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australian rowers profiles and history

Alex B Sloan

Electric Telegraph Rowing Club (Vic) to 1892 then Mercantile Rowing Rowing Club

1894 – Intercolonial Men’s Eight Championship four seat – First

1895 – Intercolonial Men’s Eight Championship four seat – First

1896 – Intercolonial Men’s Eight Championship stroke – First

1896 – Intercolonial Men’s Four Championship stroke – First

1896 – Helms Trophy for rowing – Top international award*

1897 – Intercolonial Men’s Eight Championship stroke – First

1898 – Intercolonial Men’s Eight Championship stroke – First

1901 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship stroke – First

1902 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship six seat – First

1904 – Life member Mercantile Rowing Club

1922 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship coach – Second

1923 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship selector

1930 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship coach – First

Captain of Mercantile Rowing Club

* The Helms Foundation was created in 1936 by Paul Helms, a sportsman and philanthropist, and the Helm Museum and headquarters was built in 1948. It is a most prestigious award. Ray Todd and James Tomkins have also received the same award.

Above – 1895 Mercantile Champion Four – Alex Sloan in the two seat

Alex Sloan won 58 races including an Intercolonial Four Championship and 7 Intercolonial Eight Championships.  He declined selection in the Victorian crew on six other occasions.

The annual report of 1897-98 season records as follows:

That a crew stroked by Mr A B Sloan should be defeated is so novel an experience in the history of our Club, as to call for reference in this report to Mr Sloan’s splendid achievements during the past four seasons. During this period he took part in 32 intercolonial, champion, and open senior races, and won no less than 25 of them. He has stroked to victory 2 intercolonial eights, 1 intercolonial four, 2 champion eights, 2 champion fours, 1 senior eight, 6 senior fours and 6 senior pairs. It should also be here placed on record that the Mercantile senior four, which Mr Sloan joined in 1894, and of which he has been stroke during the past two seasons, has won every senior four-oared race during the last five years, and that on several occasions the senior four-oared race has been struck out of regatta programmes because the entry from the Mercantile Club was the only one received.

He was also a coach of exceptional ability including coaching several Victorian crews in the  Interstate Men’s Eight Championships.

He also coached at Scotch College where he presided over 20 Head of the River crews from 1898 to 1925 and recorded 7 wins (including the famous dead heat in 1919, finally won by Scotch in a re row).  His grandson of the same name rowed for Australia.  He was a life member of Mercantile Rowing Club where he was Captain for eight years. He coached club crews both whilst rowing and beyond.

Alex Sloan as he was an outstanding rower and coach. Alex Sloan was an accomplished sportsman also being a leading footballer. He was also one of Fitzroy’s finest football league players in the rowing off season. He captained Fitzroy to two premierships in 1898 & 1899, playing as an amateur.

Above – 1895 Victorian Crew which won the Intercolonial Eights Championship. Alex Sloan back left.

The 1903-04 Annual Report records as follows:

Your Committee desire to show their earnest appreciation of the many valuable services so unselfishly rendered to the Club by your Captain, Mr A B Sloan. Most of the Club’s greatest successes have been achieved during his regime, and to him is due to a very large extent the present prosperity the Club enjoys and they therefor recommend the members at this meeting to elect Mr A B Sloan a life member of the Club as some slight return of the care and attention he has always devoted to its interests.

Andrew Guerin 2010

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