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New Boatshed Imminent for SUBC - Funding Support Needed

New Boatshed Imminent for SUBC - Funding Support Needed

After 10 years without our main training facility the new SUBC boatshed is imminent. DA Approved plans are in place and Sydney University are proceeding towards construction. All that remains is for us - alumni , parent and friends to raise the remaining funding of $480,000 to ensure completion of the shed with all the facilities needed.

Vale Maurie Grace - SUBC Coach

Vale Maurie Grace - SUBC Coach

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.

2015 Australian Boat Race – Men’s Eights -a Coach Perspective

2015 Australian Boat Race – Men’s Eights -a Coach Perspective


SUBC Racing past MUBC ABR 25 Oct 15 SUBC Men's eight cross to the southern bank as they race past the boatsheds on the Yarra ABR 25th Oct 2015


The Australian Boat Race is an event SUBC look forward to every year. With only a fifty percent winning record on the Yarra since the race's re-creation in 2010, I was nervous as a coach, knowing how much it means to MUBC to impress on their home turf. The men's race went to another level in 2013 with clashing oars and an extremely tight battle for most of the race. In 2011, the lead changed a number of times and Melbourne came home very strong in final stages to only just miss out. So for us, we were going into this year's race not taking anything for granted and using the first few days to readjust to the bends and the flow. Our preparation was great but I knew with the calibre of guys in the Melbourne boat, it wasn't going to come easy.


In what is a relatively hectic pre-race period (for domestic rowing events), the crew chat was centred around staying internal, and being gutsy - not necessarily by rowing harder per se- but by rowing well, and executing skills, and keeping form, for the whole race.


I have to say, I didn't see the start of the race because the coverage cut out at the start line - but from what the boys have told me, it was the best start we did all week, where everything clicked, everyone was focused, and on the same page. This set up a great platform to get into the rhythm we had practiced all week, and which is normally our strength as a club. I think once the nerves settled after the start, the execution of that rhythm was spot on, set up by two really experienced guys in Cam Girdlestone and Sasha Belonogoff. For the bulk of the race, sitting in the mid to low thirties, the rhythm was consistent and set up by good pressure and intent under the water. It was pleasing to see that we never were happy or complacent with our lead and it continually stretched out over the four kilometre course. Will Raven did a great steering job and was ruthless in his demands for the guys to keep their foot on the gas. As someone who was involved in the saga that was 2013, it was extremely satisfying to dominate the way we did this year. It is something that sticks with you for a while - win or lose - so it's nice knowing we got the job done and we have some really good potential in big boats for the rest of the season.


Racing under Swan St Bridge ABR 2015

Last but certainly not least, there aren't much better things in life than beating  our southern neighbours . (particularly on their home course)!


We look forward to next year where hopefully we can make another statement on the great Sydney Harbour, at the home of Rowing.


Boat Club Foundation Speech - November 2013

In November 2013 Paul and Ros Espie hosted a cocktail party for the Rowing Foundation at their home at Darling Point. This night provided a substantial boost in committed pledges and donations to our Foundation. Our thanks to Paul and Ros for hosting us and giving the Boat Club the opportunity to be re-committed to growing our Foundation capital.

On the evening our Deputy President, Chris Noel  gave the following speech about the importance of support for the Rowing Foundation and reflected on the last ten years of success - success which has been in large part enabled by our Foundation donors.

Ten Years of Success – Sydney University Rowing

Good Evening and welcome to SU Rowing alumni and friends.

An occasion like this is a good time to ask the question – what is our role as a sporting club within the university?

No doubt we want to bring to success the sporting ambitions of our members but we have a wider role. One of these roles is to represent our university into the outside community in positive way – this includes presenting well trained teams that can demonstrate they are part of a successful and thriving institution.

This objective brings me to my theme for tonight – ten years of success – what have we achieved for our club and our university in the past ten years.

Keeping in mind that we are one of the oldest clubs of Sydney University and one of five Founding Clubs of Sydney University Sport I think we can be proud of our last ten years and some of the successes and initiatives of the rowing clubs.

It is eight years since we launched our Rowing Division of the University of Sydney Sports Foundation. Our launch of USSF has proved a catalyst to SUSF and other sports clubs to do what we have done and for this reason alone we can be proud of the fact that USSF now has eight clubs involve with ten divisions for scholarships and capital appeals. Over $4m dollars has been raised through USSF .

In 1975 we won the NSW Championship Men’s Eight – it was our first win for many years and we did not win again till 2005 – thirty years later. The difference in 2005 was that we went on to win again in 2006 and 2007 and every year since up to 2013. In February 2014 we will attempt to win our tenth consecutive title in this event.

In the early nineties at the Sports Union the executive discussed on a many occasions how we could transit from “occasional success”  - where a group of active and committed students at a club would gel with the right coach and have a year or two of success to model where we could have continual “planned success” over a long period.

