Roger Moore was an integral part of rowing, in Australia and internationally. He contributed enormously to the sport in all its facets. Paul Guest is quoted as saying ‘I love rowing; it is the sport of kings. Those who have never rowed could never understand.’ He was obviously talking about Roger.
Roger had an important connection with SUBC having coached at our club during a work posting to Sydney and coaching the winning Intervarsity Lightweight Four in Perth in 1968.
He started as a cox of the Geelong College VII in the 1954 APS Head of the River on the Barwon River. Their long-time coach, Albert Bell, was his first influence.
After leaving school he rowed at Yarra Yarra RC stroking Victoria’s lightweight IV in the Penrith Cup in 1961.
He began coaching soon after. Early crews were Adelaide University Boat Club’s VIII at intervarsity in 1961 in Brisbane, the Yarra Yarra coxless, and coxless fours in the first National Championships on Lake Wendouree in 1962 and the Australian coxless four at the second World Rowing Championships in Bled in 1966.
I first met Roger in 1968 when he moved to Sydney. He and John Matheson coached SUBC’s first winning intervarsity lightweight IV, which consisted of Paul Rowe, Philip Sharp, Jim Cowlishaw, Tony Eyers, and John Boultbee (cox). We trained for six weeks. We learnt how to move a boat efficiently, smoothly, and comfortably.
We stayed in a caravan besides the Canning River course that had been used for the 1962 Commonwealth Games Rowing. To make weight, Paul Rowe could only eat eggs with some effect. Our theme song was ‘Your Red Scarf Matches Your Eyes’ sung by Guy Marks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dh5oaxyMt0I if you really need to.
Helen Roger’s future wife and Louise, John’s future wife were best friends. At one stage Roger lived with Paul and John Rowe in Glebe.
Paul Rowe represented Australia at the World Championships in 1975 and coached Commonwealth (Games) Regatta, World Championships and Olympic Games crews. Tony, Jim, and Philip became medical specialists and John a lawyer and sports administrator.
Roger moved back to Melbourne and had outstanding success with Monash University crews winning intervarsity, state and national championships. He was made the only Senior Coach Emeritus at Adelaide University Boat Club.
Roger was a Member of the Board of Rowing Australia (1992-1994) and a National Selector (1978-1980).
In 1992, Roger and Helen had to go home from the Barcelona Olympics when Roger’s father died. They returned to see two famous rowing victories on Lake Banyoles. A couple of years ago, Tim McLaren (who had been coached by Paul Rowe) told Roger that he did not have a photo of him with Peter Antonie and Stephen Hawkins. Roger gave him a photo.
There were many sayings attributed to Roger. A few:
"Rowing is a simple sport stuffed up by experts"
"Go out there and thrill me."
“You need a stable platform and three things. Clearance, clearance, and clearance and the most important item is clearance.”
He liked to watch the current German Men’s VIII. They had clearance when rating 44 at the start. He thought their stroke was as good as anyone he had seen. He would watch all the international races and Henley. He liked the outstanding St Paul’s School Boat Club VIII of a couple of years ago and would tell you to listen to what Martin Sauer said (cox German VIII).
I would ring him every two weeks. We would talk about rowing and old friends. He was particularly close to David Bishop, Kerry Jelbart, Mike Page, Henry Newlands, Dean Clayton and Chris Dane.
He used to sip wine rather than drink it – a necessity as he worked in the industry. ‘I am having a thimble.’ He would send delicious cleanskin riesling that was from Grosset. He sold wine under the name of ‘Argy-Bargy’ - a name that said so much about him.
He bore his final months with courage and awareness. It has been a privilege to know him. My condolences to Helen and their daughters Melissa, Louise and Yvette.