Don keen on club Bunbury rowing club centenary

David BaileySouth Western Times
A proud Don Wass stands near the double the scull named after him and permanently on display in the entrance and stairwell at the Bunbury Rowing Club. Wass began rowing more than 70 years ago and has been an inspiration to generations of sportsmen and women from the Bunbury region.
Camera IconA proud Don Wass stands near the double the scull named after him and permanently on display in the entrance and stairwell at the Bunbury Rowing Club. Wass began rowing more than 70 years ago and has been an inspiration to generations of sportsmen and women from the Bunbury region. Credit: David Bailey/David Bailey

Don Wass remembers being hoisted on to his father’s shoulders as hundreds of excited onlookers lining the shore cheered the State King’s Cup eights rowing crew as they glided across the Leschenault Inlet in Bunbury.

The year was 1935. Mr Wass was five years old.

“I remember it so well, it was so exciting. Len Teede from Bunbury was in the crew. It was the beginning of my love for rowing,” the 90-year-old said.

It was an attraction that would see the talented all-round sportsman become a champion rower, having a distinguished career on the water.

Highlights of which were being part of a winning Bunbury Rowing Club maiden eights team at the Royal Hobart Regatta in 1953 and 10 years later being the coach of a team that rowed at the same competition before the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.

Mr Wass would become a local star, representing Bunbury on the water and serving in many roles at the club for more than 40 years.

Don Wass, second from the right, with fellow crew members in 1953. Wass and his teammates rowed for Bunbury at the Royal Hobart Regatta and were successful in winning the maiden eights.
Camera IconDon Wass, second from the right, with fellow crew members in 1953. Wass and his teammates rowed for Bunbury at the Royal Hobart Regatta and were successful in winning the maiden eights. Credit: Supplied

He visited the club this week to reminisce and share memories.

This is something Bunbury Rowing Club is hoping the public can do for the club as it reaches an important milestone this year, turning 100 years old.

Club patron Peter Nowland, who also has served many decades in many roles at the club, has put out a call to the public to share any memorabilia or important pictures and stories with the club.

“We are having a number of events throughout the year and producing a book telling the story of the club and honouring the wonderful sportsmen and women who have represented Bunbury over the years,” he said.

I believe the club has been a hub — a community focus for the City of Bunbury for more than a century and we want to celebrate that.

Peter Nowland

Anyone with any information, memorabilia, photos and stories that would help the club produce a book on their history should contact 0427 228 798 or email coordinator@bunburyrowingclub.com.

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