Rowing a timeless hobby for Bundy ladies

PADDLE POWER: Jenny Sauer, Geraldine Bauer, Di Royan and Rhonda Smith remember their days on the water in the 1960s.
PADDLE POWER: Jenny Sauer, Geraldine Bauer, Di Royan and Rhonda Smith remember their days on the water in the 1960s. Mike Knott BUN121016ROWING1

THE 5.30am starts, male competition and physical exertion did little to deter one group of women from rowing to their hearts content in the 60s.

It was a passion for sport and the chance to socialise that brought Jenny Sauer, Geraldine Bauer, Di Royan and Rhonda Smith together many decades ago at the Bundaberg Rowing Club.

Recently, the group got together again to reminisce on the good times they shared out on the water.

"I joined in 1965," Jenny said.

"My sister and I lived down the road and we started at about 5.30am in the morning with curlers in our hair because we all had to go to work afterwards.

Di said friendship had been the highlight.

"We had quite a lot of fun. It was great camaraderie and we had a lot of laughs."


1967: Dianne Royan, Arlene Emerick, Greg Sauer, Rhonda Smith and Jenny Sauer at the Australian Championships in Sydney. Photo Contributed
1967: Dianne Royan, Arlene Emerick, Greg Sauer, Rhonda Smith and Jenny Sauer at the Australian Championships in Sydney. Photo Contributed Contributed

Rhonda said the group started as beginner rowers before making their way to weekend races and competitions locally and statewide.

"When we started rowing we were in a tub for beginners. There were two people in the tub and it was the hardest row ever," she said.

"We used to have races on a Sunday and it was really good to get in with the other rowers."

The group also saw the changing times during their rowing experience, when women became part of the male teams.

"Another wonderful thing in the club was, in that era they allowed women to row in the eight oar boat, which was never allowed before," Jenny said.

"At first I felt a bit intimidated because there were six men and two girls but I got over that quickly because we rode just as well as they did."

Years later, the four women said rowing had left them with happy memories and urged anyone interested to give it a try.

"I think it is a fantastic feeling when you are rowing, you become absorbed with the love of going down the Burnett River," Jenny said.

"It's the brains; the technique. You have to really concentrate on what you are doing."

"The experience was great. It's healthy and relatively easy and being part of a group is amazing fun," Geraldine said.

Bundaberg Rowing Club members have represented Queensland since the 1920s.

Club members range from 12-80 years of age.

Topics:  bundaberg rowing club burnett river general-seniors-news outandabout rowing

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