Here we are again – another Christmas. My word, time does fly when you are having fun!

This is my usual look back over the year gone which is proving to be a difficult task, particularly separating 2015 from 2016. Events impacting on our lives do not adhere strictly to the calendar year, but hey, what does that matter.

Family is well. We have no additions to report this year, only that the existing continue to grow in body and spirit – the latter particularly.

Robyn continues to fight the battle to offer a top class bar and restaurant service at The Tote in Trentham, ably assisted by daughter Rebecca and son Daniel over University breaks. Dan has moved to Tauranga where he will continue his electrical engineering studies at the local Polytechnic and has joined his partner, the delightful Amy. Mya, Rebecca and Clayton’s daughter, describes herself now as a “big girl” having graduated from Day Care to Kindy. Jude and I have the pleasure of “sitting” Mya when required to allow Rebecca to attend to her duties at the The Tote. Any education resulting from this is with us, not as one would expect from the junior. Husband Steve, outside of his job maintaining signage for the local Real Estate Agent, continues as a “hunter and gatherer” providing family and friends with venison products, paua, whitebait and wild pork.

David is living the good life with his partner Pauline and her daughter Sarah and son Mitchell on a life style block at Grass Tree Beach just south of Mackay in Queensland, Australia. When I say “good life” I really do mean it in the proper sense. Today, Christmas, he will be fishing in his tinny and the menu for Dinner is local seafood. As I salivate here I am planning a visit early in the New Year.

Wade’s boys Alex and Owen are now on a regular visiting schedule and receiving photo updates has brought our relationship with these great grand children closer to what we would love to enjoy. His daughter Aleigh-Parker is now 18 months and her photos show evidence of a bright and happy young lady.

Grace has just moved to Palmerston North and will continue her College studies there at a new school in the New Year. Jude and I look forward to a visit over the vacation period.

James, now with an apprenticeship in construction, is establishing a sound family base for partner Kerrie and their 2 boys, Robert and Oliver. James is a regular caller and fills the maintenance gaps around here as we slow up a little in that area.

As to the boss herself, she continues to labour away in her garden and has a rather full calendar lunching with friends, visiting her Age Concern “client” Barbara and showing care for the 6.30 Club (now over 30 years old) elderly ladies. We have just had a most vibrant Spring and the garden is as good as I have seen it. Jude deserves a gold medal for her service to the garden.

You may recall that last year, at the time of writing, my Rowing was in abeyance. due to some supposed degeneration of the spine. On the basis that my challenge was degenerative and affecting the spine I was referred to an Neurologist – a really nice guy who was puzzled that symptoms of the damage were showing up in the wrong arm. Worked out that what the X-ray had found was an old Rugby injury which had been corrected by some physiotherapy many moons ago. So it was back to more X-rays and scans which shifted the target to my right shoulder and severely torn tendons and a condition called Bursitis. I was then shot off to an Orthopaedic Surgeon who injected the shoulder, but seemingly to no avail. About this time we travelled to Queensland for our period of hibernation, still in pain but firmly resolved not to let it get the better of me.  Out early every morning for a 90 minutes power walk followed by some time under a hot shower concentrating on the shoulder – result after 14 months of no Rowing and very little Bowls – all fixed! Please excuse this war story – makes me sound like my old Mum who was known in the family for her “enjoyment of ill-health”. When the weather comes right I shall be back on the water.

Suffice to say, my activities on the Sunshine Coast this year were somewhat constrained. However there were highlights, especially the company of fellow Kiwi Brent O’Keefe and Suzanne Davies to watch the Rugby without the annoyance of Ocker mentality and over acted patriotism. We arrived home in time for the Rio Olympics with the choice of 10 TV channels and relatively non-partisan commentaries. “Go Kiwi”!

Rowing played a large part in my year with the 150th Anniversary of the Star Boating Club – the third oldest living sports club in the Country. We had a wonderful weekend of eating, drinking, telling lies about the past, etc and capped off with an Eights race for Super Gold Card carriers.

Family history still takes up a big part of my time and the return on investment continues to give a high level of fulfilment and satisfaction.

The big projects this year were a revision of the Crumpler Family genealogy and related to my first positive DNA connection more on the Berry Family. The latter prompted me into seeking some clarity to the “merry” (please excuse the pun) chase Christopher Christmas Berry has led his descendants about his true name. The conclusion is that our blood line follows from his birth name John Christmas Underwood with “Berry” blood commencing with him and his descendants, the first of which was Christopher Newdick, the subject of my DNA link. For more please see this blog.

5 August 2016 at the Mooloolaba Surf Club was another big day for me. We met up with new-found cousins from West Australia – Georgie Vine, daughter, Alexia Weskin Fox and her little daughter Naiyah, and established ongoing contact through the social media. Hopefully I will be able to arrange a visit to WA to catch up with my new-found cousins on their patch.

Georgie is my 3 x cousin once removed. My great-grandfather Harry Vine was the brother of Georgie’s 2x great-grandfather Uriah Vine. Uriah and Harry were the sons of Matthew Vine and Susannah Cooper.

Our world changed a little with the 7.8 magnitude earthquake which struck our part of the country a few minutes after midnight on 14 November. I haven’t bounced around in bed so much for a long, long time! Although the epicentre was quite some distance away in the South Island, the Wellington area suffered quite badly with a significant number of high-rise buildings requiring replacement or structural repair. This has caused a great deal of disruption to transport and business with completion of the re-development programme some years away. At home our Grandmother clock took a dive requiring repair but we were fortunate to get away so lightly. We had a German honeymoon couple as guests that night. This really gave them something to remember. The real blessing was that the quake struck in the middle of the night when commercial buildings and downtown streets were almost empty.

As we move on another year I am reminded that my age brings with it an increasing amount of sadness with the loss of old mates from work and play. I have a jacket that I wear to Funerals and recently was obliged to relieve a breast pocket of a not inconsiderable number of orders of service. On the other side of the coin I note from my Diary that I have attended a like number of “Big 80 Parties”.  This is a reminder that life goes on and I remind myself of this with the above “On Aging” attached to the wall right behind my computer screen.

I should especially acknowledge here the recent passing of my great friend John Gray former Christchurch City Manager, and Brigadier, NZ Territorial Force (Reg. No. 203013) and holder of many other high office positions. John was many things to me – mentor, colleague, fellow professional, associate, comrade and ally, but above all a great friend. I shall miss him immensely and he shall be forever in my thoughts. Memories aplenty will not allow John to be forgotten.

Well that’s enough for now, except to wish all a bountiful Christmas followed by all the very best for the New Year. Much Aroha.

Love, Judy and Bob.








I am delighted to be able to advise of more information for the Berry Family Tree. This in turn extends my database to open other research lines, for which I find blogging an extremely useful tool.

The subjects are:
John Salmon Berry “foster-brother” of John Christmas Underwood aka Christopher Christmas Berry, born Norfolk Street, Lynn, Norfolk, February, 1817 – died Bridlington, Yorkshire East Riding, England, 1880 and
Christopher Newdick Berry aka Christopher Newdick, son of Christopher Christmas Berry, born 8 December 1821, Kings Lynn, Norfolk – died 23 December 1868, Somerville, Massachusetts, USA).

1. John Salmon Berry.

John was the youngest of the five children in the family of Christopher and Elisabeth Salmon Berry, where the oldest, Christopher Christmas Berry, my 2x great-grandfather, had been adopted/fostered. Christopher Christmas was Baptised (in fact for the third time with different names for each) Christopher Christmas Berry on 14 January 1803. Technically all members of this family are unrelated to descendants of Christopher Christmas Berry. John does not share the same bloodline as Christopher Christmas.

Please see  my Feature Story: “The Three Lives of Christopher Christmas UNDERWOOD/BERRY” Part One: “Norfolk, England 1796 – 1837” for explanation of the rather complicated situation related to Christopher Christmas’ surnames.

John Salmon Berry married Alice Leek , born 1815, Bridlington Quay, Yorkshire, England and headed a family comprising:

Sarah Berry,   b. Abt 1839, Flamborough, Yorkshire, England
Elizabeth Berry,   b. Abt 1840, Flamborough, Yorkshire, England
Ann Berry,   c. 10 Apr 1842
Ann Berry,   b. 12 Nov 1843, Flamborough, Yorkshire, England
Jane Berry,   b. Abt 1845, Flamborough, Yorkshire, England
William Berry,   b. Abt 1848, Flamborough, Yorkshire, England
Alice Berry,   b. Abt 1850, Flamborough, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt Apr 1852, Flamborough, Yorkshire, England
Eliza Berry,   b. 1855, Flamborough, Yorkshire, England
Emma Berry,   b. 1858, Flamborough, Yorkshire, England
Mary Berry,   b. 1858, Flamborough, Yorkshire, England.

In the absence of a bloodline I do not intend, at this stage anyway, to further my research.

2. Christopher Newdick Berry.

The data obtained in relation to Christopher Newdick Berry is my first positive result from an Ancestry DNA Test. The match is with a David Hoppel through Gedmatch, but I have not as yet been able to establish communication with him. David Hoppel is the 4th great-grandson of Christopher Christmas Berry. His 2nd great grandparents are Mary A Berry, daughter of Christopher Berry (Newdick) and David B Brown,

Christopher Berry was the first-born child of Christopher Christmas Berry (John Christmas Underwood) and Elizabeth Newdick. He was born 8 December 1821, Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England and Baptised 11 December at St Margaret, Kings Lynn – Parish Register, No 964, Page 121. No Father was named and the record reads: “Son of Elisabeth Newdick”.

Christopher’s father married Elisabeth Newdick as “Christopher Christmas Underwood” on 6 June 1822, St Nicholas, Kings Lynn – Parish Register page 171, number 512, and from that date records show him as “Christopher-Newdick Berry” which was the format later used for the forenames of his siblings:

James-Newdick Berry,   b. 13 Aug 1823, Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England
Edmund-Newdick Berry,   b. 11 May 1825, Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   bur. 22 Jul 1826, St Margaret, Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England
Elisabeth-Newdick Berry,   b. 02 Feb 1827, S Clough Lane, Lynn, Norfolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   bur. 23 Nov 1887, Lynn, Norfolk, England
William-Newdick Berry,   b. 05 Aug 1833, S Clough Lane, Lynn Find all individuals with events at this location,   bur. 18 Jul 1834, St Margaret, Kings Lynn
Edward-Newdick Berry,   b. 1830,   bur. 14 Apr 1832, St Margaret, Kings Lynn, Norfolk
Sarah Berry,   b. 1829, Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England, bur. 18 Apr 1832, St Margaret, Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England.

