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rowing victoria state championships

1931 Rowing Victoria State Championships

The highlight of the Championships this year was Richmond's first ever Champion Eight win. This was the golden era for this small club and was a great credit to them.


Champion Men's Scull

(2 1/2 miles)

Time - Not recorded
Margins: 1 1/2 lengths

1st H E Ricketts, Yarra Yarra

2nd E F Johnson, Mercantile

3rd A Dawson, Ballarat

Disqualified George Anderson, Albert Park

Owing to flood waters and a strong westerly, the Championship Sculls was postponed from Saturday, 21st March, 1931, to Saturday, 28th March, 1931. The race was held over a course of 2 1/2 miles on the Lower Yarra, commencing at the 10 chain mark and finishing at the 2 mile 50 chain mark in Coode Canal. H. E. Ricketts won by 1 ½ lengths from E. F. Johnson. G. Anderson was disqualified for bad steering. No time was taken, as the race stopped at the 1 1/2 mile mark, where a clash occurred. This was the second victory in this event by Ricketts.

Champion Men's Pair

(1 mile)

Time: 6:15.0
Margins: 3/4 length, 1/2 length

1st Albert Park – Bow: C E Alsop, Str: A W McLeish, Cox: C Orme

2nd Richmond

3rd Rutherglen

Other competing crews:



Mercantile - Bow: J Dunstan, Str: P Radich, Cox: J Ambler, Cch: J Greenshields

South Melbourne




For the first time in ten years, it was decided to hold a Pair-oared Championship on the Lower Yarra, in lieu of Lake Wendouree, Ballarat. Boisterous weather prevented the race from being held on the Lower Yarra, and it was decided to hold the event over the Henley mile course, in heats. The race was held on Saturday, 17th January, 1931. In the final Albert Park won by three-quarters of a length, with half a length between second and third. 

Champion Men's Four

(2 1/2 miles)

Time: 17:28.0
Margins: 6 lengths, 3 lengths

1st Albert Park – Bow: V S Axup, 2: A R Duncan, 3: C E Alsop, Str: Alex W McLeish, Cox: R Orme, Coach: Harry R Duncan

2nd Mercantile - Bow: G R B Patterson, 2: Doug C Brooke, 3: Fred H Shore, Str: J H Bailey, Cox: R Cliff, Cch: Alex B Sloan

3rd Rutherglen

4th Hawthorn

5th Bendigo

6th Banks

7th Richmond

8th South Melbourne

Eight crews competed for the Four-oared Championship, rowed on the Lower Yarra over a course of 2 1/2 miles, starting at the 3 mile 2 chain mark, and finishing at the 42 chain mark, on Saturday, 19th December, 1931. Albert Park registered an easy win by six lengths from Mercantile, with Rutherglen, three lengths away, third. 

Champion Men's Eight

(2 1/2 miles)

Time: 15:14.6
Margins: Canvas, 2 lengths

1st Richmond – Bow: F G Thompson, 2: J Sharples, 3: V Callaghan, 4: M Gardner, 5: G Whittaker, 6: Lachlan Thompson, 7: B Thompson, Str: J Barton, Cox: R Godfredson, Coach: G McPhail

2nd Albert Park

3rd Mercantile - Bow: G R B Patterson, 2: J E Campbell, 3: Henry G Guinn, 4: R S Bolton, 5: J South, 6: Doug C Brooke, Str: Fred Shore, Cox: R Cliff, Cch: Alex B Sloan

4th Bendigo

5th Hawthorn

Five entries were received for the Champion Eights, which was to be rowed on the 21st March, 1931. The flooded condition of the river and strong winds forced the Executive to postpone the fixture to the following Saturday, 28th March, 1931. The race was rowed over a course of 2 1/2 miles, starting at the 2 mile 50 chain mark in Coode Canal, and finishing at the 10 chain mark, Lower Yarra. Richmond won an exciting race by a canvas from Albert Park, Mercantile being two lengths away in third. Richmond Rowing Club are heartily congratulated on their first win in the Championship Eights.

Richmond's inaugural Champion Eight

Champion Men's One Mile Scull

(1 mile)

Time: 6:05.4
Margins: 1 1/2 lengths

1st James Barton, Richmond

2nd J C Hardy, Footscray City

Other competing crews:

Stan B McGorm, Ballarat

George Anderson, Albert Park

R S Bolton, Mercantile - disqualified for faulty steering

A strong wind on Saturday, 17th January, 1931, prevented the One Mile Sculling Championship from being held on the same date over the Henley mile in heats. The final was won by J. Barton, from J. C. Hardy, by 1 1/2 lengths. Mr. Barton is heartily congratulated on his success.

Champion Men's Junior Eight

(2 miles)

Time: 11:56.0
Margins: 1 length

1st Footscray City – Bow: J Kranz, 2: P O’Shea, 3: T Budden, 4: R Armitage, 5: F Barnett, 6: J Lay, 7: B Cant, Str: A McGill, Cox: J Smith, Coach: D Cunningham

2nd Richmond

3rd Ballarat City

4th Albert Park

5th Essendon

6th Wendouree

7th Mercantile - Bow: A Sloss, 2: R Scott, 3: W Belltowers, 4: J Hoppe, 5: S Timewell, 6: T Fogarty, 7: S McKay, Str: S McCologh, Cox: R Cliff, Cch: James G H Sprigg

8th Hawthorn

DNF University

Scratched - Banks 

A record entry of ten crews was received for the Third Annual Junior Eight-oared Championship, which was rowed on the Lower Yarra, over a course of two miles, upstream, starting at the 2 1/4 mile mark in Coode Canal, on Saturday, 2nd May, 1931. Perfect conditions enabled the starter to effect an excellent start, but over-eagerness on the part of the coxswains caused the race to be stopped on two occasions within a quarter of a mile from the start. Footscray City won an excellent race by a length from Richmond. University, owing to an accident, did not finish, and Banks scratched. Footscray City Rowing Club are warmly congratulated on their initial success in this event.

Champion Women's Four

(Distance - Half mile)

Time: No time taken

1st Albert Park Ladies 

Essendon - did not finish due to equipment faults

The Championship was conducted on 14th February 1931 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

Photo of Richmond Champion Eight from Richmond Rowing Club

Sporting Globe Saturday 21 February 1931 page 6. Sourced from

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