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Our History

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The New Norfolk Regatta Association held the first Boxing Day Regatta in 1854 on the River Derwent at New Norfolk, Tasmania. Rowing was a popular event on the program. In the 1860s, six steamboats were needed to ferry people from Hobart up to New Norfolk in the River Derwent for the Regatta, with spectators reaching 20,000 in the early 1900s.


Shelter provided by surrounding hills at New Norfolk results in ideal flat water conditions on the River Derwent for much of the time. The community need for a rowing club was satisfied in 1928 when New Norfolk Rowing Club was founded by Dr David I Fitzpatrick, captain and stroke of the first eight.

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The Hon. LM Shoobridge, MLC presented the NNRC Maiden Eight crew: E. Young (bow), J. Turner, M. Flynn, R. Doran, D. Triffett, H.I Johnston, P. O’Keefe, A.T. Shelton (stroke) & coxed by T. Crooks with a silver cup on the occasion of their first win in the new boat “Fitzpatrick”.


 NNRC Women’s crew: Elvie Lawler (bow), Maisie. Doran, Eileen Russell, B. Young (stroke), coxed by T. Darcey, represented Tasmania in the Interstate Rowing Championships in South Australia in the Women’s Coxed Four. They were victorious in the race and took out the Ulva Trophy.

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NNRC Champion Lightweight Junior Four was stroked by Noel Browning with Robbie Dixon, Geoff Nichols, Terry Philpott, cox Daryl Cashion and coach G. Brooks. The crew won the Men’s Lightweight Four races at the NNRC, Franklin, Lindisfarne, Southern Tasmanian Rowing Assoc., Royal Hobart, Glenorchy, Tamar and Devonport Regattas, and the State Championship.


NNRC’s Senior Eight, stroked by D. Ransley with K. Braslin, R. Bently, J. Windsor, D. Rainbird, Robin Nossiter, R. Oakley, and K. Williams in the bow were coxed by Woody Brown and coached by Terry Triffitt. This crew recorded a win at the Sandy Bay Regatta. This was the first win in NNRC history for an NNRC Senior Eight.

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In 1978, a volunteer effort built a clubhouse next to the old shed. In 1988, a steel frame was fabricated around the old fruit shed.  Steel cladding was then secured, and the old structure was pulled down from within, a mammoth task. The shed provided room for the expanding fleet.


In 1990, the Derwent Valley Railway line running behind NNRC on Rocks Road was closed when floods and declining usage made repairs uneconomical. Log trucks and other traffic to and from the News Print Mill at Boyer travelled on Rocks Road and passed between the NNRC shed and the river. Thoughts of moving NNRC to a safer site on the Esplanade were conceived. Increased traffic along Rocks Road then created serious safety issues for NNRC rowers and families.


NNRC/Ogilvie High School crew of Elisse McWhirter, Kathryn Webb, Colleen O’Brien, Jess Wade, Clare Harding, Rebecca Andrews, Alison Hornsey, Claire Plunkett, cox Luke Dancey, coach Cliff Hutton, won the Under 16 Girls Eight at the Tasmanian Schools Championships at Lake Barrington. This was the first time a state school crew won this trophy.

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At the Tasmanian Rowing Championships, the NNRC’s Coach Roger Drummond saw his crew of Georgie Wells, Claire Shields, Alice Ayliffe, Kate Hornsey, Jacqui Drummond, Jo Burbury, Sara Lange, Liz Weldon win the Women’s Under 23 and Women’s Senior Eight. This Senior Women’s Eight win was another first for NNRC and a significant milestone in NNRC history.


NNRC won its first State Pennant in 75 years, including 10 State Championships. Senior Oarswomen Kate Hornsey and Claire Shields won 17 Gold Medals between them.

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NNRC’s Kerry Hore, Kate Hornsey and Anthony Edwards represented Australia in rowing at the Beijing Summer Olympic Games.


At the summer Olympics in London, NNRC’s Kerry Hore, Kate Hornsey and Anthony Edwards represented Australia. Kate brought home a Silver medal in the Women’s pair.

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The Rocks Road traffic made up of local residents in the expanding New Norfolk community and log trucks bound for the near-by paper mill caused increased road hazards to NNRC. A funding campaign was launched in Dec 2014. Early in 2018, Federal, State and Local Government funding was secured for construction of the NNRC-Derwent Valley Boat House (DVBH). The Derwent Valley Council (DVC) facilitated the building of the new home for the NNRC by providing land on the Esplanade. This required demolition of the old caretaker residence, formerly known as the ‘Pidgeon’s Tea Gardens Café and Hobart Tourist Resort’, near the caravan park. Building approval was granted by DVC in December 2018.


Site work on the NNRC-DVBH commenced in April 2019.  In July, the lower concrete slab was poured. Many hours of NNRC volunteer effort in project and site management and related works facilitated this huge project. In November 2019, the beloved home of the NNRC since 1928 at 44 Rocks Road was put on the market.


On the 23rd March 2020, because of the COVID-19 global pandemic, Rowing Australia called a halt to all rowing. The Tasmanian All Schools Regatta, the National Rowing Championships in Sydney, the NNRC Masters’ Regatta, the Tasmanian Masters’ and the Australian Masters’ Rowing Championships scheduled to take place at Lake Barrington, Tasmania were all cancelled along with many other important community events.


Despite the global pandemic, building of the NNRC-DVBH continued relatively smoothly. The NNRC moved its fleet and possessions to the new NNRC-DVBH at 5 Page Avenue on the Esplanade in August 2020.  The NNRC-DVBH was officially opened by Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AC, Governor of Tasmania on 23 January 2021. NNRC looks forward to enjoying its beautiful new and safer home on the Esplanade for at least the next 100 years.

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