Andy Sneddon turns 100 this week. Born on 30th March 1910 Andy celebrated his remarkable life at a party given by family and friends at Northmead in Sydney on Saturday. In a long fruitful life many of Andy’s fondest memories are his days spent rowing, initially at Scots College, then at St Andrews’s College, Sydney University Boat Club and later at Sydney Rowing Club. Andy is a Life Member of Sydney Rowing Club and has been a member for 75 years
Andy was born in Newcastle and in his early years moved to Sydney where his family was involved in a business importing Studebaker cars. Andy attended Scots College and stroked the Scots eight in the 1927 GPS Head of the River. He entered the Faculty of Engineering in 1928 and was awarded a Blue for rowing in 1930. One of his strongest memories is the trip to Perth in May 1930 for the Oxford and Cambridge Cup race. In those days travel was by train and Andy recalled that the train was obliged to stop regularly to take on water for the boilers. At each stop one of the crew, who had come equipped with bagpipes, would fire them up and march around the train followed by most of the passengers. Andy recalls the race over a three mile course on the Swan River as very rough with the crews being swamped on a couple of occasions and the coxen having to operate a pump to get water out of the boat.
Andy was also a keen tennis player and became a leading lightweight rower for Sydney Rowing Club stroking their lightweight crews to a number of state championships in the 1930’s. Two of Andy’s proudest possessions were on display at his 100th party – his 1930 Sydney University Blues Blazer and the pocket from his Sydney Rowing Club blazer acknowledging his 1935 NSW Championship in the lightweight eight.
Andy started work with Nestles in 1939 but soon took leave to enter the army for the duration of WWII. He rose to the rank of major serving in New Guinea, Borneo and Sandakan and was in Darwin when it was bombed in 1942.
On discharge from the army Andy resumed his job as an engineer with Nestles and married his wife, Jean in 1950. Andy and Jean have four children, Robert, Philip, Ian and Jeanette and now have seven granddaughters.
After retirement in 1970 Andy ran for local council as an independent and served as and alderman on the Parramatta Council for nine years. Andy’s wife and family were all on hand to celebrate his one hundredth birthday.
Representatives of his two rowing clubs (Sydney Rowing Club and Sydney University Boat Club) were also on hand to congratulate Andy and celebrate with him. Congratulatory cards were read from Queen Elizabeth II, the Governor General, The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, The Governor of NSW Marie Bashir, The Premier of NSW Christina Kenneally and The NSW Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell.
It is was sobering to witness the one hundredth birthday of a man who has seen lived through times of enormous change, managed to lead a full life, develop a loving and successful family, serve his country in war, have a full life as a student and sportsman and take an interest in and serve his community. It is a real plus for our sport that in such a long a fruitful life Andy Sneddon has such a strong attachment to our sport.
Congratulations Andy Sneddon – 100 not out.