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australian rowers profiles and history

Anne Titterton ASM, OAM (nee Ellison)

Sydney University Boat Club (NSW)

Gaining an appreciation of the water and regattas during school years through the Sea Rangers, Anne accepted an invitation to be part of the commencement of women's rowing at Sydney University. It was fortunate that coaching was offered by a men's coach, Phil Titterton, who was to become her husband. Without this support, initiating women's rowing would have been a lot more difficult. As an aside, Phil has enjoyed a great career coaching and still coaches today at Sydney University, including some of his early rowers who are now part of his masters squads. His volunteering has also been of the highest order.

When it was time to establish a structure around women's rowing, Anne volunteered, and became the inaugural President of the Sydney University Women's Rowing Club. In those days, and until about the year 2000, Sydney University sport was run by separate men's and women's Sports Associations. Although they raced under the same colours, they were quite separate including the women's club having to rent racks in the men's shed. 

Given her level headedness and willingness, she was almost immediately taking positions on management committees for Sydney University sport, initially as the student representative. Apart from a brief break when the family moved to Woolongong, Anne has continuously served Sydney University Sport for over 50 years. 

By 1968, Anne travelled to the Intervarsity Regatta on the Hunter River but did not compete. However she was not to be denied in 1969 at Lake Wendouree when she won both the scull and four. Having reached the pinnacle of university sport, she was awarded her rowing blue. Interestingly, she still regards her blue highly, not so much for the achievement, but for the introduction to a great sporting community. She has attended just about every Blues dinner since, and marvels at how people, even in their 90s, annually dust off their blues jacket to celebrate the next generation of achievers. She also loves the joy which the awarding of a blue gives to recipients. 

1970 was not such a great year for Anne, catching glandular fever at the University Championships and having to return home without competing.

But 1971 made up for this absence with victories in both the Victoria Cup for lightweight fours at the Interstate Championships and in the University Championships in the same boat class. Whilst she raced in the three seat in the NSW crew, she raced bow in the University crew due to the significant style differences between the two crews.

The 1973 Interstate race in the Victoria Cup was one to remember - an unbelievably close race from the first to the last stroke. It was a tough, but superb race.

1973 NSW lightweight four
Left to right: Margaret Mackenzie (Coach), Vern Bowrey (Cox), Jill Dennis (bow), Evelyn Adams (nee Gardiner - 2), Anne Titterton (nee Ellison - 3), Therese Clancy (Stroke)

As a consequence of the success of both the NSW open and lightweight fours at the Australian Interstate Championships, and not long after our return to Sydney, both crews were nominated to compete against New Zealand in the Queen’s Plate. Anne commented: "This was the first time we became aware of this event but understood it to be a race for women to be held between three nations: Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand. An Interdominion race as it were, though on this occasion Great Britain did not compete. 

The race was held on the Parramatta River course, finishing off Sydney Rowing Club. The results were:

First: Australian Women’s HW crew

Second: New Zealand Women’s HW crew

Third: Australian Women’s LW crew"

A second race against the New Zealanders took place at the Men's Interstate Championships at Murray Bridge SA where the open four was again victorious.

Interestingly, she also mentions a memorable win at the FISA Masters Regatta in Adelaide in 1997 in a coxed four. The international FISA level win was quite special to her and her fellow rowers.

Winning at 1997 FISA World Masters in Adelaide
Photo courtesy of Hebfotos

Her contribution to Sydney University sport has been outstanding and is detailed below in her citation for her Honorary Fellowship. She found this work a great way to contribute and add to university sport, which is so valuable to students. Her own experience was drawn upon to explain. The discipline required for such an exacting and tough sport assisted her in her studies and development. But more importantly, as with all meaningful sport, life-long friendships are created and developed. Like so many people involved in sports administration, she sees her efforts assisting the development of young people and enabling them to share the disciplines, life long memories and friendships that result. Her highlights included the merging of the men's and women's sports associations at Sydney University and the significant capital works undertaken. The Honorary Fellowship, though unexpected by her, was a memorable and treasured acknowledgement of what she describes as a "wonderful journey".

The Titterton family have backed up their interest in Sydney University sport and their volunteering with philanthropy, demonstrating the laudable principle that those who can, should. 

Well done Anne on a such an important contribution to sport.

The following citation for her Honorary Fellowship of Sydney University is worthy of being reproduced in full to illustrate her commitment.

