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australian rowers profiles and history

James R Harvey

Adelaide Rowing Club (SA) and Mercantile Rowing Club (VIC)

1953-54 – Assistant Hon Secretary Adelaide Rowing Club

1953-57 – Hon Secretary Adelaide Rowing Club

1954-60 – Adelaide RC representative on SARA

1957-60 – Captain Adelaide Rowing Club

1960-61 – Hon Treasurer Adelaide Rowing Club

1963 – Life Member Adelaide Rowing Club

SARA Umpire

1961-96 – Victorian Rowing Umpire

1963-64 Asst. Hon. Secretary – Mercantile Rowing Club

1963-96 – Australian Umpire

1964-66 Hon. Secretary – Mercantile Rowing Club and VRA representative

1964 – 96 – VRA Yarra Buoy laying Committee

1980-96 – Hon. Secretary – Rowing Australia Umpires Panel

1986-96 – FISA Umpire

1996 – Dr R A Cooper Memorial Trophy winner

2012 – Life Member Mercantile Rowing Club

Upper Yarra Regatta Association Inc – Life Member

Mercantile Sunday Barrel- took over from J P (Thumbscrew) Carr – 1995

James hailed from Adelaide where he started his rowing at Scotch College and subsequently rowed with Adelaide Rowing Club.

The Adelaide Rowing Club history reports that the Harvey family “infested” the Club. The history goes further to claim that the situation was becoming endemic with firstly Arthur Harvey in early days of the club which began in 1882, then Arthur Junior, then K (Boar War) Arnold Harvey, then E C Harvey, then W R Harvey, then to James’ brothers Duncan, then to Bill Harvey (Vice-Captain) and finally James as Secretary then Captain 1957-60. It appears that Duncan was the oarsman of his generation and James the fine administrator. It was reported James’ captaincy was a very gay (not the current term) and busy. He was a born organiser and full of enthusiasm. In true Mercantile style, he arranged for Adelaide to drink its way out of debt.

Thirsty members would buy tickets which entitled them to claim a bottle of beer from the Captain or other person hosting the function after rowing. The licensing laws were by passed and the Police agreed to ignore the “functions” provided that there was no trouble.

He also arranged a night of Fun and Games to assist fund raising for the King’s Cup crew – very reminiscent of the Night of Chance at Mercantile to raise funds for the Australian rowing team.

On moving to Melbourne James naturally came to Mercantile. Needless to say he also became the Club’s Secretary in 1964. He recounts the story of the Banks Rowing Club writing to Mercantile to oppose the entry in Australia by Mercantile members of a Donoratico boat which Banks correctly claimed was some 30 seconds faster than the Australian built equivalent. This matter was reported as the main sports story of the day. James responded to Banks in a most understated way – Your letter is noted but not received.

When the Club burnt down in 1973, James was an active participant in fundraising that rebuilt the Club. He was behind the sale of 100 etchings of the old clubhouse executed by Joan Carr, wife of Thumbscrew Carr.

He was also a willing volunteer in the rebuilding – see below drinking a beer with Warwick Hutchins

In the 1970’s, he organised and steered the Cock Robins Sunday morning crew - see below.

In most recent years, some 25 years, he has been the convenor of the “oldies” at Mercantile events and Sunday mornings which has been so delightful for them and to the Club.

James Harvey has been a pillar of the Club for 50 years, he has provided extraordinary service to the Club and has brought great joy to many older members who have been maintained in the Club activities.

Andrew Guerin Sept 2012

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