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rowing victoria state championships

1930 Rowing Victoria State Championships

This season saw Mercantile take the honours in their Jubilee year. They not only won both the senior and junior premierships, but also the senior and junior eight Championships.

The win by Ron Jelbart in the single scull was good given that Melbourne University was still largely an undergraduate club with an inter-varsity and inter-collegiate focus. 


Champion Men's Scull

(2 1/2 miles)

Time: 17:46.6
Margins: 4 lengths

1st Ron Jelbart, University

2nd C F W Peppler, Yarra Yarra

3rd S B McGorm, Ballarat

4th A Cambridge, Bendigo

5th E F Johnson, Mercantile

The race was held prior to the Championship Eights on Saturday, 15th March, 1930, over a course of 2 1/2 miles, commencing at the 3 mile 2 chain mark, Coode Canal, and finishing at the 42-chain mark, Lower Yarra. A very interesting race, in which the winner, R. Jelbart, came from a long way back to win comfortably by four lengths. 

Ron Jelbart

Champion Men's Pair

(1 mile)

Time: 7:37.0
Margins: 3 feet, 2 feet

1st South Melbourne – Bow: H C McEwan, Str: J B Roberts, Cox: D Clarke

2nd Ballarat

3rd Wendouree

4th Essendon

Other competing crews:

Mercantile - Bow: W Haworthy, Str: H Robert Rush, Cox: W Fyfe



Ballarat City

DNS Shepparton

South Melbourne Rowing Club scored their initial success in the Pair-oared Championship, rowed at Ballarat on Saturday, 18th January. Nine crews entered, but Shepparton did not start. Won by three feet; Ballarat, second, two feet head of Wendouree. South Melbourne are heartily congratulated on their win.

Start of the 1930 Champion Fours on the Lower Yarra

Note that the crew second from the far end has not bothered to await the starters instructions

Champion Men's Four

(About 1 1/4 miles)

Time: None taken
Margin: 3/4 length

1st Mercantile – Bow: G R B Patterson, 2: Doug C Brooke, 3: Fred H Shore, Str: Cecil McKay, Cox: R Cliffe, Coach: James M Macfarlane

2nd Rutherglen Lake

3rd Melbourne

Other competing crews:



South Melbourne


The Committee decided that the Four-oared Championship would be rowed on Lake Colac, on Saturday, 14th December, 1930. This action was taken as an experiment in an endeavor to discover a more satisfactory course than the Lower Yarra for future championship and King’s Cup races.

The Colac Regatta Committee spared no efforts to make the fixture a success, but, unfortunately, the weather on the day of the race was the worst possible from a rowing point of view. Although the crews waited during the afternoon in the hope of conditions improving, it was necessary to postpone the event, and it was decided to row the race on the following day on the Lower Yarra, Melbourne.

Conditions obtaining on the Lower Yarra on the Sunday were such that it was not possible to row the race on that course. Owing to the fact that the country competitors were anxious to return home at the earliest, the race was rowed in heats on the Upper Yarra over a course of approximately one mile and a quarter.

Results – First Heat: Melbourne defeated Ballarat; Second Heat: Mercantile defeated Hawthorn; Third Heat: Rutherglen Lake defeated South Melbourne and Essendon. Final won by Mercantile; second, Rutherglen Lake; third, Melbourne. No time was taken for the races. 

Champion Men's Eight 

(3 miles)

Time: 18:30.0
Margins: 2 lengths

1st Mercantile – Bow: G R B Patterson, 2: Walter N Ricketts, 3: Henry Guinn, 4: A W Finlay: 5: Jack South, 6: Doug C Brooke, 7: Fred H Shore, Str: Cecil N Mckay, Cox: M Green, Cches: Alex B Sloan and James M Macfarlane

2nd Richmond

3rd Hawthorn

4th Banks

Mercantile won the Eight-oared Championship by two lengths from Richmond. The race was rowed on Saturday, 15th March, 1930, over the 3-mile course, starting at the 3 mile 2 chain mark, Coode Canal, and finishing at the 2 chain mark, Queen’s Bridge. 

Champion Men's One Mile Scull

(1 mile)

Time: 7:10.0

1st Stan B McGorm, Ballarat

2nd Ron Jelbart, University

3rd E F Johnson, Mercantile

4th J C Hardy, Footscray

5th P McGrath, Wendouree

Mr. S. B. McGorm won the One Mile Sculling Championship for the second year in succession. 

Champion Men's Junior Eight

(2 miles)

Time: 11:53.6
Margins: 1 1/2 lengths

1st Mercantile – Bow: F H  Batten, 2: H Raven, 3: S Timewell, 4: R Scott, 5: T Fogarty, 6: J E Campbell, 7: S S McKay, Str: J H Bailey, Cox: M Green, Coach: Edward Kenny

2nd Albert Park

3rd Hawthorn

4th Ballarat City

Mercantile won the Champion Junior Eights for the second year in succession. The race was rowed over a two-mile course on Saturday, 29th March, 1930. Mercantile won by 1 1/2 lengths from Albert Park. 

Champion Women's Four

(Distance - Not recorded)

Time: 3:25
Margin: 2 feet

1st Albert Park Ladies -– Bow: K Sampson, 2: J DeZolte, 3: L Ludlow, Str: E Murphy, Cox: D Hassell

The Championship was conducted on 15th February 1930 on Albert Park Lake at the VLRA regatta. 

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

Ron Jelbart photo from Photo from Well Rowed University, MUBC, the first 150 years

The Australasian, Saturday 8th February 1939 page 28, sourced from

Photo of the Champion Fours start comes from Albert Park South Melbourne Rowing Club

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