Christopher Berry, Junior proceeded in life, apparently with two exceptions, his Baptism and Marriage, using the name Christopher Berry. His Death Record shows “Christopher C” as forenames. The “C’ could very well be for “Christmas” but I cannot find any record that substantiates this.

My research from the point of his birth had hit the proverbial “brick wall” which after extreme perseverance and several months of ” try this, try that” I finally found an answer. Simply that our Christopher married using his Baptismal surname “Newdick”. Ironically this mirrors the action of his Father who used his first baptismal surname “Underwood” for his marriage to Elisabeth Newdick in 1822.

With that resolved I was able to ascertain his wife Charlotte’s surname – “Follan”. There are several variations of the spelling but discovery of the Marriage Notice in the Cambridge Chronicle and Journal 30 April 1842 confirms “Follan” as correct.

Again a “brick wall” hampered progress in ascertaining details of the births of his three children, Mary A, Sarah and Robert J, You will note that Mary Ann’s surname was given as “Newdick” for her Baptism, but with “Berry” used following that event. The only birth place verification I can find for Sarah and Robert J. is “England” found in USA Federal Census records.

Also I have been unable to trace details of the family’s migration to USA. The only information I have is a reference from Sharon who researches the TomMcWill  Family Tree. Sharon places their arrival in USA as “Vermont, 1851”.

One line of thought is that Christopher Jnr. could have moved, following his marriage, from Norfolk to Scotland where his father was  engaged in 1836 by the Orissa Shipping Company at Grangemouth. This should be regarded as a “guess”.

Records I have been able to access show that in 1837 three of CCB’s children, Christopher-Newdick Berry, James-Newdick Berry and Elizabeth-Newdick Berry could have still been alive, together with their mother, Elisabeth nee Newdick.

Records held at the National Archives show that Christopher Christmas was in Scotland in 1836 with the Orissa Shipping Company, based at Grangemouth on the Clyde, and it is possible that Elisabeth and the surviving children, or at least only Elizabeth of their number, had accompanied him in the move North. This conjecture is supported in relation wife Elisabeth and daughter Elizabeth by the 1841 Census in Scotland which records two with the name Elizabeth BERRY, ages 46 and 11, not born in Scotland, resident at East Craigies Cottages in the Parish of Cramond, with the occupation of the elder given as “Agricultural Labourer”. Grangemouth is only 34.6 km distant from Cramond, and bearing in mind that CCB was resident in New Zealand at the time of the Census, 3 June 1841, it is highly possible that further research will verify that these two named Elizabeth BERRY were CCB’s wife and daughter.

3. The Underwood Connection.

These latest discoveries take me a little further with my research of the Berry family, but there is still a lot to be done particularly relation to the Underwood family blood lines.

I have established from the Norwich, All Saints Church Records that John Christmas Underwood‘s Birth Parents were William Underwood and Mary Gooddy. This fact takes me in a new direction with my Berry family history research which now sits with the parents of John Christmas Underwood as the most senior of my discoveries on the Maternal side of my family.

A key question is “why was he fostered out?” The first thought to mind is a death in the Underwood family resulting in children being placed in the foster care of relatives.  In an attempt to find an answer I have found some Parish Record entries that might relate and could offer a starting point to ascertaining details of the connection:

  1. Baptisms St Nicholas Chapel, Lynn, January 1, 1795: Mary Underwood D. Christopher & Margaret Berry and Elisabeth D. Christopher & Margaret Berry (The Burial of Elisabeth at Kings Lynn St Margaret with St Nicholas is recorded 21 July 1795)
  2. Baptism 29 January 1799 St Nicholas’ Chapel, Lynn – Maria. Underwood, D. Christopher & Margaret Berry.

A possibility is that Mary Underwood Berry’s mother Margaret was an Underwood, hence the second name. Mary could well have been a sister of John Christmas Underwood and fostered by another arm of the Berry family. This investigation has been brought to a halt, temporarily I hope, with the challenge of finding a connection between the Christopher and Margaret and Christopher and Elisabeth Berry families.

Help with this would be very much appreciated.

Bob Vine
November 2016








I continue my series of Blogs relating some of the history of the Star Boating Club, Wellington established in 1866.

The Club is celebrating its 150th Anniversary, 2 – 4 September next, and invites members, former and current, their partners, families and friends of the Club to join in the fun. More details may be found here.

This Blog relates to Star’s very successful Youths Crews in the 1963 Season, in particular the wins of the Fours and Eights at the New Zealand Championships held that year at Karapiro.

My principal source of data is a rather aged clipping from The Dominion, forwarded some years back by Conway Ansell to Alastair Rogers, both of whom rowed in the Fours and Eights at the Championships. Apologies for the state of the photographs. I shall replace them, if I can, when I return to New Zealand in a fortnight’s time.

Extract from The Dominion March 4 1963

“Wellington supporters had their exciting moments in the first race of the day, Star’s unbeaten youths’ four reached the front quickly and built up a 25 yards lead. Timaru lodged a desperate challenge with 200 metres to go, but Star just held on to win by 1 ft.
Rowed Splendidly
Star rowed splendidly accompanied by wild hand shaking and yelling from the coach, Duncan Cameron, who was on the bank near the finishing line.
These four boys were also in the youths’ eight which took an early lead stroking at 38 and carried on until hotly challenged with 200 metres to go by Ngaruawahia and Union Wanganui.
However Star raced away and with 100 yards to go , drawing away to win by 30 yards. This time coach, Duncan Cameron endeared himself to the crowd with an equal effort of sustained jubilation.”
Results per Press Association:
Youths’ Fours: Star (R. Prince , A. Rogers, C. Ansell, W. Taylor, 1; Timaru 2; Waikato and Whakatane 3 equal. 1 foot, 2 lengths. Time 7m 3s.
Youth’s Eights: Star (W. Bishop, D. Coombe, R. Prince, A. Rogers, C. Ansell, W. Taylor, G. Guthrie, D. McGuire) 1; Ngaruawahia 2; Union (Wanganui 3. 1 1/2 lengths. Time 7m 3.3s.”


Star Youth Four: National Championship winners at Karapiro. 1963

Star Youths Four: New Zealand Championship winners at Karapiro. 1963. Extract from The Dominion.


Youths Four leading the field, stroking 38. Extract from The Dominion.

The photograph below illustrates the challenge faced at Karapiro in the times of unmarked lanes. I have a fairly intimate knowledge of the Lake, both before and after, having lived just a 15 minute bike ride up the road in my adolescent years. It is obvious to me that Star in the inside lane has lost touch with the field by having followed the shoreline too closely. The shoreline does not run parallel with the course and has a little bay that attracts crews away from the shortest line to the finish. In 1962 Chas Smith and I in the Junior Coxless Pairs proved this to our disadvantage and finished third. Who cares though even if you do take the longest line. Winning is the thing.




Comment: Duncan Cameron has lost none of his passion for Rowing. Today at 78 years of age he rows Masters out of the Rotorua Club. Duncan’s record with Star in his hey-day reads as follows in Frank Scott’s Blue Book:

* New Zealand Championship Win

* New Zealand Championship Win



I continue my series of Blogs relating some of the history of the Star Boating Club, Wellington established in 1866.

The Club is celebrating its 150th Anniversary, 2 – 4 September next, and invites members, former and current, their partners, families and friends of the Club to join in the fun. More details may be found here.

With the many commemorative events related to Wars where many Star members participated, it would be most proper to “Remember Them” on the occasion of our 150th Anniversary.

The New Zealand Wars, 1845 to 1872:

The only apparent Star connection with these Wars was the election of Major Charles Heaphy VC as an Honorary Member in 1872.

The South African War (or Second Anglo-Boer War) 1899 -1902

DepartingContingentThe New Zealanders who fought in the South African War were the first soldiers from this country to take part in an overseas conflict.

Between 1899 and 1902 New Zealand sent 10 contingents to South Africa. The men who enlisted came from a variety of backgrounds and from all over New Zealand. Many had prior experience in the Volunteer forces but others were ordinary citizens who were skilled riders and marksmen. The contingents were often made up of companies that had strong regional identities and many were supported by local fundraising.

In all 30 Star members served with the New Zealand Contingents in South Africa. Many were the Club’s senior oarsmen and included A. T. Bendall who was to win a Redcoat in 1905. No Star members died in combat but three were lost to enteric fever – Troopers Frederick Broome, John Moeller and Clement Wiggans.

The service of some those who were Star members can be followed from the Annual Reports of that time.

The Thirty-Fifth Annual Report dated 31 July 1901 records:
“The Committee in presenting the Thirty-fifth Annual Report desires to express their pleasure at the safe return of so many of the members of the Club who went to South Africa with the New Zealand Contingents; some of these being Lieutenants G. F. Johnston, P. W. Tait, J. L. Haselden and G. R. Miller; Sergeants E. Fitzgerald, T. H. Foster, and A. J. S. Thomson; Troopers A. McTavish, H. T. Richardson, A. Myers; and Bugler T. W. Brown. Amongst other members who left for the Front since last annual meeting are Lieutenant A. B. Rose; Lance-Corporals R. L. Evatt and W. D. McKellar; and Troopers P. R. Fordham, D. I. S. Barnes, E. F. Jupp and L. Armstrong.”

The 1902 Annual Report expresses the Committee’s pleasure in being able to report the safe return of most of the members of the Club who went to South Africa with the New Zealand Contingents. “Amongst those who left for the Front during the past year were Captain J. L. Haselden; Lieutenants W. Handyside, L. C Tennent, H. G. Lewis, L. G. O’Callaghan, P. W. Tait and T. H. Foster; Sergeant T. M. Page; Troopers S. T. Evatt, H. Smithers, A. T. Bendall and C. W. Palmer.”

The Thirty-Seventh Annual Report, presented at a meeting held at the Club-house 28 August 1903 contains the following:
“The Reading-room has also been furnished with a large frame containing photographs of thirty members who served in the South African War.”

“Russian Scare” 1885:

Star Boating Club Wellington Submarine Mining Volunteer Corps in camp at Shelly Camp, Wellington, in 1899, on board the defence vessel 'Ellen Balance'.

