Grafton Rowing Club History: GRC History Page 4
Australian Rowing Professional
Flooding Grafton
Early Shipping on the Clarence

Grafton Rowing Club History - The First Boat Shed

The sitting Member for Clarence, the Hon. Sir John See, was requested to apply to the Minister for Justice for the use of the Police Boat Shed, pending the construction of a suitable rowing club shed.

Sir John See

The Police Magistrate agreed that the existing police shed should be made available for the club until the new shed was constructed.

An interesting tale is attached to the construction of the new boat shed - due to the number of floods occurring during the early 1880s, an application was made by Grafton Council to the government of the day to build a shed on the river bank to house flood boats and rescue craft. A cheque was forthcoming, but was inadvertently made out to Grafton Rowing Club. The Rowing Club naturally thought this was a wonderful windfall, and used the money to pay for the construction of a new boat shed - by the time the government department discovered their error, all the money had been spent and the building was nearing completion, so it was too late to correct the mistake.

An excellent two storey rowing club was constructed with provision for boats on the ground floor and "a gymnasium, dressing space, lockers, showers and a meeting room of first class standard" on the first floor.

The Grafton Rowing Club boatshed (note that the verandah was not on the original
building it was a later addition). The matching Water Brigade building can be seen
on the right of this photograph (this Water Brigade building was constructed with a replacement grant from the government)

A fine fleet of boats including outriggers, Gladestone skiffs, double skiffs and carvel fours was gradually acquired to complete a top racing fleet. A caretaker was even employed to ensure careful handling and proper maintenance of the fleet and other equipment - Tom Dellow and Dad Charleston were the caretakers for many years.

This photo, from about 1905, shows Grafton Rowing Club on the left

Grafton Rowing Club continued to grow and expand during the first part of the twentieth century, but, like most activities in Australia, was affected by the First World War, as many of the active rowers signed up for service.

This later photo (probably the late 1920s) shows a variety of boats on the water.
The Water Brigade shed is behind the Rowing Club, with the swimming baths
visible in the background.

Activities slowly returned to normal after the Great War but it was the 1930s that saw rowing again flourishing on the Clarence.

Grafton Rowing Club History - Page 5