150th Anniversary – Some Research

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the Committee to spend the President’s donation of £20 on the purchase of a trophy for the Senior Fours etc etc be rescinded.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)

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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 bvine697@gmail.com 


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