Grafton Rowing Club History: Professional Sculling - Jim Stanbury
Early Days Early Racing World Champion Losing the Championship World Champ Again Later Life


James (Jim) Stanbury started rowing at a young age and, though recognised as having a rough style in his early racing career, went on to become World Professional Champion during an era when professional sculling was still at its peak.

Stanbury became champion when he defeated John McLean on the Parramatta River on April 28, 1891. He successfully defended his championship both in Australia and England on several occasions in the five years up to his loss to Canadian Jake Gaudaur on the Thames on September 7, 1896.


Jim Stanbury in 1893

Jim Stanbury - World Champion

Following a nine year break from professional sculling, Stanbury returned to defeat George Towns for the title on the Parramatta River on July 22, 1905. Stanbury then retired from professional sculling again not long after losing the title again to George Towns on the Parramatta River on July 28, 1906.

Jim Stanbury - World Champion again in 1905

Jim Stanbury was a big, powerful man, hence the nickname "Big Jim". Legend has it that he could single handedly load telegraph poles onto a dray, snap saplings off at the roots, and easily lump wheat and corn bags that usually took two men to carry. In later life one of his tricks was to stretch out an arm and from it suspend 3 of his 8 stone (50kgs) daughters for minutes on end!

Follow the links at the top of this frame for additional information about the life of Jim Stanbury.*

* Many thanks to Bruce Stanbury Ramsay who supplied much of the information displayed here about Jim Stanbury.