The main thrust of our approach then was to try and professionalize our approach to our clubs – to coaching, training and competing and the first step was professional coaching and administration. SU Sport led the way and supported clubs – including our own in assisting us with paid coaching, assistance in managing our accounts, assistance in our administration.

At our club level we implemented some key strategies to bring success to our rowing programs:

a)      Recruitment of paid quality coaches

b)      Advance planning and setting of club and crew objectives

c)       Maintenance of a high quality fleet of boats for training and competition.


The results have flowed from this approach. In the period 1963 – 2003 – forty years,  we won the Oxford and Cambridge Cup for men’s Intervarsity eights just twice – 1983 and 1993. Since 2003 we have won on five occasions including just two weeks ago in Ballarat.

We have won the points score at the Rowing NSW State Championships in eight of the last nine years.

Our rowers have represented New South Wales and Australia in national teams at either U23 or senior level or both virtually every year since 1989. Our club had 12 rowers representing Australia in the 2012 Olympic team in London.

Similarly the success of our program has assisted to lift the standards of our state – in the period of thirty years 1978 – 2007 NSW won the Kings Cup on two occasions 1984 and 2004 while our arch rivals  Victoria accumulated 18 wins. In the six years since 2008 the NSW crew, with an average of six university members each year in the crew, has won six titles in a row – a new record for New South Wales.

Our club administration has been active in a number of initiatives in promoting our sport and our clubs. Among our achievements I have mentioned the impetus to launch USSF and I should also mention the launch of The Australian Boat Race –a race modelled on the British classic and designed to create a unique university rowing event that can promote both our sport and our university.

As I have mentioned – high quality professional coaching and administration is an essential for our success and this brings me to the purpose of tonight – recognizing that having and maintaining a good quality fleet of boats and equipment is also essential -the clubs launched the Boat Foundation as part of USSF in 2005. Since then with generous support from a small number of alumni we have been able to steadily turnover our equipment each year by selling older boats and buying new ones.

Cost of Our Fleets:

Each of our clubs currently has around $600-700,000 of rowing fleets – these require turnover ideally every 3-4 years and depreciate at around 10-20% per annum. To maintain our fleets in top condition we need to be generating income from our boat funds of at least $60-$70,000  for each of our clubs each year.

Rowing is a small sport so it won’t surprise you when I tell you that for this reason the burden of supporting our equipment program will fall heavily on the small number of the graduates of our programs. With single sculls costing from $10K each we need to ask our alumni to contribute and that they do so substantially.

When we started this Foundation project our fleet situation was just acceptable. We envisaged that we would spend a larger proportion of funds we raised on new boats for the first 6-8 years. The purpose of our initiative at the moment if to ensure that in future years we are raising more funds than we expend and add each year to our capital account with a longer term view that interest earned on our capital will eventually fund our fleet purchases in the future.


Over the past eight years some alumni have been particulate supportive both financially to our cause and personally to myself.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank these people who also happen to be our major donors:

Charles Moore, Paul Espie (our host tonight), Austin Curtin, John Boultbee, Eric Carter, Steve Newnham, Phil Winkworth.

Please think about how you can help – we can arrange monthly, quarterly or annual donations through USSF and the Sydney University Development Office. Talk with Tom McCann, Steve Newnham, Alex Wilcox or myself tonight or we will follow you up with a door form in the next couple of weeks. Your support of Sydney Uni Rowing is greatly appreciated.


Chris Noel Awarded OAM

Chris Noel Awarded OAM


Sydney University Boat Club (SUBC) Vice President Chris Noel has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the sport of Rowing in NSW. Noel, previously a long standing President of the club and a former SUSF Management Committee member, has contributed a significant amount of his time, effort and own financial resources into rowing.

Thanks to Noel, SUBC has grown and developed into one of the strongest rowing clubs in Australia.

He has also reinvigorating the efforts of NSW in the Kings Cup via the Kings Cup Committee, with the renewed focus playing a major part in the current run of success (namely five consecutive Kings Cup wins since 2008).

Noel is also responsible for helping to secure Rowing World Cup regattas in Sydney in 2013 and 2014.

“Noel’s contribution and achievements extend well beyond the above items, but they illustrate the impact he has had and continues to have on the great sport of rowing,” said current SUBC President Tom McCann.

“I would like to congratulate Chris on being awarded an OAM in recognition of his significant contribution to rowing in NSW.”

“Chris Noel has done more for the sport of men’s rowing at Sydney Uni than any other individual I can think of,” commented SUSF Executive Director Rob Smithies.

“His longevity within the club and the length and breadth of his contribution are phenomenal.

I doubt there is a male rower who has come through our program during the last 4 decades that would not know Chris well.

On behalf of SUSF I congratulate him on a well-earned award.”

