Port Jackson Pullers : champion oarsmen of early Australia

    Australia had sporting champions before it had self-government.

    The earliest champions were watermen. A waterman’s trade was working small boats, and a waterman’s sport was racing them. In the many splendid bays and coves of Port Jackson, and along reaches of the Parramatta River, ‘pullers’ won their rowing laurels and (sometimes) made their fortune. Australia’s first six champion oarsmen are the stars of Port Jackson Pullers. These men led the way to the nation’s future dominance of the World Sculling Championship. Until now, any history of Australian sculling began in the year 1876, when Edward Trickett won the Championship of the Thames. But Trickett emerged from a well-organised aquatic sport which was flourishing on the waters of Port Jackson decades before he first stepped into a boat. John Brennan, George Mulhall, Thomas McGrath, Richard Green, William Hickey, and James Punch: six names that deserve honour in the world of rowing. Champions all, and all of humble origin, they fathered and furthered Australian professional sculling. Richard Green took it furthest of all – to the River Thames where, in 1863, he raced Britain’s best for the Championship of the World. Professional rowing was not established in Port Jackson without colour or controversy. In rough-and-tumble colonial times, good sportsmanship was an optional extra. Port Jackson Pullers revives and explores this vigorous, and occasionally villainous scene.

    With a Foreword by Scott Bennett.

    Click here to read an excerpt.

    Available in a signed, numbered, limited edition of 100 copies. Hardback, 270 pages, illustrated throughout, with a Glossary, Index and detailed Chapter Notes. ISBN 9780992475109. Book size 240mm x 170mm. Click the cover image to see an enlarged view.