Henley, eat your heat out! Our colonial forefathers certainly knew how to stage a successful regatta if these early photos are anything to go by. A tribute to those English roots no doubt. Grandeur and a sense of occasion are very much in evidence here. I mean – check out that clubhouse!
No utilitarian concrete boathouses here. And if you thought the crowds at the recent Rowing World Championships at Karapiro were impressive, the folk lining the river in this 1893 photograph seem to be enjoying the spectacle just as much.
The photographs show the home for this popular sport to have been near the intersection of Fitzgerald Avenue and Kilmore Street – not the iconic Kerr’s Reach we are all familiar with. In fact the move to the Reach didn’t take place until 1959/60. Recent earthquake damage and overcrowding have put the long-term future of Kerr’s Reach in doubt as a home for rowing in Christchurch. So armchair rowers – where would you site a new rowing venue in Christchurch?
If you would like to know more about the history of rowing and its part in early Canterbury life check out Running rowing by Eddie Martin.