Star Boating Club Wellington Submarine Mining Volunteer Corps in camp at Shelly Camp, Wellington, in 1899, on board the defence vessel ‘Ellen Balance’.

During the 19th century the Russian and British empires were involved in a number of conflicts, prompting many New Zealanders to view the Russians as potential aggressors. In the aftermath of the Crimean War of the 1850’s, unannounced visits to the South Pacific by Russian warships created alarm in New Zealand. A full-blown Russian scare in 1885 grew out of Anglo–Russian rivalry in Afghanistan and led to the building of major fortifications to protect New Zealand’s coastal cities.

As a consequence several home defence organisations were established and on 30 May 1898 Star formed among its members , the Star Submarine Mining Corps. Its main function was to train for coastal defence including the laying of mines offshore. The Corps severed its relations with the Club on 15 June 1900 when it became no longer possible to maintain its necessary strength by recruiting exclusively from the Club membership. The unit became the Wellington Sub-Mining Corps and marked its severance from the Club with a generous donation of £78/15/ towards the purchase of a billiard table.


First World War 1914 -18:

150 Star Members served overseas of whom 29 were never to return. Rowing activities were greatly restricted and from 1915 until the end of the War the Club did not compete in any regattas and held very few club races.

Star Boating Club :Photograph of members of the club who went to Samoa with Expeditionary Force, 1914.. Ref: PAColl-5216. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Star Boating Club :Photograph of members of the club who went to Samoa with Expeditionary Force, 1914.. Ref: PAColl-5216. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

The first troops to leave New Zealand were members of the force that seized German Samoa. Led by Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Logan, the 1400-strong Samoa Advance Party of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force landed at Apia on 29 August. There was no resistance from German officials or the general population. The Advance Party included 28 Star members.

In 1916 the Club reached its Jubilee year. The Annual Report for that year acknowledged the fact and stated that “some three years back the Committee then in office expressed their intention of organising some special effort, though its kind was not decided to celebrate this event, and had all gone well members would now be participating. The advent of the war, however, has been such to so seriously deplete the membership of the Club, and your Committee being of the opinion also that the time was inopportune, nothing has been done in recording such an important event in the Club’s history. It is however recommended to the incoming Committee that the year of the victorious ending of the war, of the Declaration of Peace, would be a fitting one in which to do things which have at present to be left undone, and trust that before long such an opportunity will occur to fittingly celebrate the Jubilee of the Club.”

The celebrations were eventually held in 1926 on the Club’s 60th Anniversary.

Of particular note is the closeness with which the Club followed the activities of its members serving overseas at the time. These are some excerpts from Club documents which illustrate this:

The 1916 Annual Report cites the total on the membership roll as 340, against 343 for the previous year and names members on Active Service, “in addition to those recorded in the last report”:

Allen, F.           Bridge, C.E.          Brewer, T.          Bird, F.E.            Carr, C.          Coghlan, E.F.           Devine, L.          Day, E.C.          Eilers, L.L.J.            Freyberg, P.             Fife, D.A.
Girdlestone, G.E.                           Harrington, W.C.           Holmes, C.E.           Holmes, W.A.                Hacon, A.C.          Hogg, W.F.           Jacobson, F.H.S.          Johnson, D.G.          King, G.W.
Lawrence, C.H.         Laing, J.D.         Lawson, H.         Mack, A.          Moorehouse, F.S.          MacLeod, J.A.           McLean, D.J.           O’Brien, –            Pilcher, A.M.          Pollon, N.E.             Pye Smith, P.R.
Radcliffe, J.V.            Shirtcliffe, W.           Smith, A.G.

At this date the Club had a total of 103 members with the Expeditionary Force.

Killed in Action recorded in the 1916 Annual Report were: C.O. Carr, J.V. Radcliffe, R.A. Newton, J.S.H. Turner, W.R. Richardson, L. Bridge, N.A. Robisson and D.J. Whitcombe.

In that year the Club placed the Gymnasium and Club-Room at the disposal of the St. John Ambulance Brigade Overseas.

The Annual Report for the following year, 1917, reported that the following members had gone into camp:
Copeland, W.           Cowles, S.G.            Crawford, G.P.            Dodwell, F.R.            Duncan, R.           Dudley, J.C.A.           Higgins, W.            Hogg, W.            Kennedy, R.            Moorhouse, F.S.           McCall, M.G.C.
O’Meara, W.J.          Robertson, D.L.      Ward, R.                      Wardrop, C.              Brown, F.W.        Findlay, W.T.             Thomson, A.M.      Field, G.H.

Recorded as Killed in Action were: D.A. Fife, L.V.Hulbert, W.A. Holmes, P.Freyberg and F.A. Allen.

The Club on a number of occasions displayed pride in the fact that none of its members were declined for enlistment due to medical or physical issues. Great pride was taken in the fact that rowing maintained high levels of health and fitness.

No account of Star members’ involvement in the Great War should omit recognition of the service of Lieutenant General Bernard Cyril (Tiny) Freyberg, 1st Baron Freyberg VC, GCMG, KCB, KBE, DSO & Three Bars (21 March 1889 – 4 July 1963) a British-born soldier and Victoria Cross recipient, who served as the 7th Governor-General of New Zealand from 1946 to 1952. Freyberg was a well performed swimming adjunct member. He had moved to New Zealand with his parents at the age of two and attended Wellington College from 1897 to 1904. A strong swimmer, he won the New Zealand 100-yards championship in 1906 and 1910.

In the Second World War  Freyberg commanded the 2nd New Zealand Division through the North African and Italian Campaigns of the British Eighth Army.

The Sir Bernard Freyberg Cup is awarded to the winner in single sculls at the New Zealand Rowing Championship.

WW1HonoursBrdThe following from Papers Past and the Evening Post, Volume XCVIII, Issue 60, 9 September 1919, Page 15 illustrates the mood of the Club in paying its respect for the fallen:
“It has been suggested that a suitable memorial be erected to the memory of those members who fell in the recent war. Several proposals have been put forward by present members. Mr Oswin was of the opinion that, as so many of those” gone ‘West” had been such ardent whalers” living for their Sunday trips, the dub should buy two new whalers, the same as the one recently disposed of, as a memorial to these men . Also he said conditions in the harbour were more suitable to whalers, which could be used when skiffs were out of the question. He thought that a year’s whaling would “make” any man, and fit him for sculling. ‘Whaler races could also be inaugurated and would certainly become extremely popular. Mr. Bri dge spoke in similar terms, upholding the previous speaker’s suggestion. Other speakers were in favour of this scheme. Further suggestions which have been put forward are that a suitable brass tablet memorial be placed in the clubhouse; that an obelisk he erected in the club-house grounds; that the invitation of the Anglican Cathedra] authorities be accepted to contribute towards the cost of the cathedral and so have there a permanent memorial and record. The associated sports bodies have been invited to make a combined offering, but each club is assured of a separate record; that a silver cup (wIth the names of those who have fallen engraved thereon) be competed for annually by club rowers, the race to be known as the “Memorial Fours”. This suggestIon found much favour among the members, and, in the opinion of many, is most suitable.
Mr. Bayfeild thought that sufficient funds could be raised to procure a cup and to erect a memorial tablet in the clubhouse, which latter scheme he considered eminently suitable.
Mr. Mitchell, in supporting the suggestion of a cup, thought that a roll of honour of the names of all those members who had fallen should be placed in a prominent position in the clubhouse.
Mr. Oswin moved that a silver cup, with the names of those fallen engraved on it, be competed for annually, the race to be known as “The Memorial Whaleboat Race,” and that the members of the club be specially invited to subscribe to the memorial, the form of which will be decided by the committee.
The motion was carried unanimously”.

On 17 October 1919 it was reported in the Evening Post “Local oarsmen are keenly anticipating the renewed activities in boating circles bound to follow the lifting of the restricting conditions imposed by the great war. Tomorrow afternoon the members of the Star Boating Club are holding their opening day of what is intended to make a successful season………. Of the six races to be held, the Returned Soldiers’ and Veterans’ competitions should prove enjoyable, as the pick of the older followers of the sport will be seen in action.”

An interesting fact: Star Club President at the time of World War 1, Hon H. D. Bell, KC, M.L.C. (later Sir Francis Henry Dillon Bell. P.C., GCMG, KC) offered Taumaru his home in Lowry Bay to the government as a convalescent home for mostly rank and file New Zealand soldiers who had been wounded at Gallipoli and in other battles of World War 1 and was used as a hospital from 1916 to 1919. A smaller cottage on the estate was turned into a workshop for the use of patients.

The Bell’s three sons – Ernest, Cheviot and William served in the war, William being killed in Belgium in July 1917.

Second World War 1939 – 45:

ww2HonoursBoardThis War saw 111 Star members serve overseas. In the early stages there was in fact a Star Platoon attached to “B” Company, Wellington Regiment, 2NZEF.

17 Star Members lost their lives during this War.

Frank Scott, in his Centennial Booklet, “One Hundred Years of Rowing” records that the following decorations were awarded to members, 1 DSO, 6 DFCs plus 1 Bar, 1 MC, 1 MBE, 1 BEM and 5 Mentioned in Dispatches.

The Minute Books record the following Awards: (please note this is not a complete list): Squadron Leader Wilford Clouston, D.F.C.; Squadron Leader A. Mack, D.F.C.; Squadron Leader H.R. Hall, D.F.C., Major J.I. Thodey, D.S.O.; Major R.O. Pearse; Temp. Major K.J. Frazer M.C.; Captain Don Steele. O.B.E

The Club’s own hero of this War was undoubtedly George Campbell Cooke (1906-1941).

His Rowing record with Star as recorded in Frank Scott’s “One Hundred Years of Rowing” reads as follows:

1925-26-Wairau, Picton: Youth Fours (str}; Wairau, Picton: Maiden Pairs (str)
1926-27-Picton, Wellington: Junior Pairs (str); Christchurch: Youth Fours (str)
1927-28-Christchurch: Junior Pairs (bow); Maiden Double Sculls (str), Junior Double Sculls (str)
1928-29- Christchurch: Senior Pairs (str) Picton: New Zealand Championship Pairs (str); Christchurch, Wellington: Junior Double Sculls (bow),
1929-30-Christchurch : Senior Fours (str); Senior Pairs (str).
1930-31-Picton, Wellington: Senior Fours (2): Senior Pairs (str) ,
1931-32-Wellington: Senior Fours (str); Senior Pair’s (str),
1932-33-Picton, Wellington: Senior Pairs (str); Wanganui: New Zealand Championship Pairs (str)
1933-34-Picton. Wellington: Senior Pairs (str),
1934-35-Wellington: Senior Fours (str) ; Picton, Wellington: Senior Pairs (str); Auckland: New Zealand Championship Pairs (str)
1936-37-Wanganui: Open Eights (6),
1938 -39 Picton: Senior Fours (str}: Wellington: Senior Pairs (str).

