Newsletter - Edition 14-2015

Genazzano Celebrates 30 Years of Rowing

On Friday 4 September, we celebrated a historical milestone in Genazzano’s history. Our current Rowing community came together with our past inaugural members to celebrate 30 years of Rowing at Genazzano.


On the banks of the Yarra River, in the Genazzano/Xavier Rowing Sheds, the evening brought together a network of young and old, to reminisce and honour the achievements of Gen Rowers.

Patricia Cowling, College Principal, opened the evening with a magnitude of thanks to those who helped Genazzano Rowing become what it has today.

“Genazzano Rowing has grown and thrived as a formidable competitor in girls’ schoolgirl rowing in Victoria. This built on a wonderful and enthusiastic start during the first 15 years. So many of you are part of that story.”

Mrs Cowling highlighted the benefits that rowing offers to Genazzano students – “the discipline of training, the teamwork, the need for perseverance and continuing to push boundaries, and to work to one’s personal best.”

A snapshot from her speech is below:

“It is not an easy thing to push yourselves to achieve the results that you have and you have each shown great courage, fortitude and faithfulness to one another, to Gen Rowing and to our College in all that you have undertaken and achieved, with mindfulness, prayer, the gift of solititude and peace of an early morning on the river that rowing brings.

Success only comes about through commitment, passion and hard work – and the student wellbeing and development of potential within a climate and a culture of excellence.  So for us, first and foremost, participation is our greatest aim. We want you to have goals in life and the courage and the confidence to achieve them.

The Rowing community also demonstrates the companionship that is at the heart of Genazzano values. Nothing on the banks of the Barwon at the HOSG can match the camaraderie, energy of our supporters or of our parents for solidarity, fidelity, enthusiasm and friendship”


30 Years of Rowing at Genazzano book

Anthony Jackson, father of Rowing co-captain, Ciara Jackson (Year 12) and integral member of the Genazzano Rowing community, is currently in the process of authoring the book, 30 Years of Rowing at Genazzano . This book commemorates the milestone, along with celebrating the achievements, memories and experiences of the past and present Genazzano Rowers. We invite you to read Anthony’s speech below, outlining his motivation for writing the book.


Anthony Jackson’s speech:

Anniversaries are important times to stop and reflect. In the case of Genazzano Rowing Club it is to reflect on the legacy that many hardworking people have created within the Rowing fraternity for the students in the future to enjoy.

I have experienced first-hand the transformative nature rowing has had on my daughter Ciara. As such, I thought it important that we document the contributions made over the last 30 years by many people to develop the unique Genazzano Rowing culture.

The project started off as a simple exercise to document how rowing at Genazzano started in 1985. However, as I gathered information it became obvious there was a need to tell the stories of those dedicated individuals involved.

The pioneering parents of the Eighties that started with nothing but a dream for their daughters. The Hawthorn Rowing Club through Dr Dennis Bourke, Lloyd Cosgrove, Bob Gladman and others who opened their doors to schoolgirls rowing and particularly Gen, Xavier College for supporting Gen in the construction of this magnificent facility and the support it has provided over the years.

The College itself through its Principals from Sister Margaret Mary Kennedy who had the courage to fight Head Office to have rowing introduced as an official College Sport to Trish Cowling who has been a strong supporter of the Rowing Program and particularly fought so hard for the right for the College to have its own rowing facility.

The dedication of the rowing coaches and staff who instilled a set of Genazzano values of excellence and commitment that their students took with them on their life journey. The parents who volunteered their time freely for the benefit of not only their own daughters but future generations of Genazzano rowers.

But really the fullness of our story is of course the girls. Without exception, all of the past students I have met and interviewed through this process are outstanding individuals. The values they exhibit and positive memories of their rowing experience is the real reason we need to stop to reflect on the 30 years of Gen Rowing.

For it is because of the hard work of all those before us that we can be so proud of the Alumnae that have graduated into the world from Genazzano Rowing.

That is the story that must be told.

The 30 Years of Rowing at Genazzano can be pre-ordered online.

