Grafton Rowing Club History: GRC History Page 2
Australian Rowing Professional
Flooding Grafton
Early Shipping on the Clarence

Grafton Rowing Club History - Page 2

The first public meeting of the Grafton Rowing Club was held in 1882 at the Freemason's Hotel. This hotel was owned by former champion oarsman Michael Rush and was situated at the Western corner of Prince and Victoria Streets in Grafton (this site is now occupied by Westlawn Investments - another Freemason's Hotel was later built at the corner of Prince and Pound Streets in Grafton, near the clocktower, but its name was later changed to the Parkview Hotel).

Mr Sam See, the mayor of Grafton, presided over this initial meeting, with well known rowing enthusiast E. L. Lehman as convenor. It was decided that a rowing club be formed if sufficient numbers were interested, with a joining fee of one Guinea and an annual membership fee of two Guineas (about three weeks wages at that time). A sub-committee of three members (S. B. Cameron, C. Lowenthall, and W. Stevenson) was formed to canvass for members. It was decided that the club would be strictly for amateurs.

Later, on June 20, 1882, at a meeting held at the Freemasons Hotel, sufficient prospective members applied for membership and paid their fees, so the Grafton Amateur Rowing Club was officially formed. A total of 28 members were enrolled at this meeting. Mr Wally Stevenson was appointed as the first president of the club, and December 16, 1882 was set aside as the date for the club's first regatta.

This is a later photo of the Water Brigade Shed (probably 1892), showing a couple of crews on the water in flood boats. Beards were apparently popular amongst rowers at that time. 

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

Grafton Rowing Club History - Page 3