George Cooke’s one International representation was as Stroke of the New Zealand Eight at the Olympic Games, Los Angeles, 1932, where the New Zealand boat was eliminated in the repêcharge by half a length by Great Britain, represented by the Cambridge crew. USA were the Gold Medallists.

George had trialled for the Olympics in the Coxless Pairs and Coxed Fours and was lucky to be selected to Stroke the Probables Eight. The legendary Clarrie Healey of Union, Wanganui was actually chosen but was not available when the race was due to start, Cooke being put into his seat as a consequence. Healey did however travel as the Rowing Coach.

Cyril Stiles and Fred Thompson were selected to row the Coxless Pairs and returned with the Silver Medal for this event.

George Campbell Cooke was killed in action during World War II at Servia, Greece. He was a Corporal in the New Zealand Army, and died of wounds during the Allied retreat in the Greek campaign of 1941.

The Maadi Cup which has strong and rich connections with Star and the 2nd World War is the prize for the New Zealand Secondary Schools Boys’ Under 18 Rowing Eights. More colloquially, it is the name given to the New Zealand Secondary Schools Rowing Regatta, at which the Maadi Cup is raced. The regatta is the largest school sports event in the Southern Hemisphere, with over 2100 rowers from 125 secondary schools participating in 2014.

Star connections with the founding of the Maadi Cup may be found here. Members involved were Bernard (Tiny) Freyberg in his capacity as commander of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force, together with oarsmen, Athol R. Lawson, Jock I. Thodey, Marty Clay, A.A. Andrews, G.C. Cooke, A.L. (Dick) Burge (also Hon. Secretary NZEF Rowing Club), A.J.C. Coates, E.V. Dawson and C.F. Pert all of whom crewed in NZEF Eights on the River Nile, 1940 -1943.

The Impact of the Wars:

At the Club’s 79th annual meeting the President, Mr A. D. Bayfield, referred to the “adverse conditions under which the club had operated during the war years. He hoped that with the return of members from overseas the club would once again take up its position as one of the foremost rowing clubs in the country.” Sadly. this was to a high degree not achieved at club level and the sport nationally took on new perspectives.

This comment leads me to reflect on changes within the Club over the past 150 years. The 2 World Wars certainly had a dramatic affect on the Club’s existence. Each may be seen as having created defining moments in our history, which can be broken down to four distinct periods, each with its own clearly definable demographics and culture:

1. Founding in 1866 to end of the Great War,
2. 1919 through the Great Depression to the end of the Second World War,
3. 1945 – c 1970’s and
4. to present day.

1866 – 1918

The first period saw the development of a quintessential English Gentlemen’s club with Rowing as its core activity. Described variously as the “wealthiest club in the Colony” and sometimes as the “wealthiest sports club in the Southern Hemisphere” membership reached a peak of 394 in 1903, with 84 members in training at that time.

The Club was arguably at the forefront in the Colony in keeping pace with the advancement of rowing technology and plant.

Northern Hemisphere innovations were very quickly adopted by the Club. The move to sliding seats was an example of this. They were invented in USA and introduced into England in the Autumn of  1871 by a crew of Tyneside professionals. In 1872 the London Rowing Club used such seats in their June race against the Atlanta Club of New York, and in the Henley Regatta of that year all the other competing boats were fitted with the new invention. It was not too long before Star moved to keep up with the play. In 1879 the Committee was “granted power to have sliding seats placed in such boats as it may think suitable”.

The Club was also relatively quick in moving on from its original muster of whaleboats and introduce out-rigged boats to become more competitive. In 1872 members were asked to subscribe to the purchase of boats to represent the Club in the forthcoming Inter Colonial Regatta. As a result an out-rigged whaler was acquired from Salter of Melbourne,with a further 2 boats from this source in 1874. In 1875 a pair oared outrigger was sourced fro England, and a new racing Batswing Four oared gig to carry 11 and a half stone, from Melbourne, was added to the Boats List.

The greater majority of the new boats were sourced from Australia, built by Salter and Fuller of Melbourne or Donnally of Sydney. From around 1894 the major source of boats was the nationally renown racing boat builder, George Norton who was engaged as the Club Custodian first in 1894 and later in 1928, and who eventually operated from the Club’s shed on Waterloo Quay at Thorndon, which he purchased for £10. This shed had replaced another which had been constructed at “Kaiwara” in 1880 to be used for housing boats required by crews while training. The proceeds of this sale were used in reduction of debentures, reducing the liability under this heading to £230.

Another major advancement of this period was in regard to sculls and oars. The major supplier of the Club’s needs was the firm of Ayling and Norris of Putney, London. The heavy , square-loomed implements, the button being a wooden knob gave way gradually to lighter oars with a round-loomed blade. These had been substantially improved by Ayling’s invention of a button, which dispensed with long nails driven into the wood precisely where the strain was the greatest, and secondly by the general adaption of the girder principle to the shaft, thus securing a gain in lightness without the least diminution in strength. These oars were first used in America and some were used to good effect in England in 1897. Star were right up with the play and purchased first purchased oars from Ayling’s in the mid 1880’s.

Swivel rowlocks made their entry into the sport in England in 1876. In 1892 Star accepted an offer from George Norton to replace poppets used in new racing boats at that time with swivels.

It must be said that Star’s influence in the Rowing scene, such as its stand on amateurism, was not always appreciated by other clubs and some of their members and supporters.  There appears to have been a certain level of jealousy at its ownership of the very latest in the construction of boats. It appears to have been quite common for these people to vent in the Editorial columns of the newspapers with accusations of “high handiness”, privilege and elitism and the like by Star, together with a number of its officials in public positions being the subject of this type of comment.

Facilities included Billiard and Reading Rooms, a lead floored bathroom with several showers, an “extra-large wash hand basin”, a bicycle shed and a telephone had been installed in the early 1890’s.

In 1889 a small gymnastic plant had been fitted up in a room previously occupied by yacht owners.

In 1892 permission was granted to members who formed the Tainui Canoe Club to build a small shed for their canoes on the Southern end of the Club’s leasehold.

The 1902 Annual Report stated that the Club was “in a thoroughly sound financial position, with a plant completely up-to-date, and a Club-house fitted with every convenience for the comfort and pleasure of its members”.

Other activities included a Debating Society established in 1909.

Sporting activities were not confined to Rowing. Swimming was strong before the 1st World War, it being recorded in 1903 that “A new departure was made by the Club in holding its Annual Swimming Sports at Lowry Bay, on 10th January. The meeting proved a great success, over 400 members and their friends journeying from town in the ferry steamer “Countess“.

In 1906 a “Football Club” was formed among members to compete in the Wellington Rugby Union’s Championships. It was reported then that the teams had met with a fair amount of success.

1911 featured a friendly Boxing contest with the Victoria College Boxing Club.

Billiard tournaments attracting large entries were held in Winter months.

On the social side the Annual Club Balls became regarded as “one of the chief of the Wellington Season”. This was as recorded in 1893 when ” it was held at Thomas’ Hall on the 13th July, and was a greater success than ever”.

1919 – 1945

In 1918 at the conclusion of the First World War in 1918, 52 new members were elected, nearly all of whom were under military age. This opened the second era for the Club which lasted through to the end of the 2nd World War and was greatly affected by the Great Depression which saw poverty and civil unrest. Membership numbers declined but it must be acknowledged that the Club did enjoy very high success on the water with the 1938/39 Season

Membership numbers had by 1922 declined from the lofty heights of 1903 to 302 of which 106 made up the Active category. In 1923, with a serious laxity in training, a membership campaign was initiated to restore the Club to its former strength. This initiative was backed in 1925 with acquisition of sufficient plant to accommodate 50 new members.

The effect of the Depression was severely felt in 1933 with 66 resignations not compensated and finances deemed to be “not satisfactory“.

However, despite all this adversity, perusal of past Annual Reports, at the time, revealed that the 1938-39 Season had been the third most successful in the Club’s regatta history. Special mention was made of the Welterweight Junior Four (H.V. Bevan (str), W.H.G. Hawker(3), R.P.Hill (2) and E.V. Dawson (bow)) with a meritorious seven wins and a second from eight starts in regattas, including the Nationals at Picton. The Junior Four comprising Loyd L. Hoskings (str), A.R. Lawson (3), P.F.Shirley (2) and G.C. Broad (bow) also recorded a Nationals Cup win at Picton.

1946 – 1970

The War allowed only one Club Race, the Fitzgerald Fours, to be rowed in 1943 and in 1945 the Billiard table was sold for £60 allowing limited finances to be better used.

Post war records show a continuation in the decline of membership numbers. The 1946 number was 199, 1948, 197 and down further to 181 in 1952. The downward trend seems to have bottomed out in 1954 with 167 members and notable for the fact that only 30 represented the Club at Status and local Regattas.  1955 saw a small increase by the way of the recruitment of 21 new members as against 7 the previous year.

The 1960’s happily did bring relief with substantial gains on the “scoreboard”. In 1963-64 Star won the Centennial Oar presented by our senior, the Canterbury Rowing Club, to celebrate its Centenary in 1961. The trophy was awarded to the Club gaining the most points at the national Championship Regatta. It had been won consistently by the Waikato Rowing Club from its base at Karapiro until Star’s win. Star again won the Centennial Oar in its own Centennial Year, 1966.

The 1960’s also heralded in the first of the Club’s Olympians since George Cooke in 1932. John Gibbons initially a member of the Victoria University Rowing Club, with which Star had close connections, had transferred over in 1963 and represented New Zealand in 1964 in Tokyo and again in 1968 in Mexico.

