Rowing Australia was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Tasmanian rowing stalwart, Jack Ellings this week. Jack passed away on 20 December 2016 after a long illness.
Jack commenced his rowing at Mersey Rowing Club in Devonport in 1965. During his time as a member, he established his rowing administrative skills taking the positions of both Treasurer and Secretary.
When his daughters commenced rowing, he joined Devonport’s Reeconian Rowing Club in 1989 and again assisted the club by taking on the position of Treasurer.
His administrative excellence and umpiring ability were well and truly forged by the time he became a member of the Tasmanian Rowing Council Committee in 1994. During his time on the Committee through to 2005, he undertook many volunteer roles including Administration Manager and President. It was only ill health that led to his retirement.
Jack chaired the 1997 Organising Committee for the Australian Rowing Championships at Lake Barrington. Given his skills in this area, he was appointed to the Rowing Australia regatta committee, a position he held for many years. In 1999, he was a member of the regatta committee for the Olympic trial regatta at SIRC and then became the SOCOG liaison officer for the umpires at the Sydney Olympics.
He was Tasmanian Councillor to the Australian Rowing Council from 1999 to 2004.
His election to President of the Tasmanian Rowing Council in 2001 did not stop his regatta work. In 2003, he managed both the Presidency as well as the administration and sponsorship roles of the Australian Championships. Further throughout these times, he was an active Tasmanian and Australian umpire.
In 2007, he was recognised for his superb contribution to sport by being awarded the Tasmanian Sporting Administration Award and was also elected a life member of Rowing Tasmania.
Whilst his exceptional administrative work for