YYRC, established in 1872, has a proud tradition of being run solely by volunteers. We aim to develop members rowing abilities and uphold a strong position in the rowing community through competition.
Versatility is our strength. Our program structure is capable of developing rowers to competition standard, has the ability to immediately integrate existing rowers new to the club and is able to train a complete beginner to bring them to a racing level.
Our focus is to race throughout the year across most events and regattas within Victoria. We currently have a larger percentage of our members competing at Masters Level. Our focus is ultimately being successful at State Championships.
Our rowing program is designed to support and enhance this focus by providing members with suitable boats, equipment and other resources necessary to achieve these results. We currently hold The Victorian Premierships for Masters and our wins at State Championships are testimony to the success of our program.
We also have a very strong social culture at Yarra Yarra. While expectations to train hard are high, we also expect members to unwind and enjoy a chat and a beverage at the many opportunities that arise over the year. BBQs and other social gatherings are an important piece of club tradition and a willingness to participate is crucial for members to fully enjoy our club.
Members must also be willing to embrace the volunteer culture at the club. Many important roles are necessary for the club to function and none of which are paid. From squad coordinating and helping at Beginner Programs, to maintaining the fleet and filling committee positions, there is something suitable for everyones skill, experience and commitment.
Yarra Yarra Rowing Club provides a welcoming and friendly environment. We run diverse rowing programs which support a broad membership base and fosters a strong club spirit. Yarra Yarra is a strong, self-governing, not for profit organisation. Yarra Yarra provides open and fair access to all who wish to participate in the sport of rowing.
Yarra Yarra programs provide development opportunities through the range of competitive and non-competitive participation. Through this Yarra Yarra promotes rowing, contributes to the sport and is an active participant in the rowing community. The flexibility of our rowing programs allows us to cater to the needs and ambitions of our membership and the changing needs of the rowing community.
To arrange an orientation meeting please contact the YYRC captain via the website contacts.
Yarra Yarra Rowing Club offers various types of membership.
- Competitive Masters Rowing: Masters rowing is for rowers that have reached 27 years of age. It offers competitive racing based on the average age of crews in each race being within recognised age bands. Yarra Yarra has active masters rowers and enjoys success at state and national masters championships, and at international events.
- Competitive Grade A to D: the Club offers coaching in squads to members who wish to compete in the Rowing Victoria regatta program. This includes masters rowing (aged 27 years and older) and juniors (usually 19 years or younger).
We train and love our coxswains. They participate to the rowing programs and get the same satisfaction from winning as the rowers do, but without the sweat!
Social Membership is a great way to stay in touch with the Club. You can join in all social activities that the club has to offer as well as being on the mailing list.
Membership Information and Nomination Forms are available in the downloads area of this website.
Come down and give rowing a try in a fun, social, and fit environment.
Yarra Yarra Rowing Club runs the popular Adult Learn to Row program, designed for people never been for a row and are looking for a fun sport and social way to keep fit.
The Learn to row courses runs out of the rowing shed in the heart of the city and happens after work and on the weekend.
Summary of the course outline is below and feel free to drop a line to the enthusiastic New Rowers Program Manager (Glenn Millican) via the website contacts.
Learn to Row Application Form is available in the Downloads area of this website.
Introduction to Rowing
Designed for first time rowers Courses are $27.50 per lesson for six lessons, running Sunday mornings and Tuesday nights.
Learn about the four stages of the stroke, rowing technique, boat handling and rigging, marine safety and laws, and also a bit about fun and fitness.
Each sessions starts on the rowing machines to learn the stroke, before we head out on the water in a quad.
In each lesson we’ll also learn/revise the boat handling, rigging and terminology, marine laws (right of way, where to turn), and importantly just getting out and have fun on the water!
Sunday Morning Session
10:00 to 10:10 Welcome and Introduction.
10:10 to 10:30 Shed tour, boat terminology, equipment and the landing, Marine Safety and River Etiquette.
10.30-11.00 Rowing Technique, Instruction on rowing (ergo) machines, rowing in a team.
11.00 – 12.30 Rowing on the Yarra.
12.30– 1.00 Cleaning the boats / Stretching / Session coaching debrief.
Tuesday Night Session
6.00 – 6.20 Warm up on rowing machines, review technique and marine safety.
6.20 – 7.30 Rowing on the Yarra.
7.30 – 8.00 Cleaning the boats/ stretching/ Session coaching debrief.
1. Arrange an orientation meeting with The Captain or Vice Captain to discuss your rowing history and learn about the club’s facilities, programs and costs. If approved by The Captain or Vice Captain, go out for one or two trial rows under supervision. Depending on your experience, you may be directed to undertake the Introduction to Rowing course prior to applying for membership.
2. Following orientation, indicate to The Captain or Vice Captain that you would like approval to go ahead with a membership application.
3. With The Captain or Vice Captain approval to proceed, download the membership application form and information sheet from the Club’s website. Complete the details, and bring to the club to get signed by the Captain or Vice Captain and a committee member. Place the signed form in the Club letterbox addressed to the Membership Secretary.