1970 –

It is difficult to put a precise date to the opening of the next of our Rowing eras. This is the current era in which New Zealand has climbed to the top of the International scene with positive strategies for high performance and success in the new “brand marketing” scenario aligned with the new media. Associated with this has been the addition of Women and College students to the numbers of active oars people. The sport of Rowing must be seen in New Zealand as second only to the All Blacks in this commercial and highly competitive sports world.

Colleges now make up the dominant numbers in the Star shed but it is pleasing to see that numbers of active and Masters members nationally are on the increase through a demographic change fuelled by a desire for a healthy and physically active lifestyle. The reluctance of young people to commit to the energies and time required to take up the sport on leaving college is being replaced, to a degree, by Mums and Dads in their late 30’s and 40’s, together with middle-aged professional people and tradesmen in a move to meet levels of health and fitness and lifestyle wishes. Rowing, of course, is not unique in the continuing decline in membership of sports, recreation and social clubs. Star offers opportunities to follow a number of initiatives and membership categories to cater for people with recreational aspirations, and it is pleasing to be able to report that the Club’s Director of Rowing expects an increase in members this coming season wishing to use the Club’s splendid facilities and plant. There is no better exercise than rowing in all its forms for exercise and raising fitness levels. No other form of exercise uses 86% of the muscle mass as does rowing.

Star’s first involvement in College Rowing was in 1889 with an instruction to the Committee to “take into consideration the advisability of placing a clinker in-rigged four at the disposal of the Wellington College for the purpose of practising for the College Race at the February Regatta”. The records show that Wellington College was in the line-up for the Wellington Regatta on 23 February and later at an annual four-oared races with Wanganui Collegiate from 1907 to 1911.

Development of Rowing for school boys was until relatively recent times negatively affected by a common belief that it was particularly injurious to growing boys with racing linked to heart conditions. However with the nation’s love of sport, times have changed with a positive focus on sports by many Colleges . The Maadi Cup Annual Regatta with over 2,000 competitors illustrates that rowing has not been excluded from this change.

Current affiliated Colleges rowing out of the Star shed are: Queen Margaret College, Rongotai College, Scots College , Wellington College, Wellington East Girls College and Wellington Girls College.


The Club looks forward to your company 2 – 4 September for the 150th Anniversary celebrations.


Foundation of the Star Boating Club, 1866/1867:

In this Blog I outline the history of the establishment of the Star Boating Club and the Clubhouses and sites occupied from the first in 1867.

In opening I have sought to clarify Star’s actual founding date. One finds this most often cited as 1866. In fact here we are in 2016 celebrating an Anniversary of 150 years. Research confirms that 1866 is the formally recognised date of inception, and it recognises that the significant moves to found the club were initiated in 1866, with its incorporation being undertaken at a Special Meeting held in March 1867. New Zealand Rowing records use the incorporation date, but in historic terms 1866 is the valid founding date.

On the very first page of Minute Book 1 of the 8 volumes held at the Alexander Turnbull Library we find the following undated resolutions:
1. “At a Meeting of Shareholders in the “Faugh a Ballagh, Empire City &’whaleboat’
Present Mr Robert Kirton in the Chair. Messrs H F Logan W Alnuth Thos Hoggard
It was proposed that the Proprietors of the several boats should amalgamate to form one club. That Messrs R Kirton H F Logan E Cook J C Boddington E C Donovan and L Buck be appointed to a sub committee to bring up a Report at a future meeting.”

This was followed by:
2. “Meeting of Sub Committee held on (no date recorded)
Present Mr Robert Kirton (in the Chair), Messrs Logan, Boddington, Cook and Buck.
It was resolved that the following proposition be brought before the next General Meeting, eg: That the several boats should be thrown into one propriety and taken to account of the new Club at the following prices viz the “Faugh a Ballagh” and “Empire City at £25 each the whaleboat at £15 and the new Gig (Rua Laura) at cost price.”
It was further resolved that the name of the Club be the Star Regatta Club. This was changed however to Star Boating Club before the next meeting. The member­ship of the Club was fixed at £5 with an annual subscription of £1 payable quarterly.
In addition to the sub-committee other original members at the meeting were: Messrs. Walter Grey (in chair), John Hoggard, A. E. Grimstone, Thos. Hoggard, H. Owen, Jas Aimes and W. Alnuth. The first President was Capt. R. Sharp and for the first year only the Vice Presidents were Capt. R. Johnson and Mr J. F. Hoggard. No other Vice-Presidents were elected until 1910. The first Commodore, or Club Captain, was Mr Edmund Cook, the Secretary Treasurer, Mr J. C. Boddington and Messrs. R. Kirton, E. C. Donovan, H. Owen and John Hoggard formed the first working committee.

The owners of the four boats were in fact shareholders in the club, their shares being taken out as debentures. In addition to many of the above named, other original shareholder were: Chas Willeston, C. P. Powles, J. McTavish, Isaac Plimmer, T. C. Taylor, J. C. Bethune, Chas Borlane, E.C. Batkin, Jas Warburton and W. F. Parsons. In all, 29 individual shares were issued, 7 of which belonged to H. F. Logan. It was permissible to transfer the shares to another person but in 1871 all outstanding shares were surrendered or purchased by the Club and the shareholders became normal members.

The last of the four original boats, the “Empire City”remained in service until 1888 when it was sold for £3 to the Grey River Rowing Club. Some of the original members held administrative positions in the Club for some years, particularly Messrs H. F. Logan and E. C. Batkin who as Secretary from 1878 to 1888 was largely responsible for the formation of the NZ. Amateur Rowing Association, along with Mr William Fitzgerald, Club Captain, 1886 – 1888, who became known as “the Father of Rowing in New Zealand”. As far as can be ascertained Mr Batkin was also the last surviving original member until his death in 1914.

FirstClubhouse18671867 – the first Clubhouse:

During the first few months of its existence the Club had its boats stored in various sheds around the then waterfront. In March 1867 an instalment of £30 was paid toward the cost of erecting a new shed, the total cost of which was estimated at £52. This shed was completed by May 1, 1867, on a site very near the present Cenotaph on Lambton Quay, opposite Bowen Street. The shed was a basic wooden structure sited right on the high tide mark and was one of few buildings on the seaward side of Lambton Quay.

The need for a waterside site, combined with the changing waterfront, necessitated the first of what became ultimately 3 moves for the Club.


1874 – the second ClubhouseStar1stsite1870Lambton Quay:

On 20 April 1874 £100 was borrowed to settle accounts due on a new shed which had been built alongside Plimmer’s Wharf, at the other end of Lambton Quay, with frontage to Customhouse Quay, close to the old site of the Bank of New Zealand. Interest on the loan was to be a first charge upon the annual subscriptions.  Other fund-raising included a Soiree held in the Oddfellows Hall “for the purpose of providing funds to liquidate the debt incurred in the building of the new shed”.

The new shed was constructed from the old Star and the Telegraph Boat Sheds. The Club had received Government approval to acquire the Telegraph Club.

The prominent building two back from the Star Shed in the photograph to the left, is the Wellington Club established in 1841. This is possibly the first of its 3 Clubhouse buildings, all of which have occupied The Terrace site.

THE STAR BOATING CLUB.”, Evening Post, Volume X, Issue 203, 14 October 1874 In the Report of Oliver Wakefield, Hon. Secretary and Treasurer, presented to the Annual General Meeting, he very eloquently outlines the circumstances of the sudden move after the addition of a large extra wing to the original shed.

On 7 December of the same year fresh water was connected and a number of lockers constructed. Due to an increasing membership and the acquisition of more boats the shed was extended to twice its size and a dressing room was added during June 1878.

Star Boating Club seen from the harbour looking towards Jervois Quay, photographed on 11 July 1888 by Frederick James Halse of Wellington.

Star Boating Club seen from the harbour looking towards Jervois Quay, photographed on 11 July 1888 by Frederick James Halse of Wellington.

1887 – third Clubhouse and its first site:

Again in 1883, further harbour reclamation made it obvious that the Club would have to move once more. Coupled with this was an increasing number of members. The 1887 Annual Report states that 94 new members had been admitted during the year bringing the total to 251 Active.

After protracted negotiations with both the Wellington Harbour Board and Wellington City Corporation the Club was given leave to erect a new clubhouse in 1885.

Before this clubhouse could be built however it was necessary for the Club to reclaim the site itself but, even so, it was realised that yet another move to a different place would be necessary in a few years time. The experiences of having to move to follow the ever shifting harbour shoreline were taken into account. Some “bright Star” came up with the idea of rather than laying the building on piles it should be placed on skids. This allowed the new clubhouse eventually to be towed to a new site behind a contractor’s steam engine (1891).

The site was on Customhouse Quay. The cost in 1886 was £2,101/14/8 made up of: Reclaiming site £450, contract for clubhouse £1445, skids and architect’s commission and sundries£206/14/8.

The building architect was Wm. Chatsfield who was a member of the Club and the Cup which he donated for a club race is still the property of the Club.

The building was a major undertaking and Members Messrs W. Fitzgerald and E. Connal devoted much time and energy to achieve its construction.

1891 – third Clubhouse and its second site:

Star Boating Club, Wellington waterfront, showing boats on water. Photograph taken ca 1890s, possibly by Wrigglesworth & Binns

Star Boating Club, Wellington waterfront, showing boats on water. Photograph taken ca 1890s, possibly by Wrigglesworth & Binns. From Field and Hodgkins family photographs / Field album 19, Alexander Turnbull Library.

It was not long before the Club was forced by harbour reclamation to move to a site on the corner of Jervois Quay and Cable Street, next door to what is now St John’s Bar, and before that, the Wellington Free Ambulance Station.

The Annual Report, October 1887 contained this comment:

“The only matter for regret which your Committee has to report is that it has been deemed advisable by the local authorities to undertake further reclamation in the Harbour, and an Act has been passed which will enable the work to be proceeded with shortly. The progress of the reclamation will no doubt, interfere for a time with the convenient use of Club plant, but a site has been provided to which the Boat-House will be removed as soon as the reclamation is completed. The Committee has obtained the most advantageous terms it could without conflicting with the shipping and mercantile interests of the port; and it thinks it right to express its acknowledgment of the assistance given by the City Council and Harbour Board in settling this matter, and of the recognition by these bodies of the importance of fostering the interests of rowing.”

