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More than sport

Major grant a life saver for the WA Rowing Club

Peta Rule

The following is a press statement issued by the WA Rowing Club today, Tuesday October 15:

  • WA’s oldest rowing club to receive much-needed funding boost
  • $57,828 grant will be used to replace a rowing boat launch deck
  • Rowing will now be able to continue in Perth’s central business district

The State Government’s 2014-15 Heritage Grants Program has given WA’s oldest rowing club a last-minute reprieve from closure.

West Australian Rowing Club Vice President, Jessica Donnelly, said today the 146-year-old sporting institution had been granted $57,828 for a new project to replace the Club’s aging rowing boat launch deck, which had reached the end of its useful life.

“I can say without a shadow of a doubt, without this grant the WA Rowing Club would be at risk of closure as the deck has become increasingly hazardous to our athletes,” Miss Donnelly said.

“The deck was last replaced during a major refurbishment in 1990s and it has been repaired many times due to high tides and rough storms. This year, however, it has deteriorated more rapidly due to age and our athletes are at risk every time they launch a boat.”

The Club has already started planning and fundraising for the new deck, which will include a design that will allow swimmers to easily enter the water from it.

“The rowing deck is also the starting point for the annual BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series open water swim, so it is important to us that it not only caters for our rowers, but also for other users such as swimmers and triathletes,” Miss Donnelly said.

The WA Rowing Club was founded in 1868 and the current clubhouse was built in 1905. The Club for current Australian representative Hannah Vermeersch.

Life Member Clem Williams said  the building, which was designed by member Felix Whitwell at the turn of the 19th century, had been an important part of the Perth landscape for generations.

“Many West Australians would be familiar with this club, even if they don’t know the name of it. Perhaps they’ve celebrated weddings or a birthday, or participated in the annual Lord Mayor’s Cup regatta,” Mr Williams said.

“It has been here on Perth’s foreshore for almost 150 years so has certainly stood the test of time. The building itself was condemned during the 1960s and again in the 1990s, yet both times was painstakingly renovated by volunteers, most of whom were club members. This project will be no different, with club members planning to put in a great deal of the elbow grease needed to get this new deck completed.”


  • The West Australian Rowing Club hosts the only rowing regatta in Perth’s central business district, the Lord Mayor’s Cup in February each year
  • The club’s oldest member, Alan Salisbury, 81, last week won a gold medal at the World Rowing Masters Regatta in Ballarat
  • On October 19, the Club will be participating in Perth Heritage Days from 10am to 4pm
  • For  pictures, a full history of the club or for the next Learn to Row course dates, visit

For interviews or media opportunities, please call Peta Rule, 0428 923 661