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Balmain Rowing Club 1892 trial fours won by C McNeill No. 3

Date: 1892
Overall: 45 x 30 x 1 x 30 mm, 0.014 kg
Medium: Metal
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Coins and medals
Object Name: Medal
Object No: 00027354
Place Manufactured:Australia

User Terms

    This medal was awarded by the Balmain Rowing Club to C McNeill, who rowed as (3) in the winning crew of the trial fours race in 1892. A relief depiction of the club rowing shed is shown on the front while the reverse has a victory wreath with an inscription at the centre. The medal is surmounted by a floral loop.
    SignificanceThis medal is an example of the trophies presented at rowing club events during the late 19th Century.
    HistoryPrior to the establishment of an all Australian rowing body in 1925, rowing was managed by state Associations. This meant that each state had their own differing rules and regulations. While New South Wales allowed professional sculling and offered cash prizes for races, these practices were not allowed in Victoria. The debate between New South Wales and Victoria in particular over amateur rowers versus professional meant that intercolonial competition was often prevented. Interstate Championships and representation at the Olympic Games were also managed by State associations prior to 1925.

    While a proposal to form an Australian Amateur Rowing Council failed in 1909, it was finally established in 1925. It changed its name to Rowing Australia Inc in 1996 and became Rowing Australia Ltd in 2007 upon becoming a public company.

    Balmain 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

    Web title: Medal for winning Balmain Rowing Club's trial four

    Primary title: Balmain Rowing Club 1892 trial fours won by C McNeill No. 3

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