The new Sydney University "Thyne Reid Boatshed" was officially opened by the Sydney University Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson on Saturday morning 27th May.

Chris Noel Boathouse.jpg

Chris Noel who with Mike Wiseman worked with Campus Infrastructure Services and Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness on the Boatshed project at the new boathouse entrance.

Before a crowd of current and past rowers, coaches, university officials and parents the Chancellor cut a ribbon across Bay 3 of the new shed. Men's and Women's Captains Marcus Britt and Dyonne Bettega held the ribbon between two Boat club oars and as the doors opened a men's and women's eight from the club marched through the crowd onto the pontoon and did demonstration row up and back Burn's Bay.

The new shed is four large bays build over high water mark in Burns's Bay. A large concrete apron leads to a ramp and a 20 x 10-meter pontoon.

Upstairs the shed consists of two distinct wings - the southern wing contains a large club multi purpose room a kitchen and coaches office while the northern wing contains men's and women's change rooms and stairs to the boathouse.

The unique building was designed by architects Hill Thallis and built by Adco Constructions under the supervision of Campus Infrastructure Services. 

The new boat shed was financed by the University of Sydney, Sydney University Sport and Fitness and the Alumni of Sydney University Boat Club through the University of Sydney Sports Foundation.

Chris Noel who led the fundraising for the new shed made the following speech at the opening thanking those involved in the conception, funding and building of the facility.

"Dear Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Hon Anthony Roberts and guests.

I’ve been involved with this club as a rower, part time coach and administrator for 49 years.

Naturally, I’ve been involved with this building and its planning, financing, and construction since our previous shed burnt down in March 2006. Through the long process that this building has taken I want to say on behalf of our club a number of important thank yous.

For the building – I want to thank the architects Hill Thallis – when we chose them with CIS, we understood they would help us produce a building that would be accepted in the local community and Phil Thallis delivered on that in every respect.  Even more importantly I think you can say about this building what I think is ultimate praise in architecture – that is its form follows its function. Hill Thallis have produced an elegant and beautiful building that is above all functional as a training rowing shed.

I would like to thank a few people who had major input into the project – our alumnus and triple World Champion at junior, U23 and senior level form the 1990’s Mike Wiseman. Mike has worked with the senior members of the club and coaches to produce a comprehensive brief that was able to be put to the architects through Campus Infrastructure Services and his consistent contact, prodding and professional approach in my view was a key factor in producing the result we have in this building.

I would also like to thank Geoff Lord who consulted to CIS on this building and who played a key role in opening up relationships with Lane Cove Council. Geoff worked closely with Mike Wiseman and that relationship helped our club bring a real “rowing” element into this building.

I would like to thank CIS, previous director Colin Rockliff and subsequently Greg Robinson and particular the Senior Precinct Manager Scott Biggs and Project Manager Chris Burns, Harrison Wang and design manager Alan Crowe.  Without official positions within the university myself, Mike Wiseman and Mark Prater and later Dustyn Butler and other officials of the club were always treated with respect and our views and input considered and appreciated.

CIS is transforming Sydney University and this building is just an example of the results of their great work.

I want to thank Sydney University, the Vice Chancellor Dr. Michael Spence and the Senate – commitment to the whole student experience has been a hallmark of Sydney University and it has been important in the face of “voluntary student unionism” that our university has seen fit to support that experience and continues to involve its students, not just in activities, but in the management of this experience.

I would like to thank Mark Prater – our recent Head Coach who is now coaching at the Rowing Australia National Training Centre in Canberra. Mark’s input was important in getting key rowing amenities into the shed design. Mark was as always diligent, committed and brought his considerable intellect to the meetings about the shed requirements.

I would like to thank Lane Cove Council and the NSW Government – we are their tenants at this place – we operate by license from the Council for the supporting area adjacent to the shed and we lease the area over high water from Roads and Maritime Services. Both organizations have supported this project willingly and strongly – their cooperation is what helps make our society.

SUBC has been at this location since 1964.

The building of this boathouse has required considerable funds. Our primary and major supporter in this area has been Sydney University in partnership with Sydney University Sport and Fitness. The third partner has been our Boat Club alumni – a significant proportion of the building cost is being contributed by alumni- for this boat shed – around 100 will contribute $1.6 million towards the construction. I don’t have time to mention all of them now but there are some who have not only supported this project but been major donors to our boat purchase program over many years.

There are four major individual donors who in the words of one of them are the “true believers”  (although I don’t think Charles Moore who used this term is necessarily an avid ALP supporter !) – they are Charles Moore, Paul Espie, John Boultbee and Austin Curtin. Could I pay particular tribute to Charles and Paul who supported me from the moment I became Club President in 1988 with assistance on the rebuilding of the staging of the old shed and the repair of its foundations. All four of these alumni have been strong substantial and loyal club supporters over the last 30-40 years.

Could I also thank George Reid and the Thyne Reid Foundation for their lead contribution to the alumni fundraising – George is the grand nephew of Thyne Reid who was an incredibly generous benefactor of Sydney University and St Andrews College in his lifetime. It was Thyne Reid’s gift of a huge waterfront house in Drummoyne for the Boat Club and funds to build a boat shed in the late 1950’s that allowed the club to eventually have a permanent home here in 1964 after losing their original boat shed to requisition in WWII.

 Ladies and Gentleman – this magnificent boat shed has allowed the Boat Club to expand the range of rowing programs it offers – it is a landmark in our sport of rowing and in university sporting facilities.

I am proud to be able to say on behalf of all our club members past and present, thank you to everyone involved in bringing it to fruition."