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rowing victoria state championships

1929 Rowing Victoria State Championships

Other than for the Essendon Ladies in the women's four, the races fell pretty much as expected. Arthur Cambridge continued on his very successful ways as did Wendouree in the Champion Pairs.  The strengthening Mercantile Rowing Club won the fours and had a competitive crew in the eights which Ballarat won the eights comfortably.

Of note was the women's four Championship which was narrowly won by Essendon Ladies to take out their first Victorian Fours Championship. This crew was subsequently selected to race in Perth in the Interstate Championships where they won, the first Victorian women's crew to take out this Championship. They were the toast of Essendon being the first team ever to bring an Australian Championship - in any sport to the Essendon district.


Champion Men's Scull

(2 1/2 miles)

Time: 19:25.0
Margins: 100 yards

1st Arthur Cambridge, Bendigo

2nd J C Hardy, Footscray City

3rd E F Johnson, Mercantile

4th H E Ricketts, Drummoyne (NSW)

The race was held prior to the Four-oared Championship, on Saturday, 19th January, 1929, over a 2 1/2 mile course, upstream. A. Cambridge (Bendigo) won by 100 yards. Mr. Cambridge is commended in gaining his fourth championship sculling victory.

Arthur Cambridge

Championship Men's Pair

(1 mile)

Time: 6:16.0
Margins: 1/2 length

1st Wendouree – Bow: F Yates, Str: G Hutchins, Cox: A Lind

2nd Ballarat

3rd Merbein

4th Banks

5th Wahgunyah

6th Ballarat City

7th Mildura

Wendouree Rowing Club again demonstrated their superiority in pair-oared rowing by winning the Championship event rowed at lake Wendouree on Saturday, 2nd February, 1929. Seven crews competed. Wendouree winning by half a length from Ballarat. They are warmly congratulated on their achievement of winning seven out of the last eight pair-oared Championship races.

Champion Men's Four 

(2 1/2 miles)

Time: 15:48.0
Margins: 2 lengths

1st Mercantile – Bow: J A Greenshields, 2: Douglas C Brooke, 3: J South, Str: Cecil N McKay, Cox: R Cliff, Coach: James M Macfarlane

2nd Banks

3rd Ballarat

4th Hawthorn

5th Richmond

6th Melbourne

7th Barwon

Mercantile Rowing Club won the Four-oared Championship by two lengths from Banks. The race was rowed on Saturday, 19th January, 1929, downstream over the same distance and course as the Championship Eights. The Victors are complimented on their success.

Champion Men's Eight

(2 1/2 miles)

Time: 14:51.6
Margins: 3 1/2 lengths, 3/4 length

1st Ballarat – Bow: J Inglis, 2: E Panther, 3: J Russell, 4: E Elsworth, 5: Stanley B McGorm, 6: H Grace, 7: K Taylor, Str: H Inglis, Cox: A J King, Coach: W D Dawson

2nd Melbourne

3rd Banks

4th Hawthorn

5th Richmond

DNF Mercantile - Bow: J A Greenshields, 2: A R Shannon, 3: Henry G Guinn, 4: James G H Sprigg, 5: W C Haworth, 6: Douglas C Brooke, 7: J South, Str: Cecil N McKay, Cox: M Green, Cch: James M Macfarlane

The race was rowed downstream over a 2 1/2 mile course, commencing at the 42 chain mark, Lower Yarra, and finishing at the 3 mile 2 chain mark, Coode Canal, on Saturday, 8th December, 1928.

Ballarat Rowing Club was successful. Won by three and a half lengths, three-quarter length between second and third.

The distance of the race was reduced to 2 1/2 miles on account of construction work on the Spencer Street Bridge narrowing the width of the river at that part. The race was rowed downstream for the first time, as it was deemed by the Committee that a better course was obtained.

Mercantile broke an oar during the race and did not finish the course.

Champion Men's One Mile Scull

(1 mile)

Time: 5:57.0
Margins: 1 1/4 lengths

1st Stanley B McGorm, Ballarat

2nd Arthur H Cambridge, Bendigo

3rd E F Johnson, Mercantile

Stan McGorm

Acting on the representations of the Victorian Amateur Sculling Association, a One Mile Sculling Championship was held for the first time. The race was held at Lake Wendouree, Ballarat, on the same day as the Championship Pairs, Saturday, 2nd February, 1929.

S. B. McGorm won by 1 1/4 lengths from A. H. Cambridge. Mr. McGorm is congratulated on winning the first One Mile Sculling Championship of Victoria. His victory was particularly meritorious as one hour previously he rowed a hard race and finished a close second in the Pair-Oared Championship event.

Champion Men's Junior Eight

(2 miles)

Time: 12:25.6
Margins: 2 feet, canvas

1st Mercantile – Bow: A Sloss, 2: R Scott, 3: D Saunders, 4: R W Lille, 5: S S McKay, 6: J E Campbell, 7: I P Graham, Str: J H Bailey, Cox: M Green, Coach: James G H Sprigg

2nd Essendon

3rd Banks

4th Albert Park

5th University

6th Bendigo

7th Footscray City

8th South Melbourne

The race was rowed Saturday, 20th April, 1929, over a two mile course, commencing at the 2 1/2 mile mark, Coode Canal, and finishing at the 40 chain mark, Lower Yarra. Eight crews competed. Mercantile won by two feet from Essendon, with Banks a canvas away third.

With the increasing number of competitors in junior events and the high standard of rowing it was decided to hold a Junior Eight-oared Championship.

Conditions for the race were that entries restricted to one crew from a club, open to all oarsmen eligible to row in junior races, the rule in relation to not more than 50 percent of a previously successful junior crew again competing in a similar event not to apply to the junior championship race, the race to count one point per oar towards the Junior Premiership, the distance of the race to be two miles.

The introduction of the Junior Championship Race was an unqualified success, and there could be no better testimony to the judgement of the Committee in including the event in the Championships than the excellent race witnessed in the inaugural contest. For over a mile not one length separated the eight crews, and at the finish a canvas covered the first three crews.

The standard of rowing was highly commended by experienced critics of the art of rowing. The race served an excellent purpose in demonstrating that amongst the junior ranks Victoria possesses promising oarsmen capable of fighting out a hard race, and should help as an additional guide to selectors for Interstate purposes.

Victorious Mercantile Crew

Champion Women's Four

(Distance - Not recorded)

Time: 3:25
Margin: 2 feet

1st Essendon Ladies – Bow: Ruby Robinson, 2: Minnie Anderson, 3: Edna Barlow, Str: Rose Gideon, Cox: W Dron, Cch: Mr A R Gideon

2nd Albert Park Ladies

3rd YWCA - Bow: D Eyre, 2: P Constable, 3: T Ricketts, Str: P Burren

The Championship was conducted on 9th February 1929 on Albert Park Lake at the VLRA regatta. The winning Essendon crew was selected to represent Victoria in the Interstate Championships and won this event.

The Victorious Essendon crew in their Victorian uniforms

There was a senior pairs event at the VLRA regatta but the newspaper report does not call it a Championship. Accordingly no Championship Pairs are recorded for this year.


Victorian Rowing Association, Reports 1903 - 1944.

Mercantile Rowing Club Annual Report

Mercantile Junior Eight photo from Mercantile Rowing Club

Stan McGorm photo from Bendigo Rowing Club

Arthur Cambridge photo from the Cambridge family

Essendon Ladies photograph is from Essendon Rowing Club

The Argus, Monday 11 February 1929, page 16, sourced from

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