Anne was awarded a Bachelor of Arts and a Diploma of Education from the University of Sydney during which time she became a founding member of the Sydney University Women's Rowing Club, rowing out of Linley Point and serving as its first president for five years. 

In 1969, she was the recipient of a University of Sydney Blue, one of the highest honours a sportsperson can receive in recognition of her outstanding achievements in competing at the highest level of sporting competition in her chosen sport of rowing. In 1995 she was awarded a University Gold in recognition of her outstanding and sustained service to Sydney University Sport. In 2000 she was awarded an Australian Sports Medal for her contribution to the sport of rowing in Australia. 

Anne represented the university in Inter Varsity Competitions and represented NSW twice and Australia once. She has volunteered and competed continuously for the Women’s Rowing Club, now the Boat Club, since 1967. In the 1990's, she became a founding member of the Boat Club Masters' program together with her husband Phil Titterton OAM, whom she first met while rowing for the University, and she still coordinated and rowed with the Masters' program until recently. In 1967 she joined Sydney University Women's Sports Association and in 1972 was the first appointed University Senate Representative. She continued in this role with the amalgamated SUSF until 2019.

In addition to her 50-plus years of service to University rowing, Anne has volunteered over 20 tireless years of her time and experience. Anne is an Honorary Life Member of both the Sydney Uni Women's Sports Association and Sydney University Sport & Fitness. 

One of Anne's passions, while volunteering at the University, has been the design and implementation of strategies to improve participation opportunities for the students at the University taking a holistic approach to enriching the student experience. She has greatly assisted the Sydney University Sport & Fitness Management Committee in finding new ways to help every member enjoy sport and compete at national and international levels. More specifically, she was formative in developing a strategy that will support SUSF members and sports clubs; she strengthened SUSF's relationship with key stakeholders; and helped to plan infrastructure projects that will benefit generations-to-come at the University.

Philanthropy is another notable aspect of Anne's efforts over her last 50 years with the University. Anne has helped fund several sporting scholarships including the Bruce Ross Sporting Scholarship, the Robert Smithies Scholarship and the Rod Tubbs Australian Rules Football Scholarship which provide their recipients financial support, academic assistance and access to sports psychologists and facilities, thereby improving the recipient in body, mind and spirit. 

Anne has also heavily supported the SUBC and SUSF infrastructure drives. The Tittertons have been generous donors to the construction of the Thyne Reid Boathouse in 2017 and to several capital campaigns including the Finishing Touches Fund for the SUSAC Extension in 2013 and the Building on Excellence Campaign for the new TAG Family Grandstand in 2015. 

Over the last 20 years, Anne has attended almost every Annual Sports Awards and Blues dinner. Since her time as an athlete, she has also contributed as a volunteer on the Blues Committee and as an event coordinator at several Blues awards at which she has also assisted as an announcer. 

The awarding of this Fellowship is in recognition of Anne's extraordinary support of the interests and welfare of the student experience and student athletes, and for her extraordinary dedication to improving access to and participation in sport and fitness at the University of Sydney.

Chancellor, I present Anne Titterton and invite you to confer the title of Honorary Fellow of the University upon her.

Conferring of her Honorary Fellowship in 2021
Photo courtesy of SUBC


1967-2019 - Over 50 years of service to Sydney University rowing including numerous administrative roles.

1967-1972 – Inaugural President Sydney University Women’s Rowing Club

1969 – Australian University Championships, scull – First

1969 – Australian University Championships, four, bow - First

1969 – Awarded Sydney University rowing blue

1971 – Australian University Championships, women’s coxed four, bow – First

1971 – Interstate Women’s Lightweight Four Championship three seat – First

1973 – Interstate Women’s Lightweight Four Championship three seat – First

1990’s – Co-founder of the Sydney University masters program

1995 - Awarded a University Gold in recognition of her outstanding and sustained service to Sydney University Sport

2000 - Awarded an Australian Sports Medal for her contribution to the sport of rowing in Australia

2021 – Conferred the title of Honorary Fellow of Sydney University in recognition of her extraordinary support of the interests and welfare of the student experience and student athletes, and for her extraordinary dedication to improving access to and participation in sport and fitness at the University of Sydney

2023 - Awarded OAM for services to rowing

Andrew Guerin
December 2022 (updated 2023)

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