History of the Essendon Rowing Club

The Essendon Rowing Club was founded in 1880 during a meeting held at Spong's Maribyrnong Bridge Hotel, a popular watering hole of the day.

The uniform of black with a red sash over the left shoulder was adopted at the foundation meeting as the club colours. These were the racing colours of the Fisher brothers who were among the Foundation Members of the club and after whom the “C.B Fisher Plate” was named and is still part of the annual Victorian horse racing calendar. Over the years other sporting bodies in the district have adopted this uniform but the rowing club claims to be the first to have done so.

At the rear of the Spong's Hotel was Spong's Boat Shed from which the first members of the club hired the boats in which they rowed. After a couple of years, the club built its own boatshed and clubrooms on land at the rear of Spong's Hotel and remained there until 1920. This original clubhouse was located just downstream of where the Maribyrnong Road Bridge stands today on the Maribyrnong side of the river.

In 1920, the club moved to its present location to a purpose-built timber clubhouse which was replaced in 1978 by today's brick building and was extended in 1984.

The Essendon Rowing Club had been formed as a men's rowing club. The Essendon Ladies Rowing Club was formed in 1926. The clubs were quite separate with their own memberships, clubhouses, boats and oars and competition through separate state associations. The two clubs merged in November 1986 and became incorporated at the same time to form Essendon Rowing Club Inc.

The Essendon Rowing Club has a long and proud record of success in rowing with many wins to its credit at all levels of competition including state and national championships. It also has a proud record of its members representing both Victoria and Australia at interstate and international competition.

It is also a club steeped in the history of its time from which has grown firmly held values and traditions. A look at the club's honour boards will show the people for whom the club has been part of their lives. And a look at our membership list will show the strong fabric of family underpinning the club's future.

Welcome to one of Australia’s oldest and proudest rowing clubs.