Special Rowing Awards

The highlight of the night was the presentation of the five special Rowing Awards. These were established this year, celebrating the achievements of members of our Rowing community.


The Lloyd Cosgrove Perpetual Trophy – accepted by Lloyd Cosgrove’s nephew for recognition of Club Person of the Year.


The Rachael Kininmonth Perpetual Trophy – awarded to Rachael for recognition of Best Senior Rower. Rachael was unable to attend the celebration. 

The Sarah Banting Perpetual Trophy – awarded to Sarah for recognition of Best Senior Coxswain. Sarah is currently competing in the European World Championships, therefore was unable to attend the celebration. The award was accepted by her sister.


The Mieke Boynton Perpetual Trophy – awarded to Mieke for recognition of Best Junior Rower. We invite you to read Mieke’s acceptance speech below.

Mieke Boynton’s acceptance speech:

When I think back over my years of Rowing at Genazzano, there are many memories.

There are team-mates and coaches. There are wins and losses. There are the joys of a perfectly-balanced boat... and the sounds of the morning.

The pain of blisters; the freezing cold; the scorching heat; and the mental battles that you go through in every race.

But these are not what I value most about Rowing at Gen.

What I value most are the lessons I learned. That you don't have to be 6'1" to be the best. That big successes are only achieved through small daily goals, with each small goal just as important as the big one. That if you establish good habits (like getting up at 5am every morning), you make life a lot easier for yourself. That you never achieve success on your own.

Be grateful for your family, friends, team-mates, coaches and teachers; because without them, success is impossible. That you don't have to win the Head of the Schoolgirls to get the most out of rowing. The personal development - your physical strength, mental grit, motivation, dedication, time-management, perseverance - these qualities are long-lasting. Life-long.

And although the glory of a win will fade, these personal attributes stay with you for life, regardless of whether you go on to become an Olympian... or a photographer.

Thank you, Genazzano. Thank you to my team-mates, my coaches and teachers. Thank you for this amazing honour.

I hope the Gen Rowing Program will continue to develop young women so they can go on to be the best that they can be.


The Van Prooyen Family – accepted by Dani Karis and Paul Van Prooyen, acknowledging their invaluable contribution to the Genazzano Rowing Club.


With Thanks

Thanks go to the following people for their involvement in Genazzano Rowing for the past 30 years:

  • Sr Margaret Mary Kennedy fcJ, Principal when rowing commenced in 1985. Her foresight, vision and desire for only the best for our girls has led to the place of Genazzano in schoolgirls rowing that is the envy of many schools.
  • Sr Maryrose Dennehy fcJ
  • All Presidents of Gen Rowing. Present that night were many who have been part of rowing committees over the 30 years and while they cannot all be named, special thanks to past Presidents: Peter Stanley, Gerard Heaslip, Paul McQueen, Robert Wright, Kath Cantwell, Sandy Lodge and Vic Sibillin, as well as current President, Nicky Vergona.
  • Members of the Committee, and parents past and present. They have been wonderful to work with and for, and we value all that they do not only for their daughters but by extension for the ongoing advancement of our College as well.
  • The wonderful coaches: Jane Robinson, Brigette Carlisle and Suzann Andrews; Director of Sport, Matt Wesson as well as past Rowing Directors Alastair Isherwood, Connie Vanderwerp, Catherine Murphy.
  • Paul Van Prooyen, Genazzano’s first rowing coach.
  • Bob and Gwen Gladman, representing former staff member and relative of Lloyd Cosgrove.
  • Bill Clancy – chair of Council when rowing commenced.
  • Mrs Celia Clarke, wife of the late Dr Bernard Clarke.
  • Father Chris Middleton Rector of Xavier College, along with Frank Peck, the current Chair of Council, and Ms Maryanne Moore, the teacher in charge of rowing at Xavier.
  • Dr Chris Hayes
  • Mr John Kelly and Mark Glover, each outstanding Business Managers over our rowing history.
  • All coaches, rowers, staff and families who have contributed so much.

Photos of the evening

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