History snippets

Murray River Marathon (Massive Murray Paddle) 50 years old this year! Snippet 21

Since the first Murray Marathon was run in 1969 FCC members have been regular participants – either as individuals, relay teams or land crews.

As part of the History project, members Kel and Joan McMeeken (Murray marathon 1980) presented us with a copy of “The story of the first Murray River canoe marathon 1969” written by the instigator of the race, Mark Thornthwaite. It turns out the Kel’s mother Hope McMeeken was the original Red Cross contact for Mark and together they were responsible for establishing the MM as a major Red Cross fund raising event.

“AGM reflections from 99 years ago”. Snippet 20

Having attended the AGM this week, I thought that it may be of interest to see the first recorded Annual Report. This is a handwritten, illegible in parts, record of our first season of racing and much more!

Read and enjoy. I wonder what has become of the trophies?

First Annual Report transcribed from a FCC Minutes Book.

FCC hit the international press in 1924 - Snippet 19

Copies of the sports journal “Water Sports” were found in a collection of papers kept by Arthur Howard. The excerpts below  reveal an interesting exchange between the Journal Editor and our Club secretary which finally gives a sense of the important role FCC played in the early days of paddling in Melbourne, and perhaps Australia. Our research demonstrates that our secretary created quite a profile in both the local newspapers of the day as well as, it appears, overseas too.

 “CANOES THE WORLD OVER  Jan 1924 edition

Courtship on the Yarra - Snippet 18

We recently were made aware of a personal reflection by Jessie Howard that paints a very different era of courtship on our stretch of the Yarra and beyond, in the early years of the Club. Jessie and her husband Arthur were members of Rudder Grange, a Boat House that used to sit at the river end of Alphington Street at this time, but later joined FCC when Rudder Grange ceased operation.

Read on, as it’s clear that their group’s activities were commonplace on the weekends in the days before television and discos. As Jessie described:

FCC History at 30 Years (update) - History Snippet 17

The FCC Centenary History Group recently received a wonderful collection from the estate of Arthur Howard. Arthur is viewed by many as ‘The unofficial Historian of Canoeing in Victoria’, through both his writings and collected photographs. Many of our collection of FCC photos were taken by Arthur in the 1930’s. It is of note that it is his and his wife Jess's home on the corner of Alphington Street & The Esplanade that is presently being demolished.

“Toilet Tales ….(or is it tails?)” - History Snippet 16

Looking at the Minutes recorded for Committee meetings we discover that in 1954 “all requirements for Gents convenience be obtained and all broken windows be fixed”. No mention of facilities for women club members. .  By June 56, “the Girl’s Room and toilet has been repaired & painted, a wash basin has also been bought” and “the Men’s Room will be lined with plaster sheets”.