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history of australian rowing at world championships

1966 World Championships- Bled Yugoslavia

Photos 1966 World Championships Photo Gallery

men's coxed four

Men's Coxed Four

L-R: Peter Dickson, Brian Thomas, Errol Brazenall (reserve), Alan Callaway, Chris Stevens, John Ranch, Alf Duval

The superbly organised regatta was held on the magnificent lake at Bled: a fitting setting for the second world championships.

Finances were a problem with the AARC unable to provide any financial assistance. To obtain a group discount for the men's eight rowing supporters, John Carr and Miles Gillon joined the group, as did unofficial reserve Bob Lachal (VIC).

Regrettably the AARC did not allow the official reserve Gillon and unofficial reserve Lachal to compete in the coxless pair at the World Championships.

A small number of images from members of the crews in this regatta can be found at: 1966 World Championships (


Selection for the 2nd World Championships was far better organised than in 1962 with the King's Cup and President's Cup races held at Franklin Tasmania and the National Championships held at Ballarat Victoria being the test races for selection.

As a result of the test races, the successful crews were graded as follows: 1st NSW composite coxed four - Victorian eight; 3rd Victorian single sculler; 4th Mercantile coxless four; 5th Mosman coxless pair - Mercantile coxed pair; 7th Wendouree/Corio Bay double scull.

Jeff Sykes, the Victorian single sculler, was unable to tour due to business commitments. The coxed four and eight were duly selected and the coxless four was selected on the basis that they were not to be a financial imposition on the team in any way. They undertook their own private tour of Europe.


The lack of international racing experience again showed particularly in the record fields at these Championships: 20 crews in the eight and 22 crews in the coxed four.

The Australian team also had to get used to more advanced equipment than was available in Australia at that time. The eight used a Donoratico boat from Italy and the four used a Stampfli from Switzerland. Both boats were imported into Australia and remained state of the art boats for many years.

The coxless four missed out on the semi-finals by 0.04 seconds. It was a distance described by crew member David Palfreyman as a "bee's dick", a now common term in rigging measurement.

The two Germanies competed separately for the first time and the East Germans performed well at their first championships winning three gold medals. Karl Adams's West German eight dominated their event whilst the double sculls event was a hard fought race between Switzerland and the USA.


Single scull

E1: 1st GDR, 2nd POL, 3rd SUI, 4th BEL, 5th MEX
E2: 1st USA, 2nd URS, 3rd FRG, 4th BUL, 5th EGY, 6th JPN
E3: 1st DEN, 2nd NED, 3rd NZL, 4th TCH, 5th HUN, 6th YUG
R1: 1st URS, 2nd YUG, 3rd NZL, 4th BEL, 5th MEX
R2: 1st NED, 2nd BUL, 3rd SUI, 4th EGY, 5th TUR
R3: 1st FRG, 2nd TCH, 3rd POL, 4th HUN, 5th JPN
Final B: 7th SUI, 8th POL, 9th BUL, 19th TCH, 11th NZL, 12th YUG
Final: 1st USA (Don Spero); 2nd Holland (Wienese); 3rd West Germany (Miessner); 4th East Germany (Hill); 5th Denmark (Niels Secher); 6th USSR (Viatcheslav Ivanov).

The lead changed three times during the race. The race ended up a struggle between Spero and Wienese, and a great final burst from Spero made the difference.

Of great interest was the 6th placing of Ivanov. Fortunately it was not the end of his career. Hill of East Germany failed to make the podium after silver medals in 1960 and 1962.

Double scull

E1: 1st SUI, 2nd FRG, 3rd NED, 4th ROM, 5th YUG, 6th ISR
E2: 1st TCH, 2nd USA, 3rd AUT, 4th URS, 5th BUL, 6th TUR
E3: 1st GDR, 2nd GBR, 3rd DEN, 4th FRA, 5th MEX
R1: 1st FRA, 2nd URS, 3rd BUL, 4th DEN
R2: 1st USA, 2nd NED, 3rd FRA, 4th MEX, 5th ISR
Final B: 7th AUT, 8th BUL, 9th GBR, 10th URS, 11th FRA — NED scratched
Final: 1st Switzerland (Melchior Burgin, Martin Studach); 2nd USA; 3rd East Germany; 4th Czechoslovakia; 5th Romania; 6th West Germany.

