“THE BEEFSTEAKERS” A Lesson in Rowing History

In 1932, during the depression years, a crew, which was mainly self-financed, represented The University of Western Australia in the Intervarsity Regatta on the Huon River in Tasmania.  Unable to afford a reserve or to take their coach on the trip, they were taken in hand by former Australian Sculling Champion GA Westbrook, and won the race by over five lengths.

Before leaving Western Australia, a relative of one of the crew members arranged a beef-steak luncheon for the crew at the Court Hotel, at which several well known rowing identities were present.  They insisted on sharing the cost with their host, and from this simple beginning germinated the idea that anonymous well-wishers would host luncheons to all crews representing Western Australia and on other appropriate occasions so that crews competing beyond the State should experience a strong sense of moral support to boost them in their endeavours.

In the thirties many enthusiastic well wishers and Club Members invaded the luncheons and were accepted at cost.  After the war, only four of the original Beefsteakers were left, and a friendly pressure brought their anonymous numbers up to the maximum of twelve – a rowers dozen.

Many prominent citizens have honoured the crews over the years by their presence, and all Clubs and the Association are always represented.  Informality is the keynote, and after the Loyal Toast comes the Spirit of Rowing, followed by the presentation of the crews, who are toasted by the gathering, which is now a breakfast.