Star Boating Club
Star Boating Club has about 140 members and has had rowers represent New Zealand at the Olympic Games.
The Star Boating Club is one the oldest sports clubs in New Zealand and plans to celebrate its 150th birthday in September 2016. The club started its initial rowing operations using boats such as gigs, cutters and whaleboats. In 1866, boat owners decided to form the Star Regatta Club, which later became the Star Boating Club. The club was once possibly the largest athletic club in the Southern Hemisphere, boasting 390 members prior to World War One.
The first clubhouse was built in 1867 on the foreshore at Lambton Quay, but reclamation work on the waterfront meant it had to be moved in 1874 and again in 1883. The current building was completed in 1886. In 1889, it was moved to Jervois Quay because of more reclamation work and remained on that site for 100 years. The building was built on skids to facilitate easy relocation and was relocated by steam engine only three years after its original construction. It is likely to be the only building in Wellington to be relocated in this way. In 1989 both the Star Boating Club and the Wellington Rowing Club were relocated to their current location beside the lagoon at Frank Kitts Park.
During the mid-1870's, Star Boating Club was active in establishing an oarsman as either professional or amateur, thus forming the New Zealand Amateur Rowing Association – the NZARA. As a result, crews and races could be selected with set objectives in mind. At about this time, Star and Union Rowing Club Christchurch instituted club races as they are known today; the first was held in 1881. With the formation of the NZARA the first National rowing championship was held in 1888. Three years later, Star had its first gold medal winning crew comprising of J. G Duncan and A.S Bliss. The following year W. E Bendall and A. W Newton won the Champion Pairs title. In the six-oared rowing race, Rua Laura won the E. W Mills Cup which is proudly displayed in the club.
Wellington Rowing Club
The club has an excellent reputation in the rowing community and has produced many international rowers, including Olympic and World Championship gold medal winners.
The building is a legacy of the late 19th century period of New Zealand history when great anxiety about a sea-invasion, particularly from Russia, led to the erection of a whole range of coastal defence structures. It was designed by prominent local architect, Frederick de Jersey Clere for the Wellington Naval Artillery Volunteers and later became the Wellington Free Ambulance’s first ambulance station. The Wellington Rowing Club became the custodian in 1931 when the ambulance station moved to its new depot in Cable Street.
The most famous crew of the Wellington Rowing Club was the Dolly Varden crew. Imported in 1873, the Dolly Varden became the most famous four-oared boat in New Zealand and the first boat in New Zealand with sliding seats. William Bridson was New Zealand's first international sculling representative and won the Amateur Sculling Championship of Victoria in 1891. Tom Sullivan, a professional sculling champion of from England, in 1893 along with Bridson, was a member of the famous WRC crew who won all eight Rowing New Zealand, (then New Zealand Amateur Rowing Association) championship titles between 1889 and 1890.
Tris Hegglun and Owen Wares were members of the club before World War II. During the war they represented the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) which beat the Cairo River Club and an all-Egyptian representative crew to win the Freyberg Cup. Today the Sir Bernard Freyberg Cup is allocated to the champion single sculls at the New Zealand National Club Championships.
Pete Delaney was the club's first Olympian, representing New Zealand at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. The club has won accolades at the Olympics ever since.
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