Scroll To Top
australian rowers profiles and history

Dushan Stankovich

Banks Rowing Club (VIC)
1961 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship emergency
1962 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship three seat - First
1962 – British Empire & Commonwealth Games – Men’s Eight three seat - Gold
1962 – World Championships – Selected for Men’s Eight but withdrew for study reasons

Finish of the 1962 Commonwealth Games Eight Race

Dushan recalls these days with warmth and great humility: On 25th November 1961 the Banks Senior Eight, after forty years in the wilderness, led Mercantile home for the second time in eight days.  It was an exhilarating experience, comparable, we thought, to breaking the sound barrier for the first time or running a sub-four minute mile.  Filled with youthful ardour, I plucked up the courage to ask [his wife to be] Ruth to accompany me to a Mercantile barbecue that night. After the Kings Cup in 1962, when the European Championships were upgraded to World Championships and the Commonwealth Games Eight considered making the trip to Lucerne, I regretfully decided that I would do without the icing on the cake on this occasion.  David Boykett took my place in the crew.  David had been selected in the Victorian Eight earlier that year but had withdrawn for personal reasons, as I remember.  Even I was able to acknowledge that I was not a better rower than David, who had been a member of the magnificent 1956 Olympic Eight and had stroked the Mercantile Eight more recently.  So I did not really expect to get my seat back for the Commonwealth Games in November.  Fortunately for me, before the Victorian Rowing Association, as it then was, approved the overseas trip, Secretary Norm Cairnes, who was also the Mercantile Senior 8 coach at the time, required assurances that no-one would lose their seat if the crew went to Lucerne. “The past is a foreign country:  they do things differently there."

Dushan died suddenly on Wednesday 25th October 2017 during his weekly double-scull outing with Reg McKay. Stankovich was a Life Member and significant benefactor of Banks Rowing Club.

Dushan joined the Club in 1955 as a student member and initially winning beginner and novice four races in his first season and the Thompson Maher Fours. He followed this up winning the coxswains trophy for the Jack Cass Pairs in 1957 as well winning the Thompson Maher Fours again. He rapidly outgrew the weight limit for coxswains to become a promising young oarsman.

By the following season Dushan had progressed through Novice and Maiden categories to the Club’s Junior Eight. He also rowed successfully with his brother Mark in many pair races and they also won the Norman Martin Fours in 1959.

The 1960/61 season saw Dushan progress to the Club’s Senior crews racing in Senior pair, four and eight oared races although wins were hard to come by at first. However, he was selected as emergency for the 1961 Victorian crew, which won the Kings Cup. And he placed second to Brian Vear in the Fulford Cup.

All that hard work under coach Alan Jacobsen paid dividends the following season with Dushan at 5 in the Club’s winning 1962 Victorian Championship Senior Eight, the Club’s first win in this event for over 60 years. Dushan was selected in the Victorian Eight which won the Kings Cup at Ballarat in March 1962, and in doing so the right to represent Australia in the Eight-oared crew at the Commonwealth Games in November. The Commonwealth Games Eight, with 6 Banks members aboard (Neville Howell, Paul Guest, Terry Davies, Charlie Lehman, Ian Douglas and Dushan) rowed a fantastic race in the final to just hold off New Zealand to win the gold medal. These were the glory days for the Club and Dushan was a large part of its success.

Dushan continued to row for the Club for a few further seasons and was in the Club’s winning Victorian Champion Senior Eight in 1964, 1965 and 1966 as well as winning Senior Four and Pair races during these years.

Dushan was a very generous donor to Banks Rowing Club in its many fund-raising campaigns and in 1999 he was awarded Life Membership, the Club’s highest honour for outstanding service to the Club.

Dushan was survived by his wife, Ruth and his children.

Andrew Guerin 2011- updated Nov 2017

Website by Hope Stewart—Website Design & Management