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The Australian rowing community was saddened today to learn of the passing of Australian Olympian and Sydney University Coach, Maurice Grace. Born in 1929, the New South Welshman represented Australia in the Men’s Pair at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games.Maurie Grace was the patriarch of an Australian rowing dynasty, with his son-in-law Tim Conrad also a rowing Olympian (1976, Montreal Olympic Games – Men’s Eight) and his grandson, Sam Conrad most recently represented Australia in the Men’s Eight at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Maurie Grace Coaches SUBC Eight Nepean Gorge circa 1972-3
Maurie Grace Coaches SUBC Eight Nepean Gorge circa 1972-3
Maurie Grace Coaching Boat 1972 with Jane
Maurie Grace Coaching Boat 1972 with Jane

Maurie coaching SUBC eight Nepean Gorge 1973 Maurie started coaching at Sydney Uni Boat Club in early 1971 when he was filled in at the last minute to coach a combined universities crew on a rowing tour to New Zealand. This was the start of a long and strong bond between our club and Maurie and his family. Maurie had different and sometimes slightly crazy ideas about coaching but at a time when interval training was fashionable he had an unshakeable belief in distance training to build a competition base. Maurie Grace coaching 1973

At SUBC he put these ideas into practice and within 12 months was producing winning crews at junior level and winning senior crews within two years. Under Maurie’s guidance SUBC crews were dominating senior and junior events through 1972, 73, 74 and 75. Maurie coached two New South Wales King’s Cups crews to victory in 1974 and 1975 and coached the Australian eights at the 1974 and 9175 World Championships and the Australian pair at the 1976 Olympics. In the days when rowing coaching was entirely voluntary Maurie Grace gave his time and energy to our club through his efforts bought success and long term friendships to many who rowed in his crews. The whole rowing community’s thoughts are with Mr Grace’s family, especially his daughters Megan Conrad and Meredith Street and his grandchildren, Sam Conrad and Honor Conrad. The late Mr Grace’s McVilly-Pearce pin for representation in Australian Rowing teams will be presented to his family in due course by Rowing Australia, he was rower number 80.

SUBC Eight circa 1973 Shinners Newnham O Loughlin Stiel Welch Plater Roberts Curtin - Donnelly cox
SUBC Eight circa 1973 Shinners Newnham O Loughlin Stiel Welch Plater Roberts Curtin - Donnelly cox

One of the SUBC crews coached by Maurie Grace, Shinners, Newnham, O'Loughlin, Stiel, Welch, Plater, Roberts, Curtin.

Maurie's funeral will be held on Friday 15th January at 1.30 pm at St Aloysius College Chapel, Milson's Point immediately followed by a reception for his family at 42 Kareela Rd, Cremorne Point.

Maurie and Peter Raper 1956
Maurie and Peter Raper 1956

Maurie Grace and Peter Raper - Australian Olympic Pair 1956