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History of NSW Central Districts Rowing Association

NSW Central Districts Rowing Association

CDRA Member Clubs 

Manning River Rowing Club 

Manning River Rowing Club - established 1957 – foundation member of CDRA.

The club rented a weatherboard shed built on piles over the river in the centre of Taree for 8 years before having to move out. Boats were stored in a member’s yard for 3 years while the club built their own brick clubhouse which was opened in 1971. 

The club has a six lane 2000 metre course on the Manning River finishing at the boatshed. Prior to the formation of the CDRA, Manning was an active member of the NRRA and regularly travelled north for competition.

In early years, the club conducted two annual regattas; the Spring Regatta on the October long weekend which became a NSWRA pointscore regatta in 1969 plus a limited program of races as part of the annual Taree Aquatic Festival in mid-January that catered for power boats, sailing and rowing. 

In 1992, after the Aquatic Festival moved to Easter, Manning’s NSWRA pointscore moved to January, eventually becoming the Taree Summer Regatta. Manning River has conducted CDRA regattas since the first season 1989/90, hosting the CDRA championships and Schools regatta as a double regatta weekend since their inceptions in 1993 and 1994 until the two were combined into a single 2 day regatta in 2003.

Newcastle University Boat Club

Newcastle University Boat Club (NUBC) - formed in 1961 through the sponsorship of Professor Godfrey Tanner - foundation member of CDRA. Until 2001, the boat club operated from a nineteenth century brick warehouse on the Hunter River at Raymond Terrace which had been purchased in 1962.
In August 2001, NUBC relocated from their dilapidated building in Raymond Terrace to boat space leased in the new Endeavour shed at Berry Park. In 2003, Newcastle University negotiated with Endeavour RC to establish a permanent presence on the site. Endeavour bought additional land and built a boat shed as project manager for the university. 

The NUBC boats were moved from the Endeavour shed into the ‘NUSport Pavillion’ on a 50 year lease in April 2004.

The boat club’s original rowing venue on the Hunter River was wide and straight for 3 miles but sandbars limited the racing course to 1000 metres. The students competed in the annual Inter-Varsity regattas and conducted an annual inter-faculty regatta to which the Manning River club was also invited. During the 1990s, NUBC conducted CDRA regattas on various courses: Grahamstown Dam at Medowie, the Williams River at Raymond Terrace and their home course on the Hunter River. After relocating from Raymond Terrace in 2001, all NUBC regattas have been conducted at Berry Park.

Port Macquarie Rowing Club

Port Macquarie Rowing Club - formed as Hastings River Rowing Club in 1972 with the loan of a reg four from Manning River RC – foundation member of CDRA.

The members built a shed on council land beside the Hastings River at Port Macquarie and conducted an annual regatta on the June long weekend. The Hastings course could accommodate 8 crews but a cable ferry upriver limited the course to 800 metres while the open river downstream was too busy for shared use of the waterway.

In 1983, Hastings River RC changed their name to Port Macquarie RSL Club Rowing Club. 

The club went into recession soon after their 1984 regatta, the last to be conducted on the June long weekend. The shed keys were handed to the council who called a public meeting in August regarding the future use of the boatshed. The keys were passed to Jim Young and Paul McReynolds who reformed the club as Port Macquarie Rowing Club. 

Port Macquarie conducted NSWRA and CDRA regattas on their home course on the Hastings River until 1993, moving in 1994 to a 1500m course on the Wilson River at Telegraph Point. Since 1997, Port Macquaire’s NSWRA/RNSW regattas have been conducted at Taree in January, initially as a double regatta weekend with Manning River RC, then combing as the 3 day Taree Summer Regatta in 2010. CDRA regattas remained at Telegraph Point until an 800m course was established on the Hastings River at Wauchope in 2011. The club’s last CDRA regatta returned to Port Macquarie in 2018 with no regatta conducted in the 2019/20 season.

Central Coast Youth Rowing Club

Central Coast Youth Club Rowing Club - was in existence in Gosford from the late 1970s and was a foundation member of CDRA. Having no boatshed, the club operated from a boat trailer beside Brisbane Water at Gosford. Central Coast YCRC conducted an annual NSWRA pointscore regatta during the early 1980s. Although Central Coast had been a member of the association since its inception, the club did not compete in CDRA’s first regatta season and did not pay any membership fees after 1991.

