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australian rowers profiles and history

Laurie H Muir

Yarra Yarra Rowing Club (VIC)

Joined 1948/49. Passed away 5/2/2015.

Life member 1997/98

Wins recorded:-

1952 - Warrnambool regatta, lightweight four (bow)

1952 - Camperdown regatta, lightweight four (bow)

1952 - Lake Colac regatta, lightweight four (bow)

1955 - Henley ¼ mile sprint, maiden eight (bow)

1955 - Bairnsdale regatta, lightweight pair (bow)

1955 - Sale regatta, lightweight pair (bow)

From the Yarra Yarra Rowing Club newsletter 'Yarra Yabbie' no45, 1992-12-20

Boat christening and Christmas luncheon 20th December

With the christening of two coxless fours the Robin Jones and the Arthur Stickland plus a new eight the Laurie Muir.

Laurie in centre after the naming of an eight in his honour

After boat christening 1992 Laurie in centre in dark blazer 

From the Yarra Yabbie no67, 1997-8-20

New life members

Congratulations to Billy Burton and Laurie Muir on being elected life members of Yarra Yarra. They both join the other eight.

 Laurie Muir

When I joined the club in 1950, Laurie was rowing lightweight which was 10 stone, changed to 10 stone 5 lbs then 10 stone 10 lbs (72 kg) so this gave us an extended rowing career. I rowed with the “old man’ in 1950 and for many years. Hence the sponsorship of “Mitchell Muir” pairs at our regatta. Laurie always supported and still supports Yarra and rowing. He has not rowed for two years because of illness, but does a twenty minute ergo every Wednesday. Keep it up Laurie and we will see you in a boat.

From the 2014/15 Annual report:-

Laurie Muir

Laurie was a life member and a much loved member of Yarra Yarra. He joined the club in 1947 when he returned from Ceylon (Sri Lanka) after active service in the Australian Navy World War 2. One of his proudest moments which he could recall was meeting Lord Mountbatten who was then the Supreme Allied Fleet Commander.

Laurie rowed for Yarra Yarra over many years, with a notable recorded success in a lightweight four ‘’treble’ at the Warrnambool (26/12/1952), Camperdown (27/12/1952) and Colac (3/1/1953) regattas. Laurie and Ron Mitchell were in a lightweight pair at the Bairnsdale and Sale ‘double’ regattas during Easter 1955.  

Laurie was often seated as bow because he was relative light and was always a reliable oarsman. He rowed in many Head of the Yarra races.

Laurie maintained friendships with former stalwart club members, including Ted Woolcock, Leigh Gallacher and Mike Grant, as well as with present life member Ron Mitchell, Jim Skidmore, Peter Gill and Mark Brown.

Laurie kept active right up to the 1990’s when his advancing years and failing eyesight made it difficult for him to reach our clubhouse. For many years he enjoyed going to country and interstate regattas with his mates from Yarra Yarra.

Laurie was Yarra Yarra’s oldest member at the time of his passing aged 95.

Many members remember Laurie with great affection.

Vale Laurie Muir.

From the Yarra Yabbie February 2015:-

Vale Laurie Muir:-

Aged 96, Laurie Muir passed away peacefully on 5th February.

Laurie was a great contributor to the club for many years. Past and present members will fondly recall the numerous conversations held with Laurie after a row regarding the importance of the leg drive. He was a man passionate about his sport and beloved club. May he rest in peace

From the Yarra Yabbie 2015-4-23

Laurie Muir

Early this year our much loved life member, Laurie Muir, passed away at the grand old age of 96. To the best of our knowledge he was the last of the YYRC members to have served in the Second World War.

Below is an extract of the ecology given by Laurie’s niece Val Tonkin that spoke of Laurie’s experience in the Second World War. Happily it reflected on the sheer joy when the war was declared over.

When was declared in 1939 Laurie enlisted and was drafted into the army. One part of the experience which he really enjoyed was that he was able to wear the kilts of the Militia and the Gordon highlanders marching and parades, as this reflected his Scottish heritage which he could trace back to 1700.

Eighteen months later, his best friend Keith Horsborough  told him there was a good position in the Royal Navy, and suggested it would be perfect for Laurie, as it was organising of the supplies and necessities to maintain a ship at sea. He applied for and was accepted for this role which he carried out in his usual conscientious  and exemplary manner, Following his training at various Naval posts around Australia he was assigned to one of the “N” class destroyers….at one time the Nizam, also the Norman, so that in 1942 he headed into India and Colombo.

Their duty was to patrol the Indian and other oceans and to protect convoys of merchant supply ships from enemy submarines and aircraft. Fortunately he came through the war unscathed, although he was quite ill with Dengy Fever in Colombo and spent some time in the naval hospital recovering. During this recovery up in the mountains, which were covered in tea and rubber plantations, he met a friend who was involved in rowing boats along the nearby river, and this began what would be a lifetime passion.

Also, around this time he had the very good fortune to meet Lord Louis Mountbatten, who was then the “Supreme Allied Fleet Commander” and Laurie always considered this to be a great honour and a very special moment in his life.

Then, after all the trauma and tragedy of war, finally VE day arrived, at which time the Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Navy were Colombo port, and of course there were great celebrations, and Laurie would always love to tell the story of the huge concert that was organised for all the troops….his eyes would sparkle as he recalled the beautiful tropical night with bright stars and beautiful skies, and about 1,000 sailors treated to wonderful performances in a large marque by such well-known artists like Tommy Trinder and George Formby, a chorus of dancing girls from England, and the icing on the cake was Vera Lynn singing “We’ll meet again.” Hats were thrown in the air and everybody was cheering and it was all a wonderful night and a very special memory.

Next day the two Navies left Colombo for the voyage home, with Laurie on the destroyer Norman and the band on the Royal Navy ship playing Waltzing Matilda as a farewell to the Australian troops, Laurie often recounted what a special and emotional moment it was when Admiral Somerville announced over the loud speaker, You may proceed home! 

In 1947 Laurie joined YYRC where he made many friends, especially Ted Woolcock, and the two men were great mates for over 60 years. They attended regattas all over Australia and New Zealand and Laurie also tutored the younger club members in their rowing careers.

Another proud moment in his life was when he had a rowing boat named after him….the Laurie Muir, and that same boat….an Eight … won many races. He was a regular member until health problems prevented his actual involvement.

We remember Laurie most fondly.

1989 Head of Yarra Laurie in bow seat

1991 photo in old club house Laurie seated 6th from right

2002 AGM Laurie being assisted on stairs 4th from left 

Jim Skidmore
June 2024

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