Rugby Great Dave Brockhoff Dies

Rugby Great Dave Brockhoff Dies


A legend of Sydney University Rugby and Sydney University Sport, Dave Brockhoff passed away last week. A Wallaby, a Sydney Uni coach of premiership winning teams in the late 60′s and early 70′s, a Wallabies succesful coach in the 70′s Dave was above all one of the most passionate rugby and Sydney Uni men to ever walk on our playing fields. He was legendary for his visual imagery in pre-game and half time talks. For example he would exhort his loose forwards to get amongst the opposition and ” go crazy, like a madman with a crowbar in a glass shop” . Some of his players occasionaly had trouble following his imagery and allusions but he was always inspiring, smart, passionate and successful and a great mentor to many of his players. “Brock” served as President of Sydney Uni Rugby from 1996-2004.

He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by Sydney University in 2006 – his Citation read on that day appears below. David Brockhoff was 83 when he died last week – one of Sydney Uni’s finest – a man who deserves the title ” Legend”



June 2006


Chancellor, I present John David Brockhoff, upon whom the Senate of the University has resolved that you confer the title of Honorary Fellow.

David Brockhoff has made an extraordinary contribution to the University and to Australian rugby over the past 58 years.

In 1947 David entered the University of Sydney enrolling in a Science degree and joining the Football Club, where he played with the First XV for seven years. He played in 95 first-grade games and was a member of two Premiership-winning teams. He was awarded University Blues for Rugby in 1948, 1949, 1950 and 1951. He was also a regular selection in the Australian Combined Universities team.

In 1949, while playing in New Zealand for Combined Universities, he was recalled to Australia to play his first match as a Wallaby. Later that year he returned to New Zealand as a member of a very successful Wallaby team that won 11 of its 12 games, twice defeating the All Blacks and winning the Bledisloe Cup for the first time on New Zealand soil. David Brockhoff also toured South Africa, representing Australia in 8 Tests between 1949 and 1953.

In 1967 he was appointed Sydney University’s first-grade coach, a position which he held for eight years during which time his teams won two minor premierships and three major premierships. He was also coach of New South Wales in 1970, 1971, 1973 and 1974.

He then moved on to coach the Wallabies in 1975, 1976 and 1979, giving him the rare distinction, shared with only two others, of having both played for and coached the Wallabies. In the nine years immediately prior to Brockhoff’s appointment Australia had won only seven of its last 39 Tests. In his first year as national coach the Wallabies won nine of twelve Tests, including defeating England to win the first home series in ten years.

When he returned to the national coaching position in 1979 the Wallabies beat the All Blacks in a one-off Test for the Bledisloe Cup, the first time Australia had held the Cup since Brockhoff had played for it thirty years earlier. It was also Australia’s first defeat of New Zealand in Australia since 1934.

As a player David Brockhoff had been described as “a footballer of tremendous courage and power, never prepared to take a backward step, a vigorous tackler and non-stop worker.” These same qualities were what he looked for and expected when he was coaching. His coaching philosophy was based on winning forward supremacy and domination. Although his methods were controversial, his successes laid the foundation for Australia’s emergence as a major force in world rugby.

David Brockhoff is renowned in Australian rugby for his unique verbal imagery and his cryptic, even Delphic, utterances. A common observation by his players at both club and international level is that they never fully understood his legendary pre-game addresses, yet he could inspire passion and commitment like few other coaches.

After leaving international rugby David Brockhoff devoted his energies to Sydney University rugby, his beloved “Students.” He remained a dominant influence on the Club’s coaching and playing style for many years. After long service as a Vice-President he assumed the President’s role in 1995. He then served as Chairman of the Club from 1996 to 2004.

David Brockhoff has been honoured for his services to rugby at representative levels. The Coach of the Year award in the Sydney Premiership Competition is named after him. In 2003 he was presented with the Joe French Award in recognition of his outstanding service to Australian rugby and in 2004 was made a Life Member of the Australian Rugby Union.

David Brockhoff has given great and ongoing service to the University of Sydney throughout the second half of the Twentieth Century through his involvement with the Sydney University Football Club and at the highest levels of Australian rugby.

John David Brockhoff, the University of Sydney salutes you, and for your great and ongoing service confers on you the title, Honorary Fellow of the University

Francis and Lucy Married at St Joseph's

Francis Hegerty and Lucy Gately were married at St Joseph’s College Chapel in December. Francis rowed for St Joseph’s before joining SUBC as part our first heavyweight intake post 2000. Frances met Lucy, who is from Brisbane at post competition celebrations after the University Games in 2005.

Matt and Sarah Married

SUBC veteran and Olympic silver medallist Matt Ryan married his partner Sarah om New Year’s Eve. The wedding was held in Sydney and was attended by many of Matt’s crew mates over his years representing Australia. Matt has recently moved to Canberra with Sarah and daughter Marli as he trains for selection in the 2012 Olympic Team.