Hunter Valley Rowing Club

Hunter Valley Rowing Club - was formed in 1979 by Colin Randall among mining professionals in the Singleton area.  Boats were stored in a milking bail at Singleton Heights and transported by trailer to Lake Liddell for training. As the lake was unsuitable for regattas, the Hunter Valley club had to travel to Taree and Port Macquarie for racing experience. Although HVRC was a founding member of CDRA, the club did continue beyond 1982. 

Camden Haven Rowing Club

Camden Haven Rowing Club – paid affiliation in 1984. 

Based in Kendall, the club did not participate in any regattas and did not renew their affiliation.

Lake Macquarie Rowing Club

Lake Macquarie Rowing Club – affiliated 1987. In 1980 Bob Williams, a life member of Manning River RC, moved to Warners Bay on Lake Macquarie where he coached schoolboys in a reg four on loan from Manning River. In 1987, boat storage was obtained in the Speers Point Sailing Club shed and Hunter Rowing Club was formed.

After 11 years paying rent for boat space in the sailing club shed, Hunter gained access to public land at Booragul next to Teralba Sailing Club where they built a boatshed of their own in 1998. 

In 2011, Hunter RC changed their name to Lake Macquarie Rowing Club. Hunter RC conducted regattas on the lake from 1987 which had NSWRA pointscore status from time to time until the last NSW regatta in 2005.

The club has held an annual CDRA regatta since the 1990/91 season. All regattas were conducted at Speers Point until 1999 when racing moved to a 1000m course finishing at their new clubhouse in Cockle Bay. After a series of regattas had been cancelled due to rough water, Lake Macquarie moved their regatta to Berry Park in 2015.

Mater Dei College Wyong

Mater Dei College Wyong – paid affiliation in 1988 but did not participate in any CDRA activites.

Macleay Rowing Club

Macleay RC Smithtown – indicated an intention to row in 1989 that did not eventuate.

Grahamstown Rowing and Aquatic Club

Grahamstown Rowing and Aquatic Club – operated on Grahamstown Dam at Medowie in 1990. After a single four raced at the last regatta of the 1989/90 season and made an entry but did not start in December 1990, the club became inactive.

Upper Hunter Rowing Club

Upper Hunter Rowing Club – affiliated 1990. Formed by Scott Barnett, a member of Scone Rugby Club who had previously rowed with Shoalhaven RC. A single four raced at one regatta in 1990 when the club affiliated as Scone Rugby Club Rowing Club.

The club changed their name to Upper Hunter Rowing Club in 1993 and began 13 seasons of regular competition until activity ceased in 2006. In 2012, the rugby club passed the rowing club’s assets into the joint management of Scone Grammar School and St Joseph’s High School at Aberdeen. After 8 years of non-participation, Upper Hunter entered 4 regattas in the 2014/15 season. Scone Grammar had taken on full responsibility for the club after the original bequest of joint management had not been successful. The club’s crews were students from Scone Grammar under the guidance of teacher Chris Brennan, an active member of Lake Macquarie RC. After 2 more years of inactivity, Upper Hunter resumed regular competition in the 2017/18 season. 

Upper Hunter built a shed at Glenbawn Dam and hosted 11 CDRA regattas between 1993 and 2003 over a 1500m course beside the dam wall.  

Hunter Valley Grammar School

Hunter Valley Grammar School (HVGS) – affiliated 1991. At the beginning of 1991, Peter Bond was employed by the school as a mathematics teacher with the additional responsibility of developing the rowing program. Peter had rowed with Nepean RC, had been rowing master at Nepean High School and had held the position of CHS convenor in the 1980s. 

Initially, boats were stored in an empty boiler room attached to Walka Water Works in Maitland. The school hosted 4 CDRA regattas on the 500m water works dam from 1992 to 1994. Activity at the site ceased in June 1995 due to blue-green algae contamination and the 1995 regatta was conducted on Fennell Bay at Blackalls Park. 

HVGS bought land at Berry Park and built a boatshed ready for the 1996 regatta. The school’s 1750m course on the Hunter River at Berry Park has become the most used course in the region. 

Morpeth Rowing Club

Morpeth Rowing Club – operated for a year on Walka Water Works at Maitland using HVGS boats. Two fours participated in 2 regattas during 1992 then disbanded.

Newcastle Rowing Club

Newcastle Rowing Club - affiliated 1992. The club was jointly founded by Jim Bardakos, who had left Hunter RC after some disagreements, and Val Kost. The club operated from a boat trailer kept at Jim’s home until the Honeysuckle Development Corporation made a shed available on the southern side of Newcastle Harbour in mid-1993. The trailer and four boats had been acquired from the inoperative Central Coast RC. The club moved between four sheds on the southern side of the harbour provided by the Honeysuckle Corporation until being obliged to vacate their last site due to the discovery of asbestos in April 2007 and damage from the Pasha Bulker storm in June. 

