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1898 Junior Eights the Ladies Challenge plate won by Balmain Rowing Club, C. McNeill

Date: 1898
Overall: 51 x 51 x 5 x 51 mm, 0.05 kg
Medium: Metal
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Coins and medals
Object Name: Medal
Object No: 00027353
Place Manufactured:Australia

User Terms

    This medal was awarded by the Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales to the Balmain Rowing Club for winning the Junior Eights Ladies Challenge Plate in 1898. On the front the head of Zeus is depicted in high relief with the inscription 'Zeusol umgios'.

    This event emulates the English Henley-on-Thames tradition where the Ladies Challenge Plate was a race for men's eight-oared boats.
    SignificanceThis medal won by the Balmain Rowing Club is representative of the types of trophies presented at club events in rowing during the the 1890s.
    HistoryBalmain Rowing Club was formed on 7th June 1882 at a meeting held at Dicks Hotel in Balmain and the first committee was made up of the mayor and aldermen of the council. Pritchard's boatshed in Whilte Street was purchased as a site for the club and a rowing shed was built on the site at a cost of £368. The club is on the same site today.

    Other clubs in existence at that time included; Sydney Rowing Club, Mercantile (now Mosman Rowing Club), North Shore and Glebe Rowing Club.

    Balmain, like most other rowing clubs at the time, was originally a "white collar" club and manual labourers and tradesmen could not be members. Enterprise Rowing Club was formed in 1896 to cater for those in the district excluded from BRC. The Enterprise Club was built next to the Balmain Club close in to Whitehorse Point but was blown down in a gale in 1916 and never rebuilt. Some members from the old Enterprise Club went on to help form Drummoyne Rowing Club.

    The famous black and gold colours of the district were adopted by the Balmain club in its first year of existence. Oral history suggests that the hooped racing Singlet (still worn today) was taken from the Balmain Rugby Union team while the origin of the colours lies not with the tiger but rather with the bark and flowers of the Black Wattle trees which grew in the district.

    A separate Balmain Women's Rowing Club occupied a site at Elliott Street but was destroyed by fire in the early 1950's. The women then occupied a small section of the current boat shed as a separate entity. Over time, the women members joined other clubs and Balmain Women's Rowing Club ceased to exist .Today, women are full members of the club.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: 1898 Junior Eights the Ladies Challenge plate won by Balmain Rowing Club, C. McNeill

    Web title: Medal for winning the Ladies Challenge Plate

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