche, the father of Newcastle rowing. His contribution to the sport at every level for thirty-five years, especially during its formative years, is unlikely to ever be surpassed. 

Active in a number of sports, he was Newcastle's amateur sculling champion from the age of seventeen until he was twenty five, he competed in his own yacht in local regattas and represented the district in cricket. 

His greatest work was through his organisation of boat racing in Newcastle over many years. He started his long involvement in 1865 as Secretary of the NAR. He succeeded his father as President in 1878, a position he held until the 1900 ('Jubilee') Regatta. He regularly acted as a race official, raised funds and organized the donation of trophies. His services as a knowledgeable but more importantly, fair, handicapper were much sought after by regatta committees throughout the State. At one time or another he was a club captain for Newcastle Rowing Club, President of Mercantile Rowing Club and, later, President of the Port Hunter Rowing Club. 

In addition he was heavily involved in numerous other sports. He was, for many years, President, judge and handicapper of the Newcastle Jockey Club, President of Newcastle Bicycle Club, a District cricket selector and President of Northumberland Bicycle Club. His charitable interests included the Sailor's Home and Newcastle Hospital (for which a wing was named after him) and he served on the Public School Board. Apart from being an enthusiastic singer, he was President of the Philharmonic Society and President of the Newcastle Musical Union. Amazingly, he had time for a day job as the port's Shipping Master. 

Colin Charters - extracted from his book Just Add Water, the times and tide of Newcastle Rowing Club published by Seaview Press in 2009

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