History of Centenary Rowing Club

Centenary Rowing Club is one of the largest rowing clubs in Queensland. Our rowers train most afternoons of the week, most weekday mornings and on the weekend. This well-constructed, active after-school and leisure time activity encourages involvement, enthusiasm, passion and commitment.

The Centenary Rowing Club (CRC) was founded in 2001 by Mr Russell Pool and Mr Peter Cook as part of Centenary Canoe and Rowing Club (CCRC). This club ran its operations from the back of the Jindalee Scout Hall and held meetings at the Mt Ommaney Library or members' houses. There was only one rowing boat, a tub pair, stored under black plastic in the grass, that was used on occasion when members wished to go for a social row. The canoe side of the club was by far the dominant part of the club, building canoes, playing canoe polo and having social canoe trips.

In 2003 former Olympian Simon Newcomb became involved with the club. He believed that the Centenary Canoe and Rowing Club should commence a Youth Rowing program. Soon after, with the belief that it was the only program of its type existing in Australia, the club launched its Youth Rowing Program. A dedicated group of the club's first coaches (Orion Joyce, Anthony Shortis, Craig Waddell, Wei-Loong Chen, Michael Opstelten and John Cox), aimed to increase the quality of coaching within the club, and became accredited coaches under the National Coaching Accreditation Scheme. With the club's sole rowing boat initially being a Tub Pair, Centenary urgently needed more boats, so the search for old unused rowing boats commenced. Over the next four years, 48 old boats were sourced and re-built to use as part of the Youth Rowing Program.

On 24 October 2004, the first Centenary Canoe and Rowing Club regatta was held, though there was a last minute venue change, and a very successful regatta was held at the eastern end of Mount Ommaney Drive, Jindalee.

In 2006 the Centenary Canoe and Rowing Club separated to become two clubs, the Centenary Canoe Club and the Centenary Rowing Club. This was so each side of the club could focus on its particular sport and manage themselves independently. Both clubs still maintain a close working partnership.

At the 2008 National Championships, Centenary Rowing Club won its first medals (two bronze) and in 2009 Centenary had its first National title holder - Chloe Hill in the U17 double scull. At the 2008 Queensland "All Schools' Titles" held at Rockhampton, we had fifty young rowers coached by the Club and representing their individual schools. Of these fifty rowers, 82% of them advanced through the heats, semi-finals and into the finals. This resulted in 10 gold medals, 5 silver and 2 bronze.

The Queensland Floods of January 2011 devastated the Centenary Rowing Club more than just about any other rowing club. If we'd had our second storey constructed it would have still gone over the roof, and would have gone half way up a third level. The floodwaters destroyed our pontoon, carpark and upturned our path down to the pontoon, and filled the building itself with several feet of silt and mud. Although we managed to save the majority of our equipment, we still lost boats, oars, shelving and other gear.

When the floodwaters began to recede people came from far and wide to help clear the mud from the roof, dig the mud and silt out from the inside of the club and to hose down the roller doors. Tractors, front end loaders, bobcats, excavators, dump trucks, semi-trailers, graders and bulldozers poured in. Thanks to the enormous efforts of a dedicated group of volunteers (special mention must go to Anthony Shortis & Orion Joyce, who were keen to disprove those who said the club would have to fold), Centenary Rowing Club once again resembled a rowing club. Before long, the grounds had been reshaped, the mud had been cleared away, and the boats were able to return to the shed. Soon after that, rowing operations restarted, albeit in a limited capacity due to the poor water quality and the lack of river access.

Unfortunately, history repeated intself with the floods of March 2022 but CRC now consider that mud is part of our DNA!  Once again, we were aided by club members past and present;  local businesses; and wonderful members of our local community who just showed up to help despite having no connection to the club. We cleaned up yet again and still managed to send our largest ever team of rowers to the 2022 Australian National Rowing Championships in Nagambie, just a few weeks later.  This event had also been affected by flooding and had had a last minute change of venue. Our post-flood recovery is still ongoing, and our shed and pontoon will be reinstated during 2023. We are very grateful recipients of grants from Brisbane City Council and the State Government; and RACQ, to aid us in this endeavour.

Centenary Rowing Club's longer term future plans include the completion the Centenary Rowing Club Complex with an extra bay to be added to our shed to accommodate our increasing membership.

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