Award For Boat Club Stalwart

Long-serving Sydney University Boat Club supporter Chris Noel won the Service to Sport Award at the recent Australian University Sport presentations for 2007. The award caps off a memorable year for Mr Noel, who was made an Honorary Fellow of the University in May for his services to sport, particularly rowing, at the University.

An economic graduate and University Blue in Boat, Mr Noel became President of the Sydney University Boat Club in 1987. At the time the club had less than a dozen active rowers, obsolete equipment and was struggling to compete in local competition. His efforts led to rebuilding of the Club and its facilities for which he received a University Colour award (now Gold award) in 1990.

The Boat Club now boasts one of the best performing and most successful elite rowing programs in the country and is unquestionably the most successful university club in Australia. Sydney University fielded 17 rowers and two coaches at the 2007 Senior World Cup and Under-23 World Championships, the highest ever representation by Sydney University at the international level.

Mr Noel was elected a Vice-President of the Sydney University Sports Union, now Sydney University Sport, in 1991 and later became a representative of the University Senate on the Management Committee of the same group.

He played a key role in the redevelopment of the Noel Martin Recreation Centre, founded the Sydney University Rowing Foundation in 2005 and was a driving force behind the highly successful Sydney University sporting scholarships scheme.

One of those scholarship holders, netballer Susan Pratley, was nominated for the Most Outstanding Sporting Achievement award at the AUS Sports Awards

A member of the Australian team that recently defeated New Zealand to reclaim the World Championship, Pratley was one of four finalists along with Sean Wroe (Sydney University of SUT – athletics), Alice McNamara (Melbourne – rowing) and Annabelle Williams (Bond EAD – swimming).

Another sports scholarship holder, hurdler Justin Merlino, was nominated for the Male Athlete of the Year award after winning the 110m hurdles title at the 85th Australian Athletics Championships at QEII Stadium, Brisbane.

Merlino set a personal best time of 13.55s to become the second fastest Australian over the 110m hurdles, behind 1996 Atlanta Olympic finalist, Kyle Vander-Kuyp, who set the Australian benchmark of 13.29s at the 1995 World Championships.

He was up against Sean Wroe, Joshua Robinson (Queensland – athletics) and Grant McNamara (Melbourne – rowing) for the award.

And the Sydney University Boat Club was nominated for Team of the Year award, Mick Somers (Soccer) for the Coach of the Year Award, while University of Technology, Sydney, student, Georgia Woodyard, who plays for the ACUVUE Sydney Uni Flames, was the joint winner of Female Athlete of the Year award.

Donnelly Supercoach Of Vietnam

In the 70′s he was the right hand man of our SUBC Coach Maurie Grace. Joe Donnelly , our very determined cox who steered SUBC, NSW Kings Cup eiights to victories and coxed the Aussie eights of 1974 and 1975. About ten years ago, after much local opposition Joe managed to get approval for his school , Kinross Walaroi to row on the Spring Creek Dam in Orange and created one of the most vibrant coeducational rowing programs in Australia in a very short space of time.

Two of Joe’s athletes, Jo Wood and Grace Michell are important members of Sydnmey Uni’s women’s rowing team today.

In 2009 Joe started coaching and assisting the Vietnamese rowing program and just last week the crews he has been coaching gained silver medals. Joe’s role is that of senior coaching advisor – he writes the programs and instructs the coaches on technical isntruction.

Joe’s crews, the Women’s Lightweight Quad and the Women’s Double Scull both won silver medals with close seconds to China. Joe is hoping now that the crews will train on for the 2011 World Championships.

Our photo shows the Vietnamese Lightweight Quad in training

Alumni Honour Bill Webb

The following SUBC and St Andrew’s College contributed to the purchase of The Dr Bill Webb Trophy:  

Phillip Walker Matthew Duly

Roy Beaumont Hugh Fisher

Phil Winkworth Eric Carter

Mark Hoffman Dave Ludowici

Bob McEntyre Mark/ Stephanie Kirkby

Alex Abrahams Andrew McKibbin

John Boultbee Rob Hampshire

Dave Kenyon Hugh Fisher

St Andrew’s College – through Principal

Wayne Erikson


When Australian University Sport decided this year, to have a separate men’s and women’s overall championship at the AUC rowing long-time SUBC Vice President and Administrator, Chris Noel, felt it presented an ideal opportunity to honour the contribution of Dr Bill Webb to Australian and University rowing.

Bill rowed at intervarsity several times and won the Oxford and Cambridge Cup. He also coached both SUBC crews at intervarsity and St Andrew’s crews for the Inter College race. Bill is fondly remembered by hundreds and hundreds of national and state rowers through his work as Australian Rowing Doctor. For over twenty years Bill worked in a voluntary capacity as our national team doctor.

