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“It’s never been done until ’81!” – 1981 Reunion Row with the Grammarians

Twenty-two Old Boys braved wet conditions and took to the water on Friday 6 May to relive past glories from a golden era of BGS Rowing.

Two eights with coxes – supported by Alan ‘Brom’ Bromiley, Andrew Burke, Brett Gow and Bruce McGregor in a tinnie – ventured out on the Brisbane River to be re-acquainted with the noble art of rowing.

After some initial fine tuning, both crews were able to find some rhythm and together headed upstream towards the University.

In one boat, there was a combination of First and Second eight rowers (‘Eights VIII’), while in the other was crew of rowers from the Fours in 1981 plus a couple who had some experience at Uni (‘Fours VIII’).

Grammarians Rowing supplied the coxes who were both impressed with how quickly the skill returned to the respective crews.

Equally impressive was their ability to maintain concentration while sliding through flotillas of scullers in teeming rain, with Brom bellowing very technical instructions from the tinnie.

To cap it off, both crews lined up for a final 500m dash home to the shed. After both crews converged on each other over the first 100m, they managed to straighten, and the Eights VIII pulled about a three-quarter length over the Fours VIII in a wild and exciting finish.

The exhilaration and laughter continued as the boats were washed and put away, and everyone went for breakfast at our local café.

Many thanks to Old Boys Bruce Elliott ’81 and Russell Cole ’81 for organising a very enjoyable event. We now have a useful template for any other reunion years wishing to kick off their celebrations with a bit of fun.

Those involved were:

Eights VIII: Daryl Holmes ’81, Neil Alcorn ’80, Nigel Ulrich ’81, Scott Austin ’84, Andrew Percival ’81, Rob Angus ’81, Rob Wilson ’81 and Stuart Powell ’81, with Richard Somerville ’80 as Cox.

Fours VIII: Peter Townley ’81, Nick Dignan ’81, Mark Anderson ’81, Graham Thomas ’81, Dave Counsel ’81, Simon Mathias ’81, Bruce Elliott ’81 and Russell Cole ’81, with Angus Blackwood ’83 as Cox.

Support crew: Brett Gow ’81 – Photographer; Bruce McGregor ’81 – Tinnie Driver; Andrew Burke ’81 – Spiritual Leader; Alan Bromiley – ‘Brom!’

In other Grammarian news, the Club has delivered some wonderful results over the last six months, including:

·         Winning the 140th Anniversary Hyne Bridge to Bridge Regatta in Maryborough (13km), beating the equivalent BBC and Churchie Old Boy crews. We also won the overall event after handicaps were applied on behalf of other boat classes.

·         Placing third and seventh out of 19 entries in the Convict Chase Regatta, a 7km race on the Brisbane River to close the rowing season last November.

·         Collecting 20 medals – including five gold – from 35 events at the recent Queensland State Maters Championships.

·         Participating in all four sprint regattas (1km) at Lake Wyaralong this season, despite the challenges of COVID and the floods. We were one of the few clubs to do so.

Off the water, we have seen six new members join the Club this year including three youth members.

We have established an affiliation with Inspire Health Services (thank you Scott Austin) to provide members value for money access to customised training sessions and health advice.

Angus Blackwood has been named by Rowing Queensland as a selector for the Queensland Masters crews that will compete at the National Championships later this month.

Members of the club participated in a 24-hour row-a-thon supporting Gotcha4Life, a mental health charity, in raising over $2,000 (thanks again, Scott Austin!).

Three of our members joined 16 members of the Vikings (Churchie Old Boys) on a tour to row six rivers in Western Queensland in five days, to promote the sport of rowing in the regions. The tour was widely covered by local newspapers and ABC radio.

The event has inspired us to participate in the inaugural Head of the Outback in Longreach, in October, after seeking to defend our title in Maryborough in August. We will then be heading off to Melbourne for the resumption of hostilities at the Head of the Yarra, in November.

As you can see, the club offers a wide variety of experiences, so if you are interested in coming down for a sequence of free trials, please contact us via email on or call Angus Blackwood on 0413 744 562.

Angus Blackwood ’83
Chairman Brisbane Grammarians Rowing Club


  • The Grammarian - May 2022

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