The ANMM has been fortunate to acquire a collection of rowing memorabilia that sheds light on the history of Sydney Rowing Club, the oldest rowing club in New South Wales. The memorabilia including photographs, certificates, correspondence, guides, reports, a notebook, scrapbook, officials ribbon and flag was collected by Charles Keith Stewart, a former Sydney Rowing Club official.
A selection of memorabilia documenting the achievements of club captain Oscar Baass in the late 1890s as well as club rowers who represented Australia at the Henley Royal Regatta and Stockholm Olympics in 1912 will go on display in early May 2010. This material is particularly significant as the Australian Men’s Eight memorably beat the British Olympic team, Leander, before a crowd of 150,000 in the Grand Challenge Cup at Henley in July 1912. Watching from the umpire’s barge were the King and Queen, and Quarton Levitt Deloitte, the SRC’s first captain, after whom the Australian boat was named.
The popular Australian rowers were described in the British press as ‘well tanned by the sun and fit as the proverbial fiddle’.
Only a few weeks after their Henley triumph, the Australians lost to Leander in a rematch in the final of the Men’s Eights at the Stockholm Olympic Games. Both teams had substituted crew members after Henley, a tactic some claimed cost the Australians the Olympic final.
We’re delighted these objects are now part of the National Maritime Collection, adding to our existing collections relating the history of Australian and Olympic rowing.