Chris Noel put out a call for assistance to purchase a trophy that would : a) be a suitable tribute to Bill and b) be large enough that it may be difficult for student’s to lose. The response was such that the overall cost was quickly met with pledges from aluumni.

Many thanks to all who contributed. The Bill Webb trophy will be presenetd for the first time on Friday 1st October.

New Generation Curtin

1990′s SUBC Blue Jeremy Curtin and his wife Kate have happily announced the birth of their first daughter Matilda. Matilda arrived last week on 20th June. Matilda is the first grand daughter of Austin and Annie Curtin and Austin was also awarded a Blue while competing for SUBC in the 1970′s.

Congratulations Jeremy and Kate from all at SUBC

Andy Sneddon Celebrates 100 Years

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.

Passing of Dick Palmisano

Passing of Dick Palmisano


Dick represented SUBC winning the Oxford and Cambridge Cup in 1961 and also represented Australia in the Trans Tasman series against New Zealand that year. The Australian crew was: Australian Team Men’s Eight Bow: Paul Hyman (NSW) 2: Mick Johnman (NSW) 3: Richard Palmisano (NSW) 4: Gary Herford (NSW) 5: Robert (Bob) G Tipping (NSW) 6: Kevin Evans (NSW) 7: Graeme (“Mick”) Allen (NSW) Str: Bruce Evans (NSW) Cox: Tony Whybrow (NSW) Cch: Dr Eric Longley (NSW)

Dick made an important contribution in the field of “sleep apnea” and was the inventor and collaborator on of one of the successful commercial devices that treats this condition by the fitting of a “mouthguard like” device that aims to re-position the lower jaw during sleep thus preventing the blocking of the patient’s airway.

Dick’s invention is made and sold by Somno Med and the tribute below was posted on their website after his death.

“On 4th November 2009 we lost our friend, colleague and inventor Dr Richard Palmisano. On behalf of the Directors and Management of SomnoMed Group we extend our deepest condolences to Richard’s family for their loss.

Richard or “Dick” as he was known to friends was Orthodontist, inventor and tireless thinker, making vast contributions to our company. Never satisfied with the status quo and constantly looking for improvements Dick’s creative energies continued to push research and development at SomnoMed.

Dick actively contributed until 2007 and his legacy will be continued directly through SomnoMed’s ongoing clinical and technical research. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

Sincerely, SomnoMed Directors, Management and Staff”

In addition the the Woolcock Institute – one of the leading centres for research into sleep disorders posted the following tribute to Dick:

“It is with sadness that we note the death of Dr Richard Palmisano on 4 November 2009. Dr Palmisano was a specialist orthodontist who developed an academic interest in the links between orthodontics and obstructive sleep apnoea. Almost 20 years ago he teamed up with Prof Peter Cistulli to develop an interdisciplinary research programme exploring the novel role of orofacial orthopedics and oral appliances in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. The work resulted in a series of landmark publications that have gradually changed clinical practice in the field and helped the evolution of the new field of Dental Sleep Medicine. He was an innovator, and this resulted in the successful commercialisation of a novel oral appliance for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea through the company Somnomed. His legacy continues in the work being conducted at the Sleep Group at the Woolcock Institute.”

Mike Valli In Winning 2009 Oxford (Isis) Crew

Mike Valli In Winning 2009 Oxford (Isis) Crew


In May 2007 I was living in Canberra and finishing my BSc (Mathematics), wondering what the heck to do next. ‘Berra is a quiet town, but some wonderful people lived there, including Jim Macartney. Jim coached at Oxford Brookes University – the “other” university in Oxford – and by talking so enthusiastically about the Oxford vs. Cambridge Boat Race, the seed was planted in my mind. One month later I arrived in the UK with no plans except to travel and have as many adventures as possible. In April 2008 – one year later – I was accepted into Oxford studying MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management. People often call this a “rower’s course”, meaning an easy one-year masters, which has a lot of free time to do training. In reality there are no easy courses at Oxford and everyone is challenged beyond their limits.

Two weeks before classes began, I arrived at the Iffley Rd gym with all the other Boat Race hopefuls. At this sports centre Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile and it has been the home of Oxford University Boat Club (OUBC) for decades. Our squad included 5 Olympians, 3 more with Senior World Championships experience and another 4 World U23 representatives. Making the top eight was going to be a challenge!

The training began: twice a day, with Mondays off completely. Ergos in the morning and rowing in the afternoons. Weights only once per week. The Boat Race is a 6.5km race, so our training is different to traditional 2km “sprints”. We purposely detrain our anaerobic system so that we can survive 36 strokes per minute for 17 minutes of racing. Once one crew gets clear water, it is decisive. Therefore we cannot “settle into a ryhtm” like normal international racing and the bends make the race unfair in places. It is extremely tactical and requires us to have a fluid race plan. The coxwains have a huge job to find the fastest currents, push the opposition out of it, dictate the race plan and avoid clashing oars.