The Swiss crew were European Champions and had to dig deep to defeat the Americans who matched them for the first 1800 metres of the race. Melch Burgin went on to operate the well known boat builder Stampfli.

Australian Team

Men's Coxless Four—Eliminated in repechage
Bow: George Xouris (VIC)
2: Peter Philp (VIC)
3: Richard Garrard (VIC)
Str: David Palfreyman (VIC)

Men's Coxed Four—Eighth
Bow: John Ranch (NSW)
2: Chris Stevens (NSW)
3: Alf Duval (NSW)
Str: Peter Dickson (NSW)
Cox: Brian Thomas (NSW)
Cch: Alan Callaway (NSW)
Reserve: Errol Brazenall

Men's Eight—Tenth
Bow: David Ramage (VIC)
2: Mal McKenzie (VIC)
3: Graeme Boykett (VIC)
4: John Stuckey (VIC)
5: Paul Guest (VIC)
6: Robin Jones (VIC)
7: Martin Tomanovits (VIC)
Str: David Boykett(VIC)
Cox: Tom Daffy (VIC)
Cch: Hubert Frederico (VIC)
Reserves: Stephen Gillon (VIC) and Bob Lachal(VIC)

Manager: William Craven (VIC)
Selection & Grading Committee: Robert Aitken (VIC), Phillip Cayzer (NSW) & William Wallace (SA)

men's eight

Men's Eight Training

Results—Sweep Oared

Coxless pair

E1: 1st GDR, 2nd AUT, 3rd USA, 4th ROM, 5th TUR
E2: 1st ITA, 2nd FRA, 3rd GBR, 4th SWE, 5th CAN
E3: 1st FRG, 2nd POL, 3rd SUI, 4th YUG, 5th BEL
E4: 1st URS, 2nd DEN, 3rd FIN—AUS scratched (see above for comment regarding the Lachal and Gillon racing in this event)
R1: 1st ROM, 2nd FRA, 3rd SUI
R2: 1st POL, 2nd SWE, 3rd FIN
R3: 1st DEN, 2nd USA, 3rd YUG, 4th CAN
R4: 1st AUT, 2nd GBR, 3rd BEL
SF1: 1st GDR, 2nd URS, 3rd POL, 4th FRA, 5th DEN, 6th GBR
SF2: 1st AUT, 2nd FRG, 3rd ITA, 4th USA, 5th ROM, 6th SWE
Final B: 7th FRA, 8th DEN, 9th ROM, 10th USA, 11th GBR, 12th SWE
Final: 1st East Germany (Peter Kremtz and Roland Goehler); 2nd Austria; 3rd USSR; 4th Poland; 5th West Germany; 6th Italy.

Coxed pair

E1: 1st NED, 2nd YUG, 3rd DEN, 4th FRG, 5th URS
E2: 1st GDR, 2nd ROM, 3rd FRA, 4th SUI
E3: 1st USA, 2nd ITA, 3rd GRE, 4th ESP
R1: 1st ITA, 2nd DEN, 3rd SUI
R2: 1st FRA, 2nd YUG, 3rd ESP
R3: 1st FRG, 2nd URS, 3rd ROM, 4th GRE
Final B: 7th DEN, 8th YUG, 9th ROM, 10th URS, 11th SUI, 12th ESP
Final:1st Holland (Hadriaan Van Nes, Jan van de Graaf, Pole Haan); 2nd France; 3rd Italy; 4th East Germany; 5th USA; 6th Yugoslavia.

