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rowing victoria state championships

1924-1925 Rowing Victoria State Championships

These Championships were notable for a number of matters, the first Championship win by Merbein Rowing Club, the high standard sculling race and the depth of fields in the pair four and eight Championships. Given the depth of the fields, there was no surprise about the diversity of clubs winning the well fought out races.


Champion Men's Scull

(2 1/2 miles)

Time: 19:23.0

Margin 2 lengths

1st Arthur Cambridge, Sandhurst

2nd James Barton, Richmond

The Sculling Championship was held on Saturday, 14th March, 1925, over a 2 1/2 mile course upstream from the three-mile mark. Four scullers entered, but only J. Barton (Richmond), who held the title, and A. Cambridge (Sandhurst) started. Melbourne sculler E T J Kirby and Mercantile's G F McKenzie scratched. A splendid race resulted in a win for the Sandhurst representative. Mr. Cambridge secured his first championship honours. The race was impacted by a steamer which crossed the causing both scullers to stop whilst in a very even race. "Outrigger" in The Age on 16th March 1925 recorded ventured the view that Cambridge, being the younger sculler, recovered better in the minute or two waiting for the restart. Despite the 2 length margin, "Outrigger" also concluded that there was virtually no difference between the two scullers.

Arthur Cambridge

Championship Men's Pair

(1 mile)

Time: 6:23.8
Margin: 1 length 

1st Merbein – Bow: L A McTaggart, Str: J Storer, Cox: L Wilcox

2nd Banks - Bow: G W Ward, Str: W D Thompson, Cox: A Bailey

3rd Melbourne - Bow: B G Edwards, Str: H Schlichting, Cox: B Coombes 

4th Wendouree - Bow: W Ray B Todd, Str: John R Jopling, Cox: J Gercovitch

5th Mercantile - Bow: W J Pannell, Str: P Radich, Cox: M Bailey

6th Ballarat City - Bow: W Luke, Str: O Hauser, Cox: C James

7th University - Bow: H L Yuncken, Str: H M L Murray, Cox: E K Marks 

The Pair-oared Championship was rowed on Lake Wendouree, Ballarat, on Saturday, 6th June, 1925. A very satisfactory entry of eight crews was received, one of the crews, Ballarat, being prevented from starting on account of illness of one of the members. The Merbein Club did very well to win this event at its first attempt. This crew was describe as a young and powerful combination who had won their last six starts in junior senior pairs. "They fully realised that they were up against the best crews they had yet met and trained accordingly, having spent eight days prior to the race at Ballarat, and did two rows daily."  It was reported that the Champions Todd and Jopling not only faced stiff opposition, by Jopling "was suffering from boils, which undoubtedly interfered with his rowing". They also faced an internal challenge from within their Club which required them face a challenge from another crew a few days prior to the Championship.


Champion Men's Four

(2 1/2 miles)

Time: 16:26.0

Margin: 4 lengths

1st Melbourne – Bow: Theo S Flint, 10st. 11lb., 2: E J Farrell, 12st. 2lb., 3: F C Borrman, 12st., Str: H Schlichting, 11st., Cox: B Coombes

2nd Wendouree - Bow: F Walsh, 2: G Hutchins, 3: W B Ray Todd, Str: John R Jopling, Cox: J Gercovich

3rd Albert Park - Bow: L C Brittingham, 2: R Weir, 3: G R B Patterson, Str: Walter N Ricketts, Cox: E Turner

4th University - Bow: H M L Murray, 2: J C Garran, 3: E W Turner, Str: R H Keon-Cohen, Cox: J E StG Sproule

5th Mercantile - Bow: J M Cooper, 2: G P Courtney, 3: W J Pannell, Str: W G Pitt, Cox: J McKay

6th Hawthorn - Bow: N P Casson, 2: B S Cash, 3: E J Davey, Str: W A Holtham, Cox: J Calnan

The Four-oared Championship was rowed over a 2 1/2 mile course from Coode Canal to the 13 chain mark near Queen’s Bridge on Saturday, 13th December, 1924, when the Melbourne Club secured its first victory in this event. 

"Outrigger" in The Age on 15th December 1924 described a dramatic finish of the race. Melbourne was being challenged by Wendouree in a race for the line with Wendouree getting to within half a length of Melbourne with 200 yards to go. Unfortunately the two man of Wendouree crabbed and all speed was lost. The Wendouree crew limped to the line some four lengths behind.