Living in Oxford is incredible. The university is over 800 years old and I participate in ceremonies and traditions, which are centuries old. The college I live in was built in the 1400s. Rowing allows us to enjoy even more of the UK – The Fours Head Regatta; training in London, Caversham, Eton-Dorney and Wallingford; Training camps in Spain and France and cross-country skiing camp in Switzwerland (cancelled this year sadly); and plenty of black-tie dinners at exclusive gentleman’s clubs in Pall Mall.

After much trialling crews were chosen in January. Both Oxford and Cambridge have two boats – the Blue boat and Reserve boat. Oxford’s reserve boat is known as Isis (after the river running through Oxford city) and Cambridge’s reserves are called Goldie. I was selected in Isis. I made no secret of aiming for the blue boat, but wasn’t strong enough this year. Five bouts of illness and 6 weeks on the bike due to a stress-fractured rib did not help either. In a seven month season, every session is vital. Nevertheless our crew was strong and by comparison would probably make the final at the U23 Worlds.

The Boat Race has become a nation-stopping event, like the Grand National horse race, Wimbeldon final or FA Cup final. The crowds are about five people deep for the entire course, numbering 250,000 people. Several million more watch the race on live television. All year we had photographers at our training sessions. Television crews filming our ergo tests. Special guests joining the coaches in their speed boats. Radio journalists interviewing us for news broadcasts and podcasts. It’s probably the only place that rowers get to be rockstars. It’s a lot different to the sleepy waters of Riverview.

Once attached to the starter’s boat, the cheering crowds and helicopters and cameras faded away. It was just one-on-one racing. We (Isis) blasted out of the start and had clear water at Harrods Depository, five minutes into the race. We were expecting a longer battle, grinding Goldie down for around 12 minutes, but they cracked early. Oxford won the blue boat race doing exactly that. Their race can be found at: under “race videos” along with our squad profiles and other info. With both boats winning, it was a great day for OUBC and made for a fantastic after-party. Would have been a pretty miserable night for the Cambridge guys.

Everyone is truly grateful to study at this fantastic university and compete in one of the world’s biggest rowing events. Not many Australians make the journey, so if anyone is interested in following this path, feel free to contact me. It’s been great watching SUBC dominate back home in Aus and I hope to rejoin the “home of rowing” in 2010.

Mike Valli St Edmund Hall, Oxford

SUBC Alumni In Oxfam 2008 Trailwalk

SUBC Alumni In Oxfam 2008 Trailwalk


Our photo shows SUBC 1990′s alumni Laird Abernethy, Jeremy Curtin, ( friend Damian Tancred) and Uldis Clarson at start of the 2008 Oxfam Trailwalk at Brooklyn. The team , sponsored by Russell Investments finished 2nd overall.

Vale Ian Esplin 1914-2008

I was busy organizing presentation of medals and trophies at the 2005 Australian Rowing Championships. It was the last day of a long regatta and as I glanced back towards the grandstand I saw a slight and older gentleman in the unmistakable colours of the Sydney University Blues blazer. The blazer dated from 1936 and fitting into it, one could imagine as well as he did in 1936, was Ian Esplin, University oarsman and Blue, Rhodes Scholar, World War II RAF veteran and later Air Vice Marshall in the R.A.F.

At the age of 91 Ian is still young, still driving himself around and still playing golf and I resolved to catch up with one of our oldest living rowing Blues (possibly our oldest) in the near future.

When I recently met Ian for lunch I was able to get some glimpse into his remarkable life. Ian was born in Sydney in 1914 to a loving family and on arrival was the youngest of four boys.

Education was at Shore School not far from the family home at Wollstonecraft. Ian remembers getting involved at the very young age of 10 with SUBC where he started coxing the crew in which one of his elder brothers, an architecture student rowed. Being already involved with rowing it seemed only natural that Ian would try this sport at school and he did so with some success. The 1932 Shore Eight won the Head of the River (in those days on the Parramatta River in front of 100,000 spectators) with Ian as stroke by a narrow six feet. The following year Ian repeated his leaving Certificate and obtained a good enough mark to be offered a bursary to Sydney University.

At the same time as starting his Economics degree as a night student Ian worked full time at Anthony Hordern?s and began rowing with SUBC from the club?s small boatshed at Glebe Point. In 1933 he stroked the Economics Eight and 1934 saw SUBC make the trip to Murray Bridge for Intervarsity. Ian reports that at the time Sydney University had an eight of particularly poor quality which encompassed that feature of many old wooden boats that it could twist in more than one direction at a time and thus be down on the strokeside near the stern and the bowside at the other end. At Murray Bridge the crew finished 2nd to arch rivals Melbourne. In 1935 Intervarsity was held on the Yarra and on this occasion Sydney reversed the 1934 result and took out the Oxford and Cambridge Cup. Ian was awarded a University Blue.

