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australian rowers profiles and history

Bruce Richardson

Nagambie Rowing Club (VIC)

Bruce commenced his rowing in the mid 1950s and his first recorded win was as a 14 year old at the Yea Regatta in January 1957 when he stroked a beginners four to victory. 

Throughout his rowing career, he was coached by Alf Lodding, father of fellow pair oared rower Neil Lodding.

In 1960-61 season, he formed an excellent pair combination with fellow Nagambie rower Neil Lodding. This pair combination that would race in the 1964 Olympic Games won their first races in the 1960-61 season in both novice and maiden pairs. By January 1961, they were winning junior pairs and they won the Victorian Championship. By the end of the 1960-61 season, they had won 13 races in the pair.

In 1962, this youthful pair combination of Lodding (18 years old) and Richardson (19 years old) attempted selection for the Empire Games in Perth. The season started well with a senior coxless pairs win on the Yarra River and they then continued to win the pair oared races throughout Victoria. These races included the Victorian Championship, the first pair oared championship for Nagambie in over 40 years.

The most challenging race in 1962 was at Henley against Mosman's Grace and Hatfield, also aiming for the Empire Games. Steering issues caused the race to be stopped at the 1000m mark and the race restarted. It finished in a desperate dead heat. Similarly challenging was the NSW Championships that year using a borrowed boat which did not turn out to be suitable. The crew finished third. Rowing supporters in Nagambie funded the trip.

The test races in 1962 tested the young crew finishing third.

The disappointment of 1962 did not phase them or their coach. Alf Lodding was quoted in the Bendigo Advertiser on 1st April 1963 that his crew was the best in Australia and they were being set for the Tokyo Olympic Games. They had another successful season.

The 1963-64 season started with a rare defeat for the Nagambie pair at the VRA regatta after being disqualified for steering difficulties. A significant change was made to the coxed pair combination with the loss of cox Graeme Lodding, cousin of Neil, and the introduction of 14 year old Wayne Gammon as cox. 

At the National Championships in May 1964, The crew raced both the coxed and coxless event. In the coxless pair race, they led through the first 1000m with their trade mark fast start. However the Mosman crew rowed through them rating 40 the whole way through the race. Over the last 250m the Nagambie crew and being one length down, they recognised defeat and slowed down to prepare for the coxed pair event later in the day. The local newspaper recorded that they won the coxed pair event easily by a nine second margin. This win was its 53rd pair oared win. 

Sadly the Olympic Games result was disappointing for the crew but a great achievement for this country town crew.

In 1964, from the left, Wayne Gammon, Bruce Richardson and Neil Lodding

Bruce did not continue rowing after the Olympic Games. Neil continued rowing in a new pair combination with Ron Bryant. This combination worked well for this season but did not continue.

Some details;

1961 - Victorian Men's Junior Pair Championship, stroke - First

1961 - Victorian Country Pair Championship, stroke - First

1961-62 - Vice-Captain, Nagambie Rowing Club

1962 - Victorian Pair Championships, stroke - First

1962 - Victorian Sprint Pair Championship, stroke - First

1962 - Victorian Country Pair Championship, stroke - First

1962 - Henley on Yarra, Men's Pair, stroke - Dead heat for First

1962 - NSW Men's Coxed Pair Championship, stroke - Third

1962 - National Men's Coxless Pair Championships, stroke - Third

1963 - Victorian Men's Pair Championship - First

1963 - Victorian Country Pair Championship - First

1964 - Victorian Men's Pair Championship - First

1964 - National Men's Coxless Pair Championship, stroke - Second

1964 - National Men's Coxed Pair Championship, stroke - First

1964 - Olympic Games, Men's Coxed Pair, stroke - Ninth

Andrew Guerin
August 2021


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