On Saturday 5 July 1919 a crew from the Australian Imperial Force defeated Oxford University at the Royal Henley Peace Regatta to win the King’s Cup.
The Australian crew comprised:
- Sergeant A. R. Robb (Bow) (Derwent Rowing Club)
- Lieutenant F. A. House (2) (Derwent Rowing Club)
- Lieutenant T. McGill (3) (Leichhardt Rowing Club)
- Gunner A. V. Scott (4) (Murray Bridge Rowing Club)
- Lieutenant H. Hauenstein (5) (MM Leichhardt and Balmain Rowing Clubs )
- Major S. A. Middleton (6) (Glebe and Sydney Rowing Clubs)
- Gunner G. W. Mettam (7) (West Australian Rowing Club)
- Captain H. C. Disher (Stroke) (Melbourne University Boat Club)
- Sergeant A. E. Smedley (Cox) (Sydney Rowing Club)
Andrew Guerin has provided a very detailed account of the Regatta and the months of training leading up to it. He notes that ‘Fred House and Arch Robb rowed stroke and seven in the winning Tasmania crew in 1914, while Mettam rowed for WA, Scott for SA, and Disher for Victoria in that year. Hauenstein and Middleton were, of course, Olympic oarsmen (Stockholm 1912)’.
A number of groups are planning to celebrate the Centenary of the Regatta. Two Canberra sports historians, Robin Poke and Bruce Coe, will be involved in these celebrations. One part of these celebrations will involve Robin and Bruce working with Ross Gibson and me to explore ways to share the story of the Regatta and the AIF Crew.
We held our first meeting this week at the University of Canberra.
One of our ideas is to document the emergence of our celebration plans. This is my first note in a four-year project. My particular interest is in how we might develop powerful, interactive narratives about the Regatta and the crew.
We agreed that 1919 itself was a very important year. it was a time of transition (the Australian Imperial Force was in Europe after the end of World War 1) and transformation. Each of us discussed how our interests in transition and transformation might be explored in our project.
We agreed that there were remarkable stories to share about the crew, the Regatta and the place of sport in Australian life. All of which makes for an exciting four years.
Our next meeting is in June.