A Champion Course: The Parramatta River

A Champion Course:  The Parramatta River

Thanks to the prowess of the New South Wales scullers, the Parramatta River course is celebrated all over the world;  and is justly entitled to be called the champion course from the number of races not only for the championship of the colony, but of the world, which have been contested over this run of water.  The Parramatta is not as much a river as an arm of Sydney Harbour;  and it is justly celebrated for the charming views afforded by its bays and reaches.  The course is from Charity Point, on the left bank of the river, past Ryde and Gladesville on that side, and the municipalities of Concord, Ashfield and Five Dock on the right side, to the Brothers, a point jutting out into the river just below Hunter’s Hill . . .

. . . The first great race recorded over this course was between Richard A.W. Green and T. McGrath, for £200 and the championship of New South Wales, which was won in 1859 by the first named in 26.5 minutes . . .

Edward Trickett

. . . Edward Trickett, who, after beating all comers on the Parramatta River course, went to England and in 1875 beat J.H. Sadler over the championship course from Putney to Mortlake, on the Thames River, and for the first time brought back the championship of the world.

From this time the Parramatta River has been brought more prominently before the world as a championship course than ever the Thames.  In 1885 a regular carnival was held on the river, when the ex-champion of the world, William Beach, met and conquered the Canadian champion, the redoubtable Edward Hanlan, for the first time.  Since then the championship of the world has not gone from Australia;  and, although an attempt has been made to change the champion course from the Parramatta to the Nepean River, it does not appear to have been very successful, notwithstanding that there is a sufficient length of straight river admirably adapted for the purpose on the Nepean.

William Beach has proved his superiority as a sculler over the Canadian on both courses and today (Saturday) a struggle takes place between Kemp (the Australian representative) and Hanlan (the Canadian) for the championship of the world over the old course of the Parramatta River, which is becoming historical.

Excerpt from a Sydney Morning Herald article dated 5 May 1888 (Trove).

(Note:  Between 1876 and 1907 Australia dominated professional sculling for 22 of those 31 years and produced seven of the nine world champions.)

Our current display on Edward Trickett and the Parramatta River will be on display until mid-December.

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City of Canada Bay Heritage Society

PO Box 152,
Concord NSW 2137
02 9744-8528

City of Canada Bay Museum

1 Bent Street,
Concord NSW 2137
02 9743-3034 (during museum hours)

Museum Hours
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10:00am – 4:00pm
Other times by arrangement

To enquire about the use of the Yaralla grounds for photography or any other use, use this link to the Sydney Local Health District Yaralla Estate website.