Youth Fours & Eights: National Championship Winners 1963

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