Champion Men's Eight

(3 miles)

Time: 17:06.0
Margins: 2 lengths

1st Wendouree – Bow: R G Merriman, 11st., 2: C G Hutchins, 11st. 6lb., 3: R H Pierce, 11st. 6lb., 4: A Hall, 11st. 7lb., 5: S B McGorm, 11st. 10lb., 6: F N Yates, 11st. 5lb., 7: W R B Todd, 11st., Str: J R Jopling, 12st. 5lb., Cox: A King, Coach: Mr J B Suffren

2nd Melbourne - Bow: Theodore S Flint, 2: K Schlichting, 3: R M Erck, 4: C Deane, 5: F C Borrman, 6: E J Farrell, 7: B C Edwards, Str: H B Kirsch, Cox: C Smith, Cch: E Horsburgh

3rd Albert Park - Bow: George R Weir, 2: A H Barrenger, 3: L C Brittingham, 4: A N Finlay, 5: E O James, 6: R Weir, 7: G R B Patterson, Str: Walter N Ricketts, Cox: T S Power, Cch: Charles Donald

4th Mercantile - Bow: J M Cooper, 2: L C Montgomery, 3: J Greenshields, 4: R D Emms, 5: Robert V Gregg, 6: H Robert Rush, 7: Herbert Smyth, Str: Jud Harding, Cox: E Counihan, Cch: Sid Edwards 

5th Essendon - Bow: R A Jones, 2: C J Richards, 3: T L Mannix, 4: R A Freeman, 5: G J Adam, 6: George Weatheritt, 7: D Johnson, Str: W R Fraser, Cox: B Coombes, Cch: R C Breese

6th University - Bow: B T Keon-Cohen, 2: R H Hadley, 3: E W Gault, 4: L C L Murray, 5: O A Yenken, 6: J C Garran, 7: E W Turner, Str: R H Keon-Cohen, Cox: J StG Sproule, Cch: A Spowers

7th Banks - Bow: H Rusden, 2: A Kennedy, 3: R Smithers, 4: T Keogh, 5: H Eakins, 6: W D Thompson, 7: G W Ward, Str: J W Byrne, Cox: K Pilkington, Cch: J A Thomson

This event was rowed over a three-mile course from the 3 mile 2 chain mark to the 2 chain mark at Queen’s Bridge on Saturday, 14th March, 1925, being won by the Wendouree crew by two lengths.  The favoured crew for the race was University but they started badly and never really recovered. All crews stayed reasonably well together for the first mile making a splendid sight. Mercantile had the better of the early parts of the race but got sluggish in the middle stages, maybe because of illness in the crew to two members. The young Albert Park crew had a great tussle with the Mercantile crew. The young Essendon crew performed well and the commentators hoped that they might stay together over winter to race again in the next season.

However the race was won well by Wendouree and superbly stroked by John Jopling. "Outrigger" in The Age said that the race between Wendouree and Melbourne was won in two sprints. Melbourne appeared unable to respond to these sprints abut otherwise raced at the same pace of Wendouree.

Champion Women's Four

(Distance - Not recorded)

Time: No time taken
Margin: 1/2 length

1st Bendigo – Bow: J. Hesse, 2: N. Oldfield, 3: J. Walker, Str: J. Weibgen

2nd Albert Park Ladies - Bow: C. Elmore, 2: F. Connor, 3: Trembath, Str: Mrs. M. Pittman

This was the second win in succession for the Bendigo crew.

Victorious Bendigo Crew

Of note is that the stroke of the Albert Park ladies crew of this and the past year, Mrs M Pittman, was to become President and later Patron of the VLRA.

Whilst the Victorian Ladies' Rowing Association has now been formed, it appears that the Championship Fours were continued to be conducted as part of the Henley on Maribyrnong Regatta. Furthermore, the Championship now appears to be conducted for a trophy, the Roland-Fitzgerald Cup. The Age reported on the results on Monday 9th February as follows:

Ladies' Championship Fours (Roland-Fitzgerald Cup).— Final: Bendigo (Misses J. Hesse, bow; N. Oldfield, J. Walker and J. Weibgen, stroke, 1; Albert Park (Misses C. Elmore, bow; F. Connor, Trembath and Mrs. M. Pittman, stroke), 2. Won by half a length.


Victorian Rowing Association, Reports 1903 - 1944.

Mercantile Rowing Club Annual Report

Photo from the Andrew Guerin Collection, originally from the Cambridge family

The Age, Monday 15th December 1924

The Age, Monday 9th February 1925 , page 12. Sourced from

The Age, Monday 16th March 1925

The Pairs Championship program from Rowing Victoria Inc 

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