History of ANA
In 1920 a group of rowers from different clubs became disgruntled with "imported" rowers, that is from Britain and Europe, coming in and taking all the places in the top crews. These rowers formed a new club which was affiliated with the Australian Natives Association (ANA) Aquatic Club. The definition of "native" was that members were born in Australia and this was a requirement of membership (more information of Australian Natives Association can be found here).
The rowing club was initially housed on Riverside Drive in the Aquatic Club headquarters near Barrack St in the city. The original rowers included several members of the WA Interstate Eight crew (now King’s Cup). The initial boat fleet consisted of two fours built for the club and no oars. The reason being that the oars had to be imported from England and were delayed in transit. Despite this inconvenience ANA still managed to win the Maiden Pair, Junior Pair, Maiden Four and Junior Four in the inaugural year of the club.
In 1923 the ANA Ladies Rowing Club was formed, prompting a revival of ladies rowing in WA. Prior to that, WA was the only state not represented in the ladies races at the National Championships, even when the event was held in WA.
ANA won the Championship Pennant in the 1960-61 racing season. Tragically, the Aquatic Club boat shed was destroyed by fire in 1961, and the uninsured ANA lost all boats, equipment and memorabilia.
The novice VIII stayed together, using borrowed boats from other clubs in the area - Wests, Swans and Perth. After a period of time, foundation members and the Browne Brothers from Brownes Dairy purchased two new training fours. This was the start of our new fleet. Eventually ANA was allocated a section of the Canning Bridge headquarters.
Now relocated at Canning Bridge, the club began to rebuild its boat fleet. Conditions at Canning were cramped, with no space to expand. However the rowers continued to compete successfully, winning several Championship Pennants.
In 1992, the club made the controversial decision to move to its present location in Bayswater. This was a very divisive issue, as many members lived close to the Canning location. The club lost most of its membership base in the move so was forced to rebuild for the second time in 30 years. However, the focus at this time was to rebuild the membership rather than the boat fleet.
The move to Bayswater has proved to be a visionary decision. The club’s current location offers unparalleled water, space for massive expansion of the boat fleet and proximity to a population otherwise unexposed to rowing.
And, as they say, the rest is history!
As ANA celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2020, if anyone has any memorabilia or information on our history, we would love to hear from you. Please contact the Secretary.