This remained the Club’s headquarters until a further shift in 1989, although alterations have been made from time to time, e.g., the change of the locker room and installation of a dance hall immediately after the Second World War. Initially a lease of 21 year was obtained and this was renewed in 1907 for a further 21 years. Since 1929 through to its next move in 1989 only a month to month lease was granted by the City Council.

Boatshed photo Close Up1989 – second (and final) site of third Clubhouse:

The Wellington City Council’s history of the Wellington Waterfront records:

“The introduction of shipping goods using containers and roll-on / roll-off shipping in the 1970s and the changing needs they brought with them meant that the waterfront quickly became an industrial wasteland, which in turn sparked interest in transforming Wellington’s waterfront.

So Wellington Harbour Board, Wellington City Council and some key players with a vision for the city came into play and – after many years, public consultations and draft plans and proposals – the waterfront started to be transformed into what it is today.

The first major step forward came in 1986 with the Harbour Board and the Council signing a joint venture agreement setting up two companies – Lambton Harbour Overview Limited and Lambton Harbour Management Limited. Their task was to manage and administer a project to develop the waterfront. In 1987 an Empowerment Act allowed the Lambton Harbour Development Project to proceed.”

This relocation of the Club Rooms to what must be its final resting place, in the centre of the Lambton Harbour Development, saw the building moved to a seaward place on the lagoon within the newly developed Franks Kitts Park at the end of the old Taranaki Street Wharf. this was followed by changes to accommodate a functions centre to encourage greater community use of the facility and to generate revenues for use in the promotion of the core activity of Rowing. The building now carries the name “The Boatshed”.

LTM LogoAaron McGuinness of LT McGuinness writes:

“L T McGuinness was engaged  in early 2015 to undertake concurrently work strengthening to both the Star and Wellington Rowing clubs. We had previously conducted the successful refurbishment and lift installation in the function room 5 years earlier.

The re-strengthening works consisted of plywood diaphragms and structural steel bracing, in conjunction with a significant fire proofing elements to the historical timber framed building. The project team went to great lengths to ensure that this was in keeping with in the character of this heritage listed site, and like for like replacements of linings and trims were installed to ensure that any new work was not obvious. This was  especially important within the public spaces such as the function room.

One of the main challenges was to maintain operation of the function centre as this was the main source of income for the club. This was achieved by careful co-ordination with all stakeholders to ensure the staging of works did not interfere with existing bookings; a presentable hoarding system was erected during the works; and disruptive works were programmed in around key dates. The project was also completed earlier than projected to tie into the first rowing regatta of the year.

This was a thoroughly enjoyment project, and a great outcome for all involved.

Project team:
Architect: Anoui Architecture

Structural Engineers: Dunning Thornton
Fire Engineer: PB Fire Engineering”.


Well that’s me for the time being. I am working from the Sunshine Coast, Queensland until 10 August but will be active with more blogs. I am thinking of creating a Gallery for the next featuring some of Duncan Cameron’s collection of photographs.

I am also occupied with a number of tasks related to the 150th Celebrations, so will be kept busy.

A torn shoulder muscle has taken me out of my recreational rowing for a couple of months. This might be good news for those who might have found themselves in the opposing Golden Oldies Eights race that is being scheduled to follow the Redding Shield Regatta on Saturday 3 September.






Gerard Guthrie Coxswain Senior Eights at Picton 1960-61

Reference Blog #4 featuring the Senior Star Eight at Picton, 2 January 1961 – there was the question of who was the Coxswain? I am pleased to announce we now have an answer. Full marks to Malcolm Bridge who recognised the lad as Gerard Guthrie with 50% to Warwick Armstrong whose powerful memory gave us this: “I’ve just remembered that the cox of our junior eight stroked by Warwick Dent was someone Guthrie.”

The next question is where do we find Gerard to acquaint him of the fact we are about to celebrate the Club’s Anniversary. Indeed, the Organising Committee would be grateful to learn of more Stars that we are not in touch with yet. Tony Hinkley, for example, springs to my mind. Tony’s Dad was a Star rower and official and I can recall that he was an earnest follower of Tony’s rowing around the country.

Do you think it would be an idea to take special steps to name as many as we can of these “lost persons”? If so, any ideas please as to processes we could adopt?



Perusal of Minute Books:

Last week I spent a day at the Alexander Turnbull Library casting my eyes over, in particular, Minute Books, Volumes 2, 3 and 4. covering the period 1878 – 1904. Here are some of my discoveries:

  1. The sale of 8 pairs of old sculls to the Oriental Bay Rowing Club was authorised by the Committee on 31 January 1889. I believe that this Club was the origin of today’s Oriental-Rongotai Rugby Football Club (1888).StarHonsBrds2
  2. StarHonsBrdsHonours Board 25 November 1890. The following resolution proposed by Mr  Govett and seconded by Mr Tripe was passed after some discussion viz:
    “1st That the resolution passed at the General Meeting on the 10th Oct: authorising the Committee to spend the President’s donation of £20 on the purchase of a trophy for the Senior Fours etc etc be rescinded.
    2nd That the above mentioned donation of £20 now appearing on the Club’s Books as a liability for the purchase of Club Plate be expended in erecting panels on which to place the names of winning crews.”
    On 1 June 1897 it was reported that Oak for the panels had been received from England and that erection was to be completed at once. On completion it was reported that the panels had been erected for £22, lettering £5 extra.
    This makes me feel rather uncomfortable when the panels after the 1989 move of the Boatshed were deposited in the ceiling void in a state of disrepair. I know that display space in the Boatshed for Club memorabilia, such as the Honours Board, is at a premium, but would like to think that the Club could come up with something innovative to restore some of the vast collection of photographs etc, at the very least finding a better repository off-site which would show the respect for our members of the earlier days and place value on recording the proud history of the Club. May be something digital as I have seen recently in a number of sports clubs.
  3. SBCOpening1930s In these early days the Club possessed a not inconsiderable number of whale boats used for purposes of pleasure and of course, training.. I recall a Sunday morning, 1960 I think, being berated over the telephone, after telling a lady that Whale Boats BuryingPigwe did not hire our boats. She kept coming at me that we were a Boating Club so why should we not have boats for hire. I had to hang up. This photograph on the left presented by Alan Simm who joined the Club in 1931, depicts a number of Whale Boats at an Opening Day in the Thirties. Note the ladies going aboard to get a closer look at the water events. I do love the bonnets. They would beat anything you might see at Trentham on Cup Day.
    The photograph on the Right records some Stars ceremonially”Burying the Pig” on Leper Island. I would like to know the background to this sacrilegious event!

The Minute Books contain many references to the Whaleboats. A number were built by George Norton the Club’s Custodian. More on George later. Permission to take these boats beyond the Harbour were very sparely given by the Committee. Probably the furthest journey was one approved to Pelorus. Another was granted permission but with fishing banned. I have it on oral authority that the boats were also used for training trips to Lake Ferry and back.

Of interest in the photograph to the left, is the Wellington Rowing Club flag flying on the shed, squeezed between Star Boating Club and the old Odlins building, now St John’s Bar, and formerly the Wellington Free Ambulance. Most will recall the larger existing Shed on the left of ours, which was occupied by WRC in 1931 .

  1. The Minutes show that we have been in competition with the Petone Rowing Club, both on and off the water,since the date its establishment in 1900. We have a Minute which reads: “Petone Rowing Club. The Secretary was instructed to write to the Petone Rowing Club drawing attention to the fact that the Club had adopted the Star Club colours and suggesting the desirability of having the two Club colours discussed”. The outcome was the Petone Club adopted an uniform consisting of white trousers, a white cap with red buttons, a white singlet with a broad red sash, and a boater hat with a red band. By the 1960’s the uniform had changed to gold singlets and black shorts.

An Obituary: Colin Nelson Harrington Bridge (Bugsy)

Page 1  Page 2

I had in mind long before I commenced writing these Blogs, that this guy’s passing should not go  unmentioned. Colin will be remembered by members in his time with the Club (Active Rower 1959 -1966) as an outstanding and prolific contributor to all things associated with the Star Boating Club. He possessed a personality that drew people into his world of Rowing and Rugby, the latter as a player and supporter of Oriental-Rongotai.

His Rowing Status wins include:
1959-60-Wanganui, Wellington, Picton (National): Junior Eights (2); 1963-64 – Napier, Junior Fours (str); 1964-65 – Picton: Senior Eights (4); 1965-66 – Wairau: Senior Eights (str), Senior Fours (str), Napier: Senior Eights (5).

Brothers, Trevor (1951-52) Picton: Youth Fours (3) and Malcolm (1965-66) Wairau Maiden Eights (str); Lightweight Fours (str), Wairau and Picton: Youth Fours (str) were also “Stars”* Prior to this Malcolm was one of the Club’s most effective Coxswains. Another brother, Max was also a Coxswain in the early 1960’s.

  • I use the word “Star” or as appropriate the plural “Stars” advisedly. My research has revealed that in the early days our members, particularly the winning, were referred to in this way.

What caused you to Row with Star?

I should be delighted to receive your stories about the reasons you took on Rowing with Star. In return I shall publish mine, which started basically to keep fit for Rugby through the Summer season. This however was reversed after one season on the water, with Rowing becoming my number one pursuit. There is more to it too, but I shall keep silent until I have your stories, gossip and perhaps the odd lie or two. Email them or use the comments box at the foot of the Blog. A photograph too would be splendid.

A memorable moment in my Rowing career.



Perhaps it is somewhat immodest of me, but I must get this in there among other memories of the past. This photograph was recovered for me by the Whanganui Regional Museum. It appeared on the back page of the Wanganui Herald in January 1962. The caption reads: STAR CROSS THE LINE AN EASY WINNER in the senior double sculls at the Woolworth Cup regatta on Saturday. The Star crew (Warwick Dent (str) and Bob Vine) walked in from Clifton and Union, not in the picture.”

I shall be back again next week. Cheers, Bob 

Earlier Blogs in this series may be found here:

Star Boating Club 150th Anniversary – Jack Morgan’s WWII Story

Star Boating Club and Connections with the Maadi Cup – 150th Anniversary Blog #2

Star Boating Club 150th Anniversary – Let’s meet some of our dignitaries from the past – Blog #3

Star Boating Club, 150th Anniversary – Blog#4

Star Boating Club 150th Anniversary – Blog #5



Blackballing: “The Alleged Black-Balling Combination”

Today many of the Club’s Members will not have knowledge of the practice of “Black Balling”. I am linking an extract from the Evening Post recording proceedings at the Club’s 21st Annual General Meeting which will explain. The practice was the domain of the elite clubs in the UK and it is obvious that Star from its beginnings in the Colony where elitism and privilege were set against an underclass of migrant workers would have adopted the practice.  Read More …….