Coxless four

E1: 1st FRG, 2nd HUN, 3rd BEL, 4th ITA, 5th NOR, 6th SWE
E2: 1st NED, 2nd DEN, 3rd FRA, 4th CAN, 5th AUT
E3: 1st GDR, 2nd SUI, 3rd USA, 4th AUS, 5th YUG
E4: 1st URS, 2nd ROM, 3rd GBR, 4th BUL, 5th POL
R1: 1st HUN, 2nd GBR, 3rd AUS, 4th AUT
R2: 1st DEN, 2nd BEL, 3rd YUG, 4th BUL
R3: 1st FRA, 2nd ITA, 3rd POL—SUI excluded
R4: 1st ROM, 2nd USA, 3rd CAN, 4th NOR, 5th SWE
SF1: 1st FRG, 2nd DEN, 3rd GDR, 4th ROM, 5th GBR, 6th ITA
SF2: 1st NED, 2nd HUN, 3rd URS, 4th USA, 5th FRA, 6th BEL
Final: 1st East Germany (Frank Forberger, Frank Ruhle, Dieter Grahn, Dieter Schubert) 6.18.41; 2nd USSR; 3rd Holland; 4th Hungary; 5th West Germany; 6th Denmark.

The Australians missed out on qualifications for the semi finals by 0.04 second.

Coxed four

E1: 1st GDR, 2nd NED, 3rd FRG, 4th DEN, 5th JPN, 6th SWE
E2: 1st URS, 2nd TCH, 3rd USA, 4th AUS, 5th NOR, 6th EGY
E3: 1st YUG, 2nd ITA, 3rd BEL, 4th POL, 5th ROM, 6th FIN
E4: 1st HUN, 2nd BUL, 3rd SUI, 4th TUR
R1: 1st TCH, 2nd DEN, 3rd BEL, 4th TUR
R2: 1st AUS, 2nd ITA, 3rd SUI, 4th JPN
R3: 1st FRG, 2nd POL, 3rd NOR, 4th BUL, 5th EGY
R4: 1st NED, 2nd USA, 3rd ROM, 4th FIN
SF1: 1st GDR, 2nd URS, 3rd NED, 4th FRG, 5th DEN—ITA excluded
SF2: 1st USA, 2nd YUG, 3rd TCH, 4th AUS, 5th POL, 6th HUN
Final B: 7th FRG, 8th AUS, 9th POL, 10th DEN, 11th HUN, 12th ITA
Final: 1st East Germany (Hanno Melzer, Horst Baydonat, Helmut Hansel, Karl Heinz Grzeschuchner, Klaus-Dieter Ludwig) 6.29; 2nd USSR; 3rd Yugoslavia; 4th Czechoslovakia; 5th Holland; 6th USA.

One of the Italian rowers collapsed and was removed from the boat and the cox rowed the crew across to qualify. The crew was excluded for want of a cox. The same occurred in the eights again for the Italians.


E1: 1st FRG, 2nd GBR, 3rd TCH, 4th USA, 5th HUN
E2: 1st GDR, 2nd AUS, 3rd EGY, 4th CAN, 5th SUI
E3: 1st YUG, 2nd NED, 3rd NZL, 4th ITA, 5th FIN
E4: 1st URS, 2nd FRA, 3rd POL, 4th ESP
R1: 1st NZL, 2nd AUS, 3rd USA, 4th ESP
R2: 1st NED, 2nd HUN, 3rd CAN, 4th POL
R3: 1st TCH, 2nd ITA, 3rd FRA, 4th SUI
R4: 1st GBR, 2nd EGY, 3rd FIN, 4th AUT
SF1: 1st FRG, 2nd YUG, 3rd GBR, 4th NED, 5th AUS - ITA excluded
SF2: 1st GDR, 2nd URS, 3rd NZL, 4th HUN, 5th TCH, 6th EGY
Final: 1st West Germany (Horst Meyer, Dirk Schreyer, Michael Schwan, Ulrich luhn, Peter Hertel, Rudiger Henning, lutz Ulbricht, Peter Kuhn, Peter Niehnsen) 5.55; 2nd USSR; 3rd East Germany, 4th Great Britain; 5th Yugoslavia; 6th New Zealand.

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