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Australian Rowing History

Significant Events in Australian Rowing



Tasmanian Mr Romer, a professional waterman, rowed for £50 against Tasmania's only professional cricketer, Thomas Huddlestone.

23 Dec 1871

Second Inter-University Race, Parramatta River. Dec. 23. Melbourne :-J Johnston, P I Carter, J Barker, T Colles (1). Sydney :-E. A. Iceton, R. Teece, A. Yeomans, G. H. (Judge) Fitzhardinge (2). Time, 27 minutes 55 seconds.

30 Jan 1872

Inter-colonial Fours, Hobart, for £100 cash and Jan. 30. championship of Australia, for bona fide amateurs. 1st Sydney Rowing Club: - C. De B. Deloitte, R. A. Clark, G. H. Fitzhardinge (Judge), M. A. H. Fitzhardinge (father of Roger Fitzhardinge), 2nd Sydney River crew, 3rd Derwent, 4th Tasmania, 5th Geelong (Strachan's crew)

1872 Intercolonial Fours in Hobart

1872 Intercolonial Fours in Hobart

HMS Clio in the background -
Archives Office of Tasmania as reproduced in Sporting Island by David Young

27 Apr 1872

Severe criticism in Melbourne papers re amateurs and cash prizes at Hobart. Melbourne definition had not allowed rowing for cash; Sydney and Tasmania did. Melbourne discontinued the practice in 1860.

May 1872

Movement started in Melbourne to have manual labourers admitted in Inter colonial racing. The definition was : (1) Anyone who has never rowed as a waterman. (2) Anyone who has never plied for hire on the water. (3) Anyone who has never rowed for money at or since the Melbourne Regatta of 1860. (4) Anyone who has never been employed in building or letting boats, or who has never received money in recognition.

Aug 1872

Balmain Regatta Committee offered £200 cash for Champion Gig Fours for 1873 regatta, also to contribute £500 towards expenses of English or American crews.

9 Nov 1872

Balmain Regatta Champion Fours: 1st Sydney, 2nd Sydney River crew; 3rd Victoria

29 Mar 1873

Inter-colonial Fours at Melbourne: 1st Melbourne, 2nd Ballarat City, 3rd Sydney, 4th Derwent.

20 Jun 1874

First row in an eight-oar boat at Sydney. It was a Clasper boat named "Alpha," presented to Sydney 'Rowing Club by some residents of Sydney. The crew, which rowed from Circular Quay to the present quarters of the Sydney Rowing Club on the Parramatta, was J. E: Myers, W. C. B. Tiley, P. J. Clark, T. E. Willis, G. H. Fitzhardinge, R. A. Clark, F. H. Williams, M. A. H. Fitzhardinge (stroke), Q. L. Deloitte (cox.). Mr. Q. L. Deloitte sent the order to England to Mr. Gulston, the captain of the London Rowing Club.

11 Jul 1874

Sydney Rowing Club branch boathouse at Abbotsford, Parramatta River, opened. Mr. Q. L. Deloitte (captain of club) arranged the details.

26 Sep 1874

Inter-colonial Fours, Parramatta, "each Colony to be represented by their own amateurs:" 1st Sydney G. H. Fitzhardinge, P. J. Clark, R. A. Clark, M. A. H. Fitzhardinge, 2nd Victoria combined crew:-J. F. Eddington, H. W. Henderson, L. Kickham, Z. Giles. Time, 21 minutes 59 seconds.

9 Nov 1874

Balmain Regatta, Senior Fours. C. N. J. Oliver, G. K. Clark, R. A. Clark, P. J. Clarkwon. This was the last amateur race in New South Wales for cash.

28 Nov 1874

Meeting held, re "amateur" definition, decided not to row any more races for cash prizes after lst January, 1875. Sydney Rowing Club and the new club, Mercantile, were parties to this agreement.

Dec 1874

Brisbane R.C. formed (disbanded 1885).

26 Jan 1875

Anniversary Regatta. The new definition enforced Jan. 26. for the first time.
20 Mar 1875 First eight-oar boat race in Australia won by Civil March Service Rowing Club at Melbourne Regatta.

23 Apr 1875

Mercantile (now Mosman) Rowing Club opened at Dawes' Point April 23. (Sydney) by Sir Hercules Robinson, then Governor. It was the formation of another strong club that led to the development of amateur rowing and the formation of new clubs, and added interest at regattas.

June 1875

Adelaide Regatta Committee offered £150 prize money for Inter-colonial Fours for 1876 regatta. Offer declined.

20 Jul 1875

Melbourne challenged Sydney to row a four-oared race for amateurs. Sydney insisted manual labourers should be barred. This Melbourne refused to do.

25 Sep 1875

Combined inter-club regatta held. The first event of that kind. Melbourne Rowing Club won Senior Fours, Maiden Fours, and Maiden Sculls. Sydney Rowing Club won junior Fours and Senior Double Sculls.

6 Apr 1876

First Barwon Regatta, Geelong.

7 Oct 1876

Victorian Rowing Association formed as an association of amateur rowing clubs under definition and constitution differing only in details from present one in 1919.

1 Sep 1877

Fitzroy R:C. (now Rockhampton R.C.), Queensland, formed.

4 Oct 1878

Commercial R.C., Brisbane, founded.

Nov 1877

Victoria proposed Intercolonial Eight-oar Race on the Yarra. Sydney Rowing Club declined unless Victoria first rowed Best Boat Fours on Parramatta. Sydney Rowing Club had received a best four from England, the first seen here. Terms declined. Mercantile (now Mosman) Rowing Club then called a public meeting, and Victoria's offer was accepted unconditionally. Mercantile had obtained a best eight from Clasper. It, however, arrived damaged.

6 Mar 1878

First Intercolonial Eight-oar Race. Course about 4 miles on the old Lower Yarra course. Victoria won.

23 Nov 1878

New South Wales Rowing Association formed by Sydney Rowing Club and Mercantile (now Mosman) Rowing Club.

8 Dec 1878

Maryborough Rowing Club, Queensland, founded.

31 May 1879

Intercolonial Eights on the Parramatta; course Ryde (no bridge then) to Brothers Rocks; distance, 3 miles 330 yards: First Eight-oar Race at. Sydney. New South Wales crew won.

24 May 1880

First four-oar championship in Queensland in which amateurs only, competed, Maryborough Regatta, won by Maryborough Rowing Club.
13 Nov 1880 Rowing season opened on Yarra (Victoria) with 14 eights, 32 fours and other boats.


Said to be first regatta at Brisbane for amateurs distinct from professionals. Revival of Brisbane rowing.

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