Letters

Rowers from St Joseph’s College in Sydney loved attending and competing in the Grafton Rowing Club 2021 Regatta earlier this month. Image: contributed

St Joseph’s College visit to Grafton in 2021

Ed,

The impact of Covid-19 on school sporting events has been an inconvenience for rowing squads such as ours.

From a rower’s perspective, the loss of valuable training and team building opportunities has been sadly missed.

In the last two years, every one of our planned rowing camps had to be cancelled or held locally, so we waited with great anticipation for our trip to Grafton.

There was still a small chance that this would be cancelled due to the more recent Covid-19 outbreaks in Sydney, but it was with great relief that we boarded our flight to Grafton on December 3.

St Joseph’s College (Joeys) is situated in Hunter’s Hill in Sydney, with our boatshed just down the road on Tarban Creek.

The rowing club was formed in 1907 as part of the celebrations for the first 25 years of the college, at the request of one of the students to the headmaster of the day.

The club remains an affiliated member of the NSW Rowing Association all these years later.

Joeys has had a long association with rowing in Grafton, dating back to 1971 when the senior rowers toured to Grafton for their January camp.

Their feats were written up in the local paper with the article highlighting the long row endured by the two VIIIs to Rogan’s Bridge against the current.

The effort must have been worth it as this crew won the Head of the River later that year.

There have been a few subsequent trips to the Head of the Clarence and Grafton Regattas in the early 2000s and more recently in 2018.

This year’s trip involved 24 rowers and coxswains, 33 rowing boats and four coaching boats.

We have been staying at the Big River Holiday Park at Seelands and been made very welcome by Lauren and Mel and their staff.

The facilities have been outstanding and the position 12 kilometres upstream from Grafton has given us access to outstanding rowing conditions all week.

The wet weather has not dampened our spirits; indeed, it has provided us with cool rowing conditions and less sunburn.

Although the Head of the Clarence Regatta was cancelled, the Grafton Rowing Club made us feel most welcome at their regatta on December 5.

The conditions were not favourable, however they provided challenging conditions for all our crews, improving their skills, and giving them their first taste of racing this season, due to the cancelation of all previous regattas.

We trust that we can return next year and that the Head of the Clarence will be once again a part of the rowing calendar and attract the usual numbers of competitors from both NSW and Queensland.

Charlie Rowe

Head of Rowing

Saint Joseph’s College

Hunter’s Hill

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