4. Pay the $100 membership nomination fee by using the YYRC Online Shop. Once payment is made you may commence rowing in crew boats under the direction of the ‘on water’ group leaders.
5. Your Nomination for Membership will be posted on the “Members Forum” for 21 days, after which the Committee at its next general meeting will consider the application.
6. You will receive an email from The Membership Secretary as to the outcome of your nomination. If approved you will need to pay the balance of your membership fee. This will be payable upon receipt by the Treasurer. Once the amount is paid you will be included on the register of members and be eligible to use the club’s equipment, in adherence w with the club’s boat allocation policy and Club Constitution.
The single scull, suspended from the ceiling, was purchased by Jim Skidmore in October 1961, from Sargent & Burton boat builders in Sydney, for $448.37 (including packaging and transport to Sydney airport) plus air freight of $9.02 to Essendon airport (total: $457.39).
Jim's achievements over the years in this boat were as follows:
1962: Winter Sculling series - 5 mile fastest time
13/10/1962: 2½ mile Championship, Lower Yarra (from the mouth of the Maribyrnong river to just below Spencer Street bridge) - 1st place
29/12/1962: Yarrawonga regatta - Senior sculls 1st place
1/1/1963: Rutherglen regatta - Senior sculls 1st place
1963: Winter Sculling series - ¼ mile dash 1st place
1964: Winter Sculling series - 5 mile fastest time
25/1/1965: Albert Park regatta - Senior sculls 1st place
6/3/1965: Barwon regatta - Senior sculls 1st place
27/3/1965: Scotch Mercantile regatta - Senior sculls 1st place
1966: Winter Sculling series - 5 mile scratch and fastest time
1976: Winter Sculling series - Herald Shield; Equal winner of series
1979: Winter Sculling series - 5 mile handicap. Boat collision (It doesn't pay to run head-on into an eight coached by Lachie McPherson at new cut corner!). Jim required 24 stitches to his backside (the meaty part, luckily). Hence the cartoon by a friend of club member Dick Barnes. Restoring the boat to racing condition took a lot of work, with the help of several club members. The keel and riggers were the only parts not damaged.
1987: Round Island 8000m - 1st place
The boat was privately owned and only used by Jim Skidmore over the years, until it was presented to YYRC for permanent display in the new boathouse in 2005.
Perhaps the most striking feature of the YYRC boathouse is the two beautiful old wooden boats suspended from the ceiling upstairs. If you've ever wondered where they came from, here's the story of "Bottles", the double scull...
On a trip to Perth to watch the 1962 Commonwealth Games rowing, two YYRC members, Jim Skidmore and Allan Rice, decided to try out for the 1964 Olympics. Yarra Yarra didn't own a double scull, so they ordered one from Sydney boat builders Sargent & Burton.
Excerpt from the Weekly Times, winter 1963:
Double sculling has become very popular in Victoria. There will be several new craft on the Yarra during the coming season. Most have been built in Sydney. Double sculling has not previously received the same support in Victoria as in NSW, where it is especially popular. Jim Skidmore and Allan Rice, prominent Victorian scullers from Yarra Yarra club, will soon have a new craft. They intend to compete at the National Regatta to be held probably on the lake at Canberra. This may be the 1964 Olympic Test race. They could develop into a top-class double sculls crew with a good chance of winning the last event. The crew that wins at Canberra will have the best chance of going to Tokyo.
Twelve months later, the new boat arrived, air freighted from Sydney to Essendon Airport in November 1963. The total cost of boat and freight was $656.45. The boat was named "Bottles", due to a saying at the time: "It's the best thing since they put beer in bottles". Jim and Allan thought it was the best type of rowing they had encountered. The hull is two-ply cedar plywood. The girder-type riggers were designed in Sydney so as not to break a wave when sculling in rough water, hence less water in the boat when racing. It has never been rigged as a coxless pair; as the shoulders have not been strengthened to avoid twisting from uneven tension each side of the boat.
Finding a coach was a problem, as nobody in Victoria knew anything about this type of boat, and nobody wanted to help. So, with the aid of Peter Gill and his 8 mm movie camera, plus details from a book or two on training, the task commenced.
Jim and Allan won the double scull event at Australian Henley, 29/2/1964, representing the first win for a Victorian crew in many years. They also won at the Scotch and Mercantile regatta, 21/3/1964, being the only regatta on the Victorian regatta program to put on events for this type of boat.
At the second Australian National Regatta in Canberra, 2/5/1964, Jim and Allan came second at by a margin of just 0.3 s. The winner of that race went on to represent Australia at the Tokyo Olympics. At the third national regatta in Ballarat, 30/4/1966, "Bottles" came third. The boat has done a lot of Kilometers in training, but very few in races.
When the rowers of Yarra Yarra Rowing Club hear the clamour of Riverland's patrons, it usually means the hard work is done and they're about to turn around and head back to the landing stage. Anyone who rows on the Yarra will know the Riverland bar and café, even if they have yet to buy a drink or a gourmet sausage there. It sits nestled against the north end of Princes Bridge, with its wooden-decked beer garden leading down to the water's edge. No surprise, then, that so many of us regularly troop over Riverland as soon as we're off the water, for a hard-earned cold beer. In late 2008, though, YYRC gained another reason to be grateful to Riverland: The bar donated $18,000 to the Club to buy a new women's eight.
