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Willoughby

1 Apr 2022
Old Boy News

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Rowing

Following the recent article titled Still Rowing Strong, it would be remiss not to also share the story of the new racing four in which the 1st IV of 1922 won the school’s first Head of the River. Generously donated by Mr A.D. (Albert Durer) Alexander, Willoughby was made of red cedar planks, a blue fig keel and ribs and stays of spruce and ash. It was in recognition of the family’s generosity that Canon Morris named the boat Willoughby, a selection near Barcaldine which had been taken up by the Alexander family in 1904. Following the victory, Albert Alexander donated another new set of oars so the boys could be presented with those they had used for their victory. One hundred years later, in recognition of that first GPS Head of the River win, one of Churchie’s recently acquired open VIIIs also bears the name Willoughby.

The Alexander family association with Churchie now spans four generations. The three sons of Albert Alexander were at Churchie in the 1920s: Bill (1923), Ron (1926) and Alister (1927). Bill and Ron started their education at Melbourne Grammar and then went to Churchie, whereas Alister started at Churchie prior to his older siblings. All three were impressive sportsmen and competed at the highest level in many GPS school sports. In context, Bill and Alister rowed in the 1st IV in 1923 and Alister in 1924 and 1925. Bill’s son Don (1956) attended Churchie from 1949 to 1955 and is the father of Ken (1985), Bruce (1987) and Lachlan (1989). Bruce’s son Will (2017) is now a proud fourth generation Old Boy. Willoughby, the property, remains in the family to this day and is managed by Ken.

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