CLASS OF ’64: Grafton High School 50th Anniversary rowers Pat Katzikiris, Shirley Williams, Anne Carless and Leonie Coper with original coach Jacky McDonald (nee Bonner). PHOTO: ROB WRIGHT
CLASS OF ’64: Grafton High School 50th Anniversary rowers Pat Katzikiris, Shirley Williams, Anne Carless and Leonie Coper with original coach Jacky McDonald (nee Bonner). PHOTO: ROB WRIGHT

Crew reunites for first row in 50 years

THERE were some shaky moments, but no capsizes to speak of when Grafton High School's 1964 rowing team reunited on the Clarence River.

The first ever female rowing crew assembled at a non-metropolitan Australian public school took to the water for the first time in half a century as part of the school's 50-year reunion.

Even coach Jacky McDonald (nee Bonner) made an appearance. When she moved to Grafton to take on the coaching role, the school expected a man. She promptly introduced female rowing to the Clarence and soon had two crews at the school.

"Both our crews beat Mosman in our first Head of the River," crew member Anne Carless (nee Chalmers) said.

"When we started the guys didn't like it at all. It was a total male-dominated sport in those days."

There were plenty of eyes on them again as they prepared for their reuniting voyage.

"There were a couple of funny little moments when a rig was put on upside down and an oar facing the wrong way," reunion organiser and former classmate Ivan McLennan said.

"But once they were on the water they were surprised how quickly it all came together. They're already talking about the next one in 10 years' time."



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