The centenary of the 1919 Peace Regatta

The AIF No. 1 Crew – Winners of the 1919 King’s Cup at the Henley Royal Peace Regatta

The centenary of an Australian eight’s success at the 1919 Peace Regatta will be celebrated in Australia and at the Henley Royal Regatta (link).

Bruce Coe has written a book to record events in 1919 and the story of the King’s Cup (link). The book will be published in time for the 2019 Interstate Championships (link). Bruce is also involved in the making of a documentary about the Peace Regatta.

The 1919 Regatta was organised by rowing clubs in England for oarsmen in the Allied Armies. Two Australian crews competed in the event. They raced each other in the heats. The Number 1 crew won that race and went on to win the King’s Cup.

Photo Credit

The AIF No. 1 Crew (Rowing Australia website)

Australian Paralympic History Project 2018

A photograph of Katy Parrish competing in the long jump at the 2012 London Paralympic Games.

Tony Naar has shared news of the Australian Paralympic History Project for 2018. (Link)

Ross Mallet (link) has compiled a list of the page views of articles created through the Australian Paralympic history project.

2018 was a record year for a non-summer Games’ year with 1,971,930 page views … an average of 5,402 views for every day of the year.

Tony notes that whilst the Winter Games in March elevated the number of views, the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and the profiles of two Paralympians, Kurt Fearnley (link) and Dylan Alcott (link) stimulated considerable interest in paralympians and their performances.

Kurt carried the flag for Australia in the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games and was subsequently named as the NSW Australian of the Year for 2019. Dylan became even more of a superstar at the Australian Open in January and then through his media roles.

Tony notes that for the first time in a few years, classification articles did not dominate the top 10 page views, although they did make up half of the top 30 articles viewed.

The top 15 articles about athletes were:

Dylan Alcott 182,838 views
Kurt Fearnley 125,933
Madison de Rozario 44,716
Isis Holt 37,824
Jan Cameron (coach) 35,185
Ashley Adams 30,387
Ellie Cole 25,627
Timothy Disken 22,654
Damien Thomlinson 22,049
Lakeisha Patterson 18,928
Evan O’Hanlon 17,331
Heath Davidson 16,145
Katie Hill 14,087
Kelly Cartwright 12,390
Matt Levy 11,680

Top 15 topic page views were:
T38 (classification) 101,506 views
T35 (classification) 36,828
Disability sport classification 23,685
Para-alpine skiing 21,503
Para-swimming classification 20,055
T44 (classification) 19,974
S9 (classification) 19,312
Para-athletics classification 15,926
S10 (classification) 13,308
T54 (classification) 12,323
S7 (classification) 12,290
S8 (classification) 11,857
BC2 (classification) 11,777
S14 (classification) 11,291

Page views since the start of the Project in 2012

A bar graph that shows page views of Paralympian wikipedia articles since 2012 to 2018.

Photo Credit

Katy Parrish (Australian Paralympic Committee, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Link)

Robin Poke’s PhD Submission: A Narrative History of Australian Rowing

Robin Poke holding his PhD Submission

Robing Poke submitted his PhD thesis for examination today at the University of Canberra. It is the culmination of six years assiduous research that is titled A Narrative History of Australian Rowing 1770-2016.

I have been fortunate to be Robin’s primary supervisor.

I believe it to be a magnum opus in the history of rowing. It extends to two volumes and shares some remarkable primary sources to build the narrative.

The abstract is:

This thesis describes in detail the beginnings, development and progress of rowing in Australia through fifteen chapters that set out chronologically how the sport transitioned from the days of settlement, the early watermen, and to the 19th century and the onset of professional sculling. Then came, in the 20th century, the era of pure amateurism before, given the massive funding in contemporary sport, it reverted at the very least to the semi- professional level.

The initial chapters describe the early use of boats by settlers and the exploits of the earliest professional scullers, who captured the imagination not just of the citizens of New South Wales but of all the colonies. Then comes the rapid expansion of rowing and sculling at all levels: club, colonial and national, and the onset of the amateur ideology. The transition from inter-colonial to inter-state competition is described, as is the emergence of women’s rowing. Then comes Australia’s growing involvement at the international level between the two world wars. The retirement of professional sculler Bobby Pearce and the eventual decline of professional sculling are discussed.

A continuing swing away from amateurism towards at least semi-professionalism is seen. Also described is the improvement in the administration of national rowing, at the hands, initially, of John Coates, assisted by John Boultbee. Australia’s first professional Director of Coaching, Reinhold Batschi is introduced.

An extraordinary decade in the history of Australian rowing arrives, during which the sport experiences hitherto unforeseen success and at the end of which hosts an Olympic Regatta. At the heart of this success are the stunning results obtained by a crew that had become known as the Oarsome Foursome.

The period between the celebrating of a successful ‘home’ Olympic Games in 2000 and the London Olympic Games in 2012 is described. In the interim were the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Games. The thesis ends with a discussion about Rowing Australia’s high performance plans for the future of rowing and contemplation about the process of writing a narrative history of rowing.

Robin at the Graduate Office at UC handing in his thesis

We await with great interest the external examiners’ responses in 2019.

Photo Credits

Robin Poke (Keith Lyons, CC BY 4.0)