Star BC Centennial Photograph and Names to be found here:



A start with Duncan Cameron’s enormous collection: ( the last two photos have been added from other collections to show some of the means of transport over the years. Going back further we have rail, steamer and Union Steamship Company ferries when we had to hump the boats down Queens Wharf to the Ferry Terminal)


From Fred Borrett’s photograph collection:

Lost names:

Names are still being sought. Please note your knowledge/guesses in the Comments box at the foot of this blog. It has become very clear that ageing creates a high level of delusion. Last week Malcolm Bridge opened the debate with:

“I’m pretty sure that’s me in the coxswain’s seat and that was a new eight we had just taken delivery of and because of the conditions swamped the boat and had to bail out. We may have broken the boat at the join.” Boof Leckie then came up with Malcolm’s brother, Max as the man/boy in the coxswain’s seat. Malcolm immediately denied this and offered this: “Definitely not Max I’m sure it’s Gerard Guthrie”. Come on guys let’s sort this out and get Boof and Malcolm back on good terms.

Contributing your thoughts by way of the Reply/Comments box might help in gaining a majority decision. You will see captions above seeking names.

Star Legends:

This is a very informal group formed by a number of former Club Members who attended the World Rowing Championships at Karapiro in 2010. We meet a few times a year for luncheon, for the goss (often invented), and sharing of tales of rather strange personal experiences, which could be called “lies”. We cordially invite all former and current Star members to join the happy group and add a bit of spice to the proceedings. Please email me at if that is your wish. This is from our last luncheon gathering at the Wharewaka a couple of weeks back. Sorry about the truncation at this end of the table. Who is the one-eyed sunnies guy?







This year the Star Boating Club, Wellington, New Zealand celebrates 150 years of rowing. Star is the eldest living sports club in Wellington, and we think the third eldest in the Country.

For this Blog, the 4th in a series covering the history, personalities, snapshots and memories of the past, I am setting up a Gallery containing contributions from current and past members and their families. The aim is to build a living repository of photographs, newspaper extracts, official regatta programmes, Club documents such as Annual Reports and anything that can be digitised for inclusion in the Gallery.

This will be a “work in progress” and as well as contributions I would be delighted to receive suggestions about how the Gallery can be constructed and maintained a bit more efficiently and effective than this my start at it. I do have some computer literacy but I am sure there are people out there who could help with ideas to create a gallery of substance to add to what is already online, but spread all over the shop. Thanks.

The Club’s Annual Reports for 1958 – 1962, 1964 and 1967 may be found here. These could be used to get long forgotten answers to questions about events in those years. Further contributions of annual reports would be greatly appreciated. While on the subject of Annual Reports, it is very interesting to note that the same format for annual reports has been used from 1867 until at least 1967. I should be grateful if someone who is in possession of this year’s report, confirm or otherwise, that the same format is current.

Senior Star Eight at Picton 2 January 1961, placed first, . Dent (str), Cameron, Armstrong, Johnson, Borrett, McMahon, Brown, McFarlane. Who is the Cox? Neville Collier?

Senior Star Eight at Picton 2 January 1961, placed first, Warwick Dent (str), Duncan Cameron, Warwick Armstrong, Johnny Johnson, Fred Borrett, Chas McMahon, Allan Brown, Peter McFarlane. Who is the Cox? Neville Collier? Photo by The Marlborough Express, provided by Johnny Johnson.

Please use the Comments box at the bottom of the Blog to answer my queries or to challenge any of my statements – if you dare!

Photographs per courtesy John Spooner:

Stan Radford and John Spooner, 2nd Championship Pairs.

Stan Radford and John Spooner, 2nd Championship Pairs.

Stan Radford & John Spooner at Picton 1964-65

Stan Radford & John Spooner at Picton 1964-65

SpoonerPairPicton64 65

Karapiro 1965-66

Karapiro 1965-66

Stan Radford and John Spooner, Winners

Stan Radford and John Spooner, Winners

Stan Radford & John Spooner, National Championships, Waihola, 1964. Second Snr Pairs.

Stan Radford & John Spooner, National Championships, Waihola, 1964. Second Snr Pairs.

Radford and Spooner, Winners, Senior Pairs.

Radford and Spooner, Winners, Senior Pairs.

Stan Radford & John Spooner, Clive, Hawkes Bay, 1964. Junior Pair No. 2.

Stan Radford & John Spooner, Clive, Hawkes Bay, 1964. Junior Pair No. 2.

R S Prince (str), J G Gibbons (7), A Radford (6), J Spooner (5), C N Bridge (4), A L Brown (2), W N Taylor (3), L J Sunde (bow). Winners.

R S Prince (str), J G Gibbons (7), A Radford (6), J Spooner (5), C N Bridge (4), A L Brown (2), W N Taylor (3), L J Sunde (bow). Winners. Apologies for the truncation Lawrence!

Olympic Trials 1964

    Olympic Trials 1964

Snippets from the Minutes:

      For the Coxswains: 20 November 1879

“Resolved that Messrs A.S. Biss, A.H. Holmes, E. Swainson, E. Randell and E.R. Stock be appointed Club coxswains and that no other boys be allowed to steer the boats so long as any one of the Club coxswains is in the shed. Club coxswains always have to have preference.”

      A little later:

“The Committee considering that of the five Club coxswains appointed Messrs Randell and Biss were the only ones who were at all deserving of  reward for good attendance resolved that tokens of the value of not more than thirty shillings each be presented to those gentlemen.”

1876: “New By-Law. The following new By-Law was made. The pleasure boats may not be used except for the purpose of taking out ladies, without the consent of the Captain or, in the Captain’s absence, of the Deputy-Captain or a member of the Committee. Members infringing the by-law shall pay a fine of 10/-“

14 May 1879 at a General Meeting, Pier Hotel: “Government House people. Proposed by Mr Brandon and seconded by Mr Taylor that the sheds and plant of the Club be placed at the disposal of the Staff and Ladies of the Governor’s household. (Carried)

1880s: “See reply to a letter received from the Secretary of the Foxton Regatta Secretary. The Secretary was directed to state that the Club could not send boats out of the City of Wellington in consequence of the danger attending their transport by such small steamers.”

Late 1870s: “Colors of the Club. It was resolved that Rule 2 be altered so far as the color (sic) of the guernsey is concerned – Such guernsey to be white with blue stripe – instead of all white as heretofore.”

30 August 1890: “Telephone. On the motion of Mr H.B. Vogel, Seconded by Mr J. G. Smith the following motion was carried: (1) That it is in the opinion of the Club necessary that the Clubhouse be connected forthwith with the Telephone Exchange, (2) That if the Committee decide to have the instrument in the Reading Room upstairs, a bell should be attached and placed downstairs.”

Special General Meeting 7 June 1893: “Presentation The Chairman on behalf of the Members of the Club presented the Captain (Mr H. Field) with a purse of sovereigns and an illuminated address in connection with his recent marriage, and in doing so referred to the great service rendered by Mr. Field to the Club. The Captain having returned thanks to the Club, three cheers were given for him and his bride.”

Also resolved at this SGM:Prizes Prizes won during the present season in Regatta Club and Swimming Races, were then presented by the Chairman, the winners of Regatta races each receiving a miniature silver oar.”

More from the Minute Books next week, together with photographs from Duncan Cameron’s and Fred Borrett’s collections. If you have same that may be of interest please send for inclusion in the Blog and eventual online collation.

Please keep the photographs, stories, whatever rolling in. Comments are also welcome via the Comment feature at the foot of the Blog page.



Early this week I spent a day at the Alexander Turnbull Library. You can imagine my surprise at a search “star boating club” bringing up 44,225 results made up of: Newspapers (43,935), Images (150), Manuscripts (89), Other (31), Groups (24), Audio (6), Books (6), Journals (5) and Music Score (3). For this mind-boggling figure we must thank the likes of the late Frank Scott and others on the Club Executive who passed on to the National Library documents held by the Club, along with Papers Past which has more than four million pages of digitised New Zealand newspapers and periodicals. The collection covers the years 1839 to 1948 and includes 132 publications from all regions of New Zealand. Papers Past as you will have seen makes up for 43,935 of my Search results.

Papers Past has my principal source of information as I find and gather material on people from the past who contributed so much in so many ways to set up and guide the Club to its successes.

This a work in progress and further will follow in later 150th Anniversary Blogs.

William Hughes (Willie) Field (Club Captain, 1891-1896)     WH Feild

A full Biography may be found on the Te Ara, Encyclopaedia website, and the following from The Wanganui Herald, 16 January 1900, describes Willie Field’s involvement with the Club:

“Mr William Hughes Field the recently elected member for Otaki , is a native of Wanganui, was educated at Wellington College, served his articles with Mr C.H. Borlase, of Wanganui, and in 1890 was admitted a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of New Zealand. He is now a member of the legal firm of Stafford, ‘I’rcadwell, and Field. Apart from the bar Mr Field is well known in athletic circles, having from his boyhood taken a great interest in all forms of manly sports. He frequently rowed in  representative crews from the  Star Boating Club, of which for years he was captain, and at the present time he is chairman of the Managing Committee of the New Zealand Amateur Rowing Association
Mr Field is a Government Supporter.”

Club Records show the following Status Regatta Wins for Mr Field:
1885-86-Nelson: Junior Fours; 1886-87-Wellington: Senior Outrigged Fours (2); 1887-88-Wanganui: Senior Inrigged Fours (2).

Henry BellSir Francis Henry Dillon Bell (President, 1898-1936 and President, New Zealand Rowing Association 1912-13).

A full Biography, to be found on the Te Ara, Encyclopaedia website, suggests that it would be “difficult to find a parallel to so many-sided a man in New Zealand public life“.

Sir Francis was Mayor of Wellington  in 1891, 1892 and 1896, appointed a KCMG in 1915, a GCMG in 1923 and a became a privy counsellor in 1926. Sir Francis was the first New Zealand-born Prime Minister of New Zealand. As the Club’s longest-serving President he did not compete competitively as a rower. An Evening Post Obituary, 13 March 1936, following his death at home at Lowry Bay in his 85th year,refers to Sir Francis as “patron and leader of sport in all its branches”.