1936 saw Ian hard at work and taking a crash course in Latin, a subject from which he had ?retired? in Year 9. The reason for his new found interest in the classics was that his mentor, the great Len Robson, his headmaster from Shore School had suggested that Ian might apply for a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford and Latin was a requirement at that time for entry . After passing his exam and a grilling from the Rhodes Committee Ian was advised that he was successful and was awarded the 1937 Rhodes Scholarship from NSW.

A turning point was reached and Ian was headed for Oxford, England and experiences that were to shape his adult life.

At Oxford Ian turned his attentions primarily to study. Positions in the Oxford Blue Boat in those days were not readily available to ?colonials? ? an important selection criteria was to have attended Eton. In 1939 with war seemingly inevitable Ian joined the R.A.F Volunteer Reserve pilot section. His logic was that if he returned to Australia and joined the Air Force he would just be posted back to Britain ? so why not stay and save the trip.

Starting out in December 1939 Ian became an Aircraftsman 2nd class on 10 shillings and 8 pence per week after canteen deductions. After enduring some months of ?boot camp? style operations in freezing conditions Ian was promoted to LAC ( leading Aircraft man) and became a ?pilot under training? being posted in May 1940 to Acklington and after a stint of ground defence duty to Cambridge at the No 22 E.F.T.S ( Elementary Flying Training School). Starting in Tiger Moths Ian was later (August 1940) posted to South Cerney in Gloucestershire where they were to start flying the Airspeed Oxford. To quote from Ian?s book on his life this plane ?was a bitch to fly and a bastard to land?. At the end of this course Ian was awarded his much-coveted wings, given a commission and applied for posting to fighters. However his flying course had been geared towards twin-engine planes and he was assigned to No 2 Central Flying School in Cranwell as a flying instructor.

Around August 1941 Ian decided he had had enough of pilot instruction and on a day off took himself to London to department P2 at the Air Ministry. This department controlled postings and as Ian tells it he came across a Squadron leader who was sympathetic to his complaint that ? I?ve done twelve months as a flying instructor , I?m fed up, want to see some action and I?ve heard you are looking for night fighter pilots?. After an on he spot night vision test Ian soon received his orders to report to No 51 Operational Training Unit near Bletchly and soon after was on his way to becoming a night fighter pilot.

Initial combat posting was to Two Nine Squadron in Maidstone Kent ? the squadron was equipped with Beaufighters. Ian tells of staying on ?night readiness? which consisted of lying around fully clothed including flying boots and very dark goggles so as not to disturb their ?night vision? ? a major drawback of this attire was that you could not read or play cards ! Ian?s squadron had the task of intercepting German night bombers (especially the Junkers JU88) and in the course of his tour of duty Ian had to shoot down a number of the enemy planes.

In March 1943 Ian was posted from night fighters to Drem in Scotland where he was involved in secret experiments testing new equipment which would enable Allied night fighters to get an immediate fix on enemy aircraft as soon as they turned on their radar. Another area in which they experimented was the use of packages of tin foil to confuse enemy radar.

During his posting at Drem Ian met his future wife who was in the WAAF and posted to a nearby training centre. Soon after their relationship developed Ian was posted again to Headquarters, South East Asia Command at that time located in Delhi. Ian prepared to depart but for some reason his orders were postponed for ten days ? enough time for he and Patricia (Dizzy) Barlow to make the start of a lifelong commitment to each other. In May 1944 Ian was posted back to Britain to observe Operation Overlord (the Allied invasion of Europe) on the basis that this might provide worthwhile lessons for similar assaults in SE Asia. This was the opportunity for him and Pat to marry which they did at the Holy Trinity Church in Knightsbridge followed by a ?wartime? 36-hour honeymoon in Marlow.

When the war ended in 1945 Ian and Dizzy made their way to Australia and Ian took up a position with Qantas as International Relations Officer dealing with IATA, governments and other international airline bodies. Ian moved on to become company secretary at Qantas but by 1946 was not enjoying the work. Ian first child, Brian arrived in December 1946 and in early 1947 he accepted the offer of a permanent commission in the R.A. F and returned to England starting out in peacetime with the rank of Wing Commander. By 1949 Ian and Dizzy?s second child, Joanne had arrived and Ian was being steadily promoted. Through the fifties and the Cold War Ian served in a number of postings including the R.A.F. Staff College, commanding the No148 Wing of the first jet engine all-weather fighters in Germany, the Air War College and as Commanding Officer of the R.A.F base at Wartling in Sussex.

