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History of Rowing Victoria Inc

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Rowing in a young Victoria
  3. Formation of the Association
  4. Growth of the Sport 1876-1889
  5. Years of great success 1890-1899
  6. The rise of Henley on the Yarra 1900-1909
  7. The War Years 1910-1919
  8. Women's rowing and the modern era 1920-1929
  9. The Depression years 1930-1939
  10. War and rebuilding 1940-1949
  11. Expansion years 1950-1959
  12. The search for international success 1960-1969
  13. Combining the Associations and lightweight success 1970-1979
  14. The new national program 1980-1989
  15. Golden years 1990-1999
  16. Professionalism 2000-2009
  17. Yet More Growth 2010-2019


  1. Life Membership and other important awards
  2. Patrons and Presidents
  3. Office Bearers
  4. Clubs and their histories
  5. The Oarsmen's Centotaph and WWI Roll of Honour
  6. WWII Roll of Honour
  7. Premierships
  8. State Championships
  9. Hall of Fame Inductees
  10. Victorian Olympians
  11. International representation
  12. Intercolonial and Interstate Racing
  13. School rowing
  14. University rowing
  15. Personalities of the sport


Rowing Victoria Inc (formerly Victorian Rowing Association) is one of the oldest rowing associations in the world having been formed on 7th October 1876. From your authors research, it is the second oldest rowing association. In 1872, the National Association of Amateur Oarsmen was founded [in the USA] the first national association for any sport with the first rules defining an amateur: Peter Mallory in volume one of his four part history of The Sport of Rowing, page 311.

Rowing in Victoria had commenced soon after settlement of Melbourne and was very active sport from the earliest of days. The Association appears to have been formed for two main reasons, firstly to run the Melbourne Regatta and secondly to select and manage Victorian crews in the important Inter-colonial racing.

The Victorian Ladies' Rowing Association was formed on 31 January 1924. Unfortunately we know far less of the operation of that association than the men's association and acccordingly gaps are evident in this history. It was not until 1979 that the men's and women's associations merged into the one body and until that time, they ran separate Championships.

This history draws heavily on the great work of John Lang in his book the Victorian Oarsman published in 1919, which in turn drew upon the Victorian Register 1878 by M S Glynn. A centennial history was also published by the Victorian Rowing Association in 1978 and was authored by Field Rickards.

This history will been published gradually over many years with completion due by 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Association in 2026. The Appendices will gain our focus in the coming years and will be a useful reference tool for rowers pending completion of the history.

Andrew Guerin

January 2016

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