William FitzgeraldWilliam Fitzgerald (Deputy Club Captain 1885-86; Club Captain 1886-88)

An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, 1966 records the following:

“On 16 March 1887, at the instance of William Fitzgerald of the Star Boating Club, Wellington, representatives of nine clubs established the New Zealand Amateur Rowing Association, which was formed under the patronage of Sir W. F. D. Jervois. J. O. Jones, of Christchurch, was the first president and A. G. Biss, of Wellington, was secretary. The nine clubs which formed the association were: Union Rowing Club (Christchurch) (1866); Star Boating Club (Wellington) (1867); Canterbury Rowing Club and Wanganui Rowing Club (1875); Union Boating Club (Wanganui) (1878); Napier Rowing Club (1886); Wellington Rowing Club (1885); and the Nelson and Whakatu Rowing Clubs (Nelson).

This action moved Rowing in New Zealand away from its Professional base and marked the advent of amateur rowing.

As rowing became more popular, the number of clubs affiliated to the New Zealand Amateur Rowing Association increased. The original nine became 34 in 1892 and 45 ten years later. On 4 October 1902 the association’s annual meeting approved a proposal to provide for the sport to be administered on a regional basis under a central managing body. Accordingly, on 5 January 1903, nine local provincial rowing associations were set up. These were the Auckland, Canterbury, Hawke’s Bay (now East Coast), Marlborough, Nelson, Otago, Southland, Wanganui, and Wellington Provincial Rowing Associations.”

As a result William Fitzgerald became known colloquially as “The Father of New Zealand Rowing”.

Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, 1966 also includes this:

“His own exploits as a boating man were very considerable, and for three years he was captain of the Star Boating Club. But in all these pursuits as in literature, and all else to which he devoted his healthy and cultivated mind, his aim was never to excel for his own glorification or gratification, but to lead others to excellence for their encouragement and improvement. Like all unselfish men he found an unfailing source of happiness in the happiness of his fellow creatures, and, in urging the young men of the place to seek their pleasure in physical endurance, in good company, and in friendly emulation and self-effacement for the sake of esprit de corps, he never lost sight of the superior object of building up their moral character, fortifying their intellect and developing the best qualities of their heart. He was, we believe, of noble blood, but he possessed a much better distinction in that nobility of nature whose very impulse is noblesse oblige, and which stands a man in good stead when rank and titles are as naught,” The officers and members of the Star Boating Club showed their affection for their captain and friend by erecting a handsome marble monument over his grave, by most touching reference to his life and death in their annual report, and by the creation of “The FitzGerald Trophy.”

Sadly William died, 2 June 1889, aged 35. He thus did not get to see the results of his massive contribution to the advancement of amateur rowing in New Zealand.

I will leave these personality sketches here for the time being. Others will follow. I guess though that many of you will quickly see where I am going. Our Club “stands tall” because of the sentiments underlined above, and its foundation administrators established a culture based on values that mean as much today as they did in the past – perhaps even more so.


Four and a half-gallon aluminium beer keg with wooden accoutrements, painted in Star BC colours (blue and white stripes). Last seen mid 1960’s. Of  immense sentimental value. Would the bloke who stole it for his own selfish wishes, please stand up and admit your sin. It would be most appreciated if it were to be returned filled.

Bob Vine
12 May 2016




In this Blog I follow on from Jack Morgan’s story about his Rowing opportunity on the Nile with the Cairo River Rowing Club.

The Cairo River Rowing Club hosted Kiwi oarsmen of the Second NZEF during the Second World War with regular competition between them and Maadi Camp Rowing Club. The Cairo Club allowed our oarsmen to use its facilities.

At a Regatta on the Nile, 20 November 1943, Champion Egyptian rower, Dr Youssef Baghat, donated one of his own trophies to the Maadi Camp Rowing Club, following it winning the Freyberg Cup. However the Cup was donated to the Cairo Club for future competition, and Dr Youssef Baghat’s trophy came back to New Zealand at the conclusion of the War. It was then presented to the NZARA  (now the NZRA trading as Rowing New Zealand) for the annual eight-oared competition among New Zealand Secondary Schools. The first race was held at Wanganui in 1947 and was won by Mt. Albert Grammar. More colloquially, it is the name given to the New Zealand Secondary Schools Rowing Regatta, at which the Maadi Cup is raced. The regatta is the largest school sports event in the Southern Hemisphere with, this year, 2112 pupils from 119 schools, in 1564 crews, requiring 566 races across 52 events.

The 1943 Regatta on the Nile would have been the last held in competition with The Cairo River Club. On 13 May the German and Italian troops had surrendered in North Africa and on 15 May the  New Zealand Division began to return from Tunisia to Egypt. The New Zealand Government agreed to keep 2NZEF in the Middle East and operations in Europe. Its next move was to Italy.

The Star Boating Club has a large number of historical connections with the Maadi Cup.

The first I shall record was that of Lord Bernard C. Freyberg, VC who was the winner of the Club Swimming Championship in 1908 and again in 1909 (distance 1 mile). Frank Scott in his “One Hundred Years of Rowing” produced for the Club’s Centennial celebration, wrote that “during the 1886/87 season a novelty was introduced into the programme of events for the season, by the introduction of swimming races…. “. This attracted “Tiny” Freyberg, a First World War hero and later commander of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force, to membership. One can see from this the Maadi connection which grew from his concern for his troops which was manifest in the lengths to which he went to make sure of their welfare, especially in setting up clubs.The presentation of the Freyberg Cup for rowing competition on the Nile arises from this action.

The NZEF Eight pictured above consisted of Cornish (Bow), Norton (2), McLernon (3), Thodey (4), Lawson (5), Clay (6), Andrews (7), Cooke (Str), Fearon (Cox). Of these Lawson, Thodey, Clay, Andrews and Cooke were Star Members.

Status Regatta wins for these members were as follows:
A.A. Andrews:
1936-37 – Wanganui: Open Eights (bow): 1938-39 – Picton: Senior Fours (bow),
M. Clay:
1936-37 – Wanganui: Open Eights (3),
G..C. Cooke:
 1925-26–Wairau, Picton: Youth Fours (str) : Wairau, Picton: Maiden Pairs (str).
1926-27-Picton, Wellington: Junior Pairs (str) : Christchurch: Youth Fours (str),
1927-28-Christchurch: Junior Pairs (bow); Maiden Double Sculls (str ), Junior Double Sculls (str),
1928-29-Christchurch: Senior Pairs (str) ; *Picton: New Zealand Championship Pairs (str ) ; Christchurch, Wellington: Junior Double Sculls (bow),
1929-30-Christchurch: Senior Fours (str) : Senior Pairs (str ) ,
1930-31-Picton, Wellington: Senior Fours (2); Senior Pairs (str) ,
1931-32-Wellington: Senior Fours (str ), Senior Pairs (str) ,
1932-33-Picton: Wellington: Senior Pairs (str) ; *Wanganui: New Zealand Championships Pairs (str).
1933-34-Picton, Wellington: Senior Pairs (str),
1934-35-Wellington: Senior Fours (str), Picton, Wellington: Senior Pairs (str) *Auckland: New Zealand Championship Pairs (str),
1936-37-Wanganui: Open Eights (6).
1938-39-Picton: Senior Fours (str), Wellington: Senior Pairs (str).
J.I. Thodey:
1932-33- *Wanganui: Maiden Fours (3),
1933-34- *Picton: Maiden Fours (2),
1936-37: Wanganui: Open Eights (7),
1938-39: Picton: Senior Fours (2).
A.R. Lawson:
1934-35- Christchurch, Wellington, *Auckland; Maiden Fours (3)
1935-36 – Christchurch, Junior Fours (3).
1938-39- Picton, Wellington, *Picton: Junior Fours (3)

*Denotes National Championships

I have attached an extract from the Evening Post , 16 October 1944, Page 7 which covers receipt by the Rowing Association, from the Maadi Camp Rowing Club, of the trophy which was to become the Maadi Cup. The Evening Post in this article headed “MORE ACTIVITY  ROWING IN DOMINION” also records congratulations to Lieut-Colonel J. I. Thodey on his having been awarded the DSO. Thodey had been a member of the Rowing Council when he enlisted at the outbreak of war.

This article also names the oarsmen who represented the Maadi Camp Rowing Club at the 20 November 1943 Regatta and won outright the Cup presented by Youseff Bahgat. These included Burge (Star), Coates (Star), Dawson (Star) and Pert (Star).

Sadly the legendary George Cooke had died 23rd May 1941 from wounds sustained during the fighting in Crete – aged 34 years, and was not able to extend his already enormous success rate on the water at this Regatta. I should interpolate here that George had a brother, who also rowed with Star. This was J.I. (John) Cooke who I knew through Lawn Bowls where he was Secretary of the Hutt Bowling Club 1970 -80. John was of slight build and had a New Zealand National Championship win 1930-31, Maiden Lightweight Fours (bow).

Status Regatta wins back in New Zealand for the 1943 Maadi Camp Representatives were as follows:
A L Burge: 1936-37 – Picton, Christchurch, *Akaroa: Maiden Lightweight Fours (bow)
A J C Coates: 1938-39 – Picton: Maiden Lightweight Fours (3) and 1940-41 Picton:Maiden Double Sculls (str): Picton: Maiden Fours (2).
E.V. Dawson: 1938-39 – Napier, Wanganui, Wellington, *Picton: Junior Welterweight Fours (bow).
C.F. Pert: 1938-39 – Picton, Napier: Maiden Lightweight Fours (str).

Note that the centre photograph above records E.V. Dawson being presented the Maadi Cup by the Wife of the President of the Cairo River Club, with Brigadier Burrows on right. This must have been Dr Yoossef Baghat’s trophy which was yet to become the Maadi Cup.

The Club’s stored memorabilia also has documents initiated by A.R. (Dick) Burge as Hon. Secretary of the N.Z.E.F. Rowing Club. Click here to view. These  documents relate to the Match with the Cairo River Club, 2 June 1940.

Well that is it from me for this week. Next week I shall be continuing the War theme and involvement by the Club in and from the Land Wars, a possible invasion by Russia and World War I.


© 2011 Bob Vine New Zealand Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha
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