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australian rowers profiles and history

Sir Joseph Hood

Melbourne University Boat Club (VIC), then Richmond Rowing Club (VIC) and Melbourne Rowing Clubs (VIC)

Sir Joseph Hood (1846-1922), was a significant person in the history of Victorian rowing as well as a significant figure in early Melbourne. He was one of the founders of Rowing Victoria and author of the Association rules which stood virtually untouched for many years. He was a well-known supporter of the sport including being a sport journalist.

His obituary in the Victorian Rowing Association annual report of 1922 records:
Sir Joseph Hood, who died on 29th January 1922 was one of the founders of the Association: in fact, it was as a result of his proposal that the Association was formed at a meeting on 7th October 1876, and he drafted the original rules.  Sir Joseph Hood was a well-known member of the Richmond Club in his younger days, when he met with success as an oarsmen.

Hood was clearly a great rower of his time with Grand Challenge wins for senior four in 1870 and 1871, the leading race of that time.

Thomas Colles wrote an essay on rowing in Victoria in 1860s which was included in John Lang's book The Victorian Oarsman and which included the following insights into Hood.

Was a man of great muscular strength. He rowed bow to the Richmond crew. This crew was composed at one time of the four brothers Mitchell. One brother dropped out, and Mr. Hood took his place, and filled it very successfully in a number of first-class races.

Sir John Young in the Australian Dictionary of Biography records: As a young man Hood was keenly interested in sport. He played in the first XI at Scotch College and subsequently became a notable oarsman. He rowed first with the Melbourne University crew but later joined the Richmond Club. For some time he contributed the rowing notes to the Australasian. He retired from rowing in 1873.

Winners of the Gardiner Cup 1869-70 and also Senior Fours 1870-71
Left to right: James Mitchell (Stroke), Robert Mitchell (3), Whitehead (cox), Joseph Hood (2), J Mitchell (bow)

Andrew Guerin
2011 (updated January 2023)

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