The boats were put into storage away from the water on the old BHP site.

In February 2009, the club obtained development consent on government owned land beside Throsby Creek and built a boatshed of their own.

The club has conducted an annual CDRA regatta since the 1993/94 season, once on the harbour at Stockton, four times on the South Arm of the Hunter River beside the BHP and continuously from 1999 on a 3 lane 400m course on Throsby Creek where Newcastle has hosted the CDRA Sprint Championships since 2002. 

Armidale Rowing Club

Armidale Rowing Club – affiliated 1993.

Formed in 1988. A shed was built on Lake Malpas 30 kilometres north of Armidale which was shared by the club, the Armidale School (TAS) and New England Girls School (NEGS).
Armidale hosted regattas on Lake Malpas from 1992 to 1999 including the CDRA/NRRA Challenge for 5 years from 1995.

After a stand-alone regatta in 2001, rowing on the lake ceased due to blue-green algae contamination and Armidale RC discontinued all CDRA activities. The club reformed in 2012 and resumed paying affiliation to CDRA although their only participation has been at the Taree Summer Regatta from 2015 onwards.

Newcastle Grammar School

Newcastle Grammar School – affiliated in 1993.

Originally run as school sport with Newcastle RC coaches in Newcastle boats, the school entered composite crews with Newcastle in their early years. 

The school moved to Speers Point in 1996 under the guidance of Peter Wiseman, a coxn from Victoria, where they shared storage in the sailing club shed with Hunter RC. The school relocated to Teralba with Hunter RC when the club built their new boatshed. 

Newcastle Grammar has conducted a CDRA regatta at Berry Park since 2013.

Irrawang High School

Irrawang High School - affiliated 1994. Irrawang had participated intermittently from 1991 with the assistance of NUBC. The school moved with City RC to Grahamtown Dam in about 1997 and ceased activity at the end of the 2000/01 season. 

City Rowers Club

City Rowers Club – affiliated 1996. Founded by Jim Bardakos who had left Newcastle RC after some disagreements with the club. Initially, City operated from a boat trailer stored at Jim’s home but eventually they gained access to storage space in the Grahamstown Dam Aquatic Centre at Medowie with Irrawang HS joining them. City’s last participation was in the 2000/01 season.

Endeavour Rowing Club

Endeavour Rowing Club – affiliated 1998. The club was formed by parents of HVGS students and operated for 3 years out of the HVGS shed using HVGS boats. 

In January 2001, additional land was purchased at Berry Park that enabled Endeavour RC to build a shed of their own, with the club’s boats transferred from the HVGS shed in July of that year.

Endeavour has conducted an annual CDRA regatta since 2000 and the NSW pointscore Henley-on-Hunter regatta since 2002, both on the Berry Park course.

Brisbane Water Rowing Club

Brisbane Water Rowing Club – affiliated 2003. Founded by Dave Cullen, who had previously rowed with Nepean RC in the 1980s. The club has no facilities and operates from boat racks beside the water against the rear wall of Gosford Swimming Pool. The club hosted a single CDRA regatta on Brisbane Water in 2010. 

Wallis Lakes Rowing Club

Wallis Lakes Rowing Club – paid affiliation in 2006. The club’s attempts to obtain a site in Foster were not successful and the club did not continue. 

Central Coast Rowing Club

Central Coast Rowing Club – affiliated in 2008. Founded by ex-members of Brisbane Water RC and operates on Kincumber Broadwater from a boat trailer located beside Davistown RSL Club.

St Josephs Secondary College Port Macquarie – affiliated in 2012. 

Hastings Regional Rowing Group – affiliated in 2013. 

These two clubs operated together from the Rocks Ferry Reserve on the Hastings River at Wauchope, the site chosen by Port Macquarie as a regatta course in 2011. After competing as St Josephs for two years then primarily as Hastings Region in the following two years, there were no further entries from either entity following the 2015/16 season.

Karuah Group Rowing and Aquatic Club

Karuah Rowing and Aquatic Club – affiliated 2020. Established by John Baskett, formerly of Nepean RC, in conjunction with the aboriginal mission at Karuah. During 2019, the club made some tentative steps with training days at Berry Park and obtained boats by donation from regional clubs.

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