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A Centenary of Rowing Regattas–
Murray Rowing Association

7. An Explanation

Rutherglen Lake, Winners of Maiden Four 1952

L Pearce Stroke, Ernest Taylor, Claude Taylor, Doug Stanton, I Jasper Cox

Why is this the one hundredth Regatta if the first Regatta was held in 1860, and only five years missed during the second World War? One year was lost in 1875, no account has been found of a Regatta held in that year and the only comment was "want of' support" (See Appendix 1). It also appears that the first regatta of 1860 was not counted in the official records, although it cannot be denied that a regatta was held that year. The "Federal Standard" at Chiltern has advertisements regarding the regatta to take place on Saturday, 4th February, 1960 to commence at 2 p.m. The advertisement declared, "Executive Committee - G. E. Baldock, E. Sanger, W. Butler and I. Read, Esqs. First Race for four oared boats, 1 1/2 miles, heats. Entrance £1, Prize £15. Second race for two oared boats, with steerer, 1 mile, one event. Entrance 10/-, Prize, £8. Third race, Sculling Match, Prize £3. Grand Swimming Match, in trousers and shirt, for a sweepstake of 5/-, with £3 added. On January 25th, 1860, the launching of a `handsome craft" for the "Coming regatta" was reported in the same paper as being launched from Mr. Butler's building yard in Wahgunyah. "This craft was immediately succeeded in her cradle by another of equally "beautiful lines".

The boats started from a buoy moored opposite Foord's mill to a station three-quarters of a mile down the river, and rounding, back again. Great excitement was manifested on the placing of the boats, and on Blair's party, in the Chiltern boat, bets were freely offered at 25 to 1 without takers. Amidst cries of "Go it Chiltern" the `White Squall" took the lead, and without effort made her distance some 50 yards ahead. Baldock's (Wahgunyah), second, followed by Albury at about half a length, and Butler's (Wahgunyah) four or five lengths behind". Chiltern beat Albury in the Paired oared race, but from some misunderstanding, the um¬pires refused to give over the prize, and intend referring the matter to "Bell's Life". From this report one Wahgunyah boat mentioned could have been built by Lapthorne at Foord's mill because the Baldock family were early pioneer settlers with the Foords.

Supporting the claim that the first Murray-Moodemere Regatta was held in 1860 are the facts that the venue was the same as the next Regatta in 1861, both G. E. Baldock and W. Butler were in the 1860 and 1861 Regatta Committee, and that the same boat builder (R. Blair) built the boats successful in the main race at both regattas (although with the founding of Rutherglen he had now moved to the new goldfield) and that those present in both 1860 and 1861 (such as John Hiskins) considered the latter Regatta to be a continuation of the former. Those who claim otherwise would point out that it was not until 1861 that the Regatta was held on New Year's Day, and that the term "Wahgunyah Annual Regatta Cup" or "Annual Challenge Cup" was not used until the same year. In conclusion, one might claim that the first Regatta, using the Murray-Moodemere area as a venue, was in February, 1860, before the commencement of the Melbourne Regatta later that year. On the other hand, the annual Regatta, as it became popularly known and which developed from that first regatta, was not begun until the lst of January, 1861. To satisfy the purists, this present 100th Regatta is dated from New Year's Day, 1861, but the local Association takes pride in the fact that the first Regatta in this area was held on February 4th, 1860.

Rutherglen Lake Winners of the Maiden Eight 1953

I Jasper Cox, L Pearce Stroke, Ernest Taylor, Claude Taylor, A Pleming, B Pearce, Doug Stanton, T Buckingham, D Deas Bow