In early 1960 Ian was promoted to Air Commodore and returned to the Air Ministry as Director of Operational Requirements. In this job Ian was responsible for all future fixed-wing aircraft, engines, weapons systems, helicopters and research. On New Year?s Day 1964 Ian received a telegram advising he had been promoted to Air Vice-Marshal and had been made a C.B in the New Year Honours List. Soon after Ian and his family were posted to the USA, Washington DC where Ian became ?Commander, Royal Air Force Staff and Air Attache at the British Embassyz?. At the end of this posting Ian was offered a more senior position back in London but decided that this would end the chances of ever moving back to Australia. In 1965 Ian retired from the R.A.F and returned to settle back in Sydney.

Ian?s son Brian must have inherited his enthusiasm for the air, he became a pilot and rose to the senior ranks of Check Captain with Qantas. Ian and Dizzy lived at more permanent addresses in Sydney after so many moves and postings in his air career over nearly thirty years. Initially at Castle Cove and then a few years at Palm beach before ?retiring? to Mosman in more recent times.

After a marriage lasting just short of 60 years Dizzy passed away in 2003. In the short time I spent with Ian it was very clear how much he had loved Dizzy and what a wonderful partnership they had shared. The lasting impression I took was despite a full and successful career in the R.A.F. in both war and peace, despite a full life as a young scholar, sportsman and elite academic performance, it was that Ian valued his marriage and family above all else. Ian Esplin is a man who has lived long, achieved much and who we consider fortunate to be able count as an alumnus of the Sydney University Boat Club.

Death Of Former Chancellor, The Hon. Kim Santow AO

The Hon Kim Santow AO, Chancellor of the University of Sydney 2001-2007 The former Chancellor of the University of Sydney, the Hon. Kim Santow, AO has died, aged 67.

Kim Santow was Chancellor from October 2001 to May 2007. He also served as a Judge in the Supreme Court of New South Wales Court of Appeal from 2002 to 2007. He was the first solicitor in recent times to be appointed a judge of the Supreme Court without prior service as a Barrister or Master of the Court.

A graduate of the University with a blue in rowing, Kim Santow was recently awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws by the University of Sydney.

"It is sad to lose someone who has achieved so much and had so much more to offer," said Professor Gavin Brown, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Sydney. "He completed a period of distinguished service as Chancellor last year, and his ongoing contribution to higher education will be deeply missed," he said.

In the June 2007 Queen's Birthday Honours he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia for service to the judiciary and the law, to education governance, and to the arts.

A memorial service for the Hon Kim Santow will be held in the Great Hall of the University of Sydney on Wednesday 23rd April 2008, at 6.00pm

Norm Croker And Kim Santow

Norm Croker And Kim Santow


Long time no speak. It is saddening that it takes Kim Santos’ passing to promote me to write. I trust that all is well with you and the family. I may make it to Sydney this coming Christmas and will contact if I do. Eric passed on the sad news about Kim Santow passing. This was particularly saddening for me, as Kim officiated at the presentation of degrees in Hong Kong last year when I was conferred with my Masters degree in Project Management (after all these years). It was like an old boys reunion as the attached photograph shows.

Kim had a prodigious memory and was particularly complimentary of Eric and my success in the 1972 IV pairs describing us the most accomplished pair oar that the University had produced to the other academics in the party. Although this was obviously overly generous, it nevertheless evidenced his kind heart.

Building Bridges In Asia

Building Bridges In Asia


Matt, who is a senior engineer with Baulderstone Hornibrook, has recently re-located to Ho Chi Minh City where he is working on a major bridge to divert traffic away from the city centre. While Matt builds bridges overseas his children are keeping up the associations with Sydney uni and the rowing clubs. This year Mattt’s daughter Nell is starting Arts at Sydney and after coxing at PLC is hoping to cox one of our Women’s eights at the State Championships this year.

Matt sends this report on the project in Vietnam.


Enter Matt

This bridge will be similar to the Anzac Bridge (which we built). Not many photos yet because we have only just finished the piling and we have now started going upwards. I attach two photos of the first of the two main pile caps. The two legs of the main tower are about to start (the two green boxes).

The bridge is located at the southern end of Ho Chi Minh City, and will allow a ring road around the city so that trucks no longer pass through the centre of the city. Our contract is a design and construct contract. It took four years to negotiate the contract which is worth US$105 million, and it will take three years to construct the bridge. Contract completion is due in December 2009, and we will beat that date. The project is financed with export credit finance (including finance from EFIC), it is a private sector infrastructure project, and a BOOT (build, own, operate, transfer) all three of which are firsts for Vietnam.

I attach a photo of our site office when we opened it (just to prove that I was actually here) (red is a lucky colour, that’s a pig in the middle of the table), and also the closest thing I have come to rowing so far.”

The photo atatched is of the site and there is a photo in the gallery of Matt at the opening of the project office.