Rowing back into history

They call themselves a “bunch of old blokes” but when Keith Coldwell and fellow Port Adelaide Rowing Club members hit the water this weekend, they’ll make history rather than reminisce about it.

The team of eight veterans, aged in their 70s and 80s, will compete in the inaugural Australia Day Regatta at Cruickshank’s Sands on Saturday. The regatta is the first to be held in the Inner Harbour since the 1940s.

“It’s really exciting because back in the early days, the Port Adelaide Club New Year’s Day Regatta was a major feature of the Port,” said club secretary Christina Hagger, 56, from Burnside. “History books that upwards of 20,000 people flocked down to watch.”

The new Australia Day event will see more than 60 boats, including some interstate crews, compete in 35 events including 350 metre and 1000 metre races.

Crews will compete for the Grand Challenge Cup — which dates back to 1881 and is on loan from the SA Maritime Museum.

Mr Coldwell, 85, from Alberton, joined Port Adelaide Rowing Club in 1945, and he holds high hopes for his teammates.

“I think we’ve got some very good crews down there at the moment,” he said. Mr Coldwell’s son Ashly, 53, his grandson, Matthew Nielsen, 14, and son-in-law (and club president) Mike Nielsen will also compete.

Source: The Advertiser
Katie Spain
January 24, 2013