The team that runs Riverland - Richard Ludbrook, Minh Nguyen and Dave Sharry - value the relationship between their waterfront bar and the rowers on the river: "It's one of the few things that surrounds us here", Richard explains. "We don't see trams and cars going past down here, but we do see rowing boats… It's part of our landscape". Richard doesn't think of Federation Square and Boathouse Drive as "this side of the river and that side", but rather a single community centred on the river, with rowing a quintessential part of the "identity of the area".
Riverland donates to charities each year, but in 2008 the team specifically wanted to give something to this Yarra community and to the rowers who provide so much entertainment to the bar's patrons. "There's a lot of interaction between the drinkers and the rowers", says Richard. "Whenever anyone crashes into the bridge, there are always people here cheering and shouting". The rowers are even a selling point on the Riverland website, which invites customers to "enjoy the rowing boats that replace the cars and the shade of 80-year-old trees that replace the towering city office blocks."
So why Yarra Yarra, out of all the rowing clubs that face Riverland from across the water? Richard already knew Carol Cooke (YYRC's marketing manager at the time) via her husband, so when Carol rang him up saying her rowing club had found a second hand boat for sale and asked if he'd like to contribute, he jumped at the chance. Carol and the 2008 Women's Squad coaches (Stuart McShane and Stuart Poole) had already established a way for money to be donated to the Australian Sports Foundation, so that the donation could be appropriately tax deductible and the donor could specify where the money was to go and how it would be spent.
YYRC is immensely grateful to Richard, Minh and Dave for this beautiful boat.
Article From Argus Newspaper 1929
“Last Saturday was a red letter day for the Yarra Yarra club, and there was a good attendance at the river to see the new boat house opened. The opening ceremony was associated with the club’s annual combination race, the Connell Eights, which 18 crews entered. The trophies for the race were cups presented by the club’s patron, Mr J.H. Connell, and were greatly admired by those present, in fact it was the general opinion that they were the finest trophies yet given for a combination race. During the afternoon Mrs G.I. Stevenson and Mrs. D. Bailey christened the boats of the new fleet, those being named being the H. Clark and D. Bailey (practice pairs), G.I. Stevenson (practice eight), J. McDonald and C.E. Kellett (practice fours) and A.H. Enticott (racing four).
The club also has two new practice sculling boats, whilst a racing eight (the gift of Mr J.H. Connell) and a racing pair are nearing completion by the builders. It was regretted that the president, Mr A.H. Enticott, was prevented by illness from being present. Amongst those who attended were three members of the club’s famous champion eight of thirty years ago, Messrs J. McDonald, E. Horsburgh and C.W. Horsburgh, but the oldest member present was probably Mr J.S. Gunn, who still carries a medal for a race which he won with Yarra Yarra 48 years ago. Mr Gunn evidently has felt no serious effects from his participation in the sport, as he is still and active man. Others present included Messrs G.I. Stevenson, who has done great work for the club in connection with the new building C.E. Kellett, A.N. Towart, L.P. Hughes, W. Williams, N. McLeod and H.G.R. Johnson.
The new boat house is a fine building, and is an acquisition to the head quarters of rowing in the State. It is particularly roomy, and has plenty of accommodation for boats, whilst 150 members could be accommodated without the slightest inconvenience. Three showers are provided adjoining the dressing room, and a feature of the building is excellent natural lighting both in the dressing room and in the boat section. In the evening a smoke social was held at which there was a big attendance, including a representative gathering of oarsmen. In responding to the toast of the kindred clubs, Mr E. Kenny pointed out that probably no club in Australia has started out under such ideal conditions as Yarra Yarra now possess. Everything was new and right up to date.
In the early days clubs were housed in hired rooms in the boat builders’ premises, and most of their boats were hired. There was not a club in the State which did not have some indifferent boats amongst its fleet, but with Yarra Yarra every boat was absolutely new and up to date, so that it only rested with the members to show the same enthusiasm as those who had provided these facilities for the club to soon regain its former high place in Victorian rowing. It is hoped that there will be a steady flow of new members into the club, and that before the 1929-30 season passes Yarra Yarra will have recorded several regatta wins.
The racing for the Connell trophies was good, and several finishes were close. The winning crew rowed a dead heat in the first round, and in the row-off had only two feet to spare. The steering showed a big improvement on that of the previous Saturday in the Safe Eights, and it is to be hoped that the clubs in future will see that only qualified boys are permitted to steer in this class of racing. The final was won by P. McLennan (Albert Park), A. Simmons (Albert Park), S.W. Morris (South Hawthorn), J. McCullagh (South Melbourne), A. Parr (South Hawthorn), J.E. Campbell (Mercantile), L. Nilsen (South Melbourne), V. Barker-Hayes (Hawthorn), stroke, who defeated crews stroked by H. LaRoche (Essendon) and J. McGrath (Footscray).”
Hundreds of other news articles mentioning YYRC can be found on the National Library of Australia’s newspaper search page.