A Brief History of NSRC

from Centenary Regatta Program 1979

club at Milson's Point

the club at Careening Cove 1903

On Friday, 18th July, 1879, a meeting was held at Dind's Hotel, Milson's Point, to consider the prospects of establishing a Rowing Club on the north side of the harbour. Those present included C. Cope, D. Lord, G. Medcalf, E. G. Sayers, W. Simpson, J. Fogg and T. E. Willis.

It was decided to canvass the district for members, examine prospective sites, ascertain costs of boats and boatshed and report progress to a future meeting. Following this discussion a public meeting was convened at the School of Arts, St. Leonards, on Wednesday, 6th August, under the chairmanship of Sir George R. Dibbs. After reading the report compiled as a result of the 18th July meeting, Mr. T. E. Wills moved "that a Rowing Club be formed at St. Leonards to be called the North Shore Rowing Club". A committee was then elected and it was decided that when fifty members had been enrolled a further meeting would be held.

The first General Meeting of the North Shore Rowing Club was held at the St. Leonards School of Arts on 20th August, 1879. According to the Club records the following office bearers were elected: President, Sir George R. Dibbs; Captain, T. E. Wills; Secretary, J. J. McLeod; and Treasurer, H. T. Robey.

The Provisional Committee had already inspected four possible sites for a boat shed — on the Blues Point Beach Reserve, in Mosman Bay, on the western side of Careening Cove at the bottom of Willoughby Street and another site on the opposite side of the Cove. The Willoughby Street site was favoured and subsequently a tender was accepted from a Mr P . Eaton to erect the clubhouse for 154 plus 56 for a pontoon and staging and 16.10.0 for painting.


the new club

Club opening Nov 1933


Mr Eaton did not waste any time as the opening ceremony took place on Saturday November 15, 1879, when a Regatta was held.

Thus the clubhouse took shape and the North Shore had its first sporting institution.

The North Shore Rowing Club operated on this site until 1890 despite a sustained campaign by the State Member for St. Leonards to have it removed. This State Member even went to the expense of introducing into the Legislative Assembly a private member's bill — the North Shore Borough's Wharf Bill —the object of which was to oust the Club from the site. The members of the club stood firm but finally voluntarily vacated the Willoughby Street site and moved the clubhouse to the opposite side of Careening Cove where a Mr. John Wilson owned a water frontage.

At the next State Election, the North Shore Rowing Club's Captain, M. T. E. Cresswell, was nominated for the St. Leonards' constituency and as a result of active campaigning by club members and local sympathisers, won the seat comfortably.

Realising the necessity for securing a site with security of tenure, the Committee then negotiated a lease with the Harbour Trust for a block of land at the head of Careening Cove and a new clubhouse was erected there in 1903. By this time membership had increased to seventy-five and the Club had had some success in Inter-Club and Inter-Colonial racing.

With the growth of ferry traffic on the Harbour, the choppy water and the fact that, in any sort of a "Southerly" it was extremely difficult to boat from Careening Cove, it was realised by the late 1920's that something would have to be done to provide more suitable conditions for the preparation of racing crews.

Following the Jubilee celebrations of the North Shore Rowing Club in 1929, the Committee took the first step towards obtaining a new location for the Clubhouse when it inspected a site on Yacht Bay, just above Longueville Wharf on the Lane Cove River. To cut a long story short, the Club, with the co-operation of the Lane Cove Council, secured permission to build on the Yacht Bay site, and on November 25, 1933, the Branch Clubhouse was opened. Club members were then able to take advantage of the perfect rowing conditions available on the Lane Cove River.

Regrettably, with the difficult economic conditions prevailing during the depression years, it was found to be impracticable to keep both sheds going and on 3rd August, 1937, it was decided to dispose of the Careening Cove Clubhouse. All the Club's activities were then transferred to the Yacht Bay Clubhouse.

The constitution of the North Shore Rowing Club gives as its main object "the encouragement of the practice of Amateur rowing". For a century the Club has done this, and in the process has given health and strength to thousands of young Australians and Club members have achieved many notable successes over the years in State, National, and International competition.

The oldest sporting club on the North Shore of our famous Sydney Harbour is this season,1979, celebrating its Centenary year. A committee made up of twenty five past and present club members is organising a series of functions to celebrate the Centenary and to launch the Club on its second one hundred years.


Obituary for Spencer Grace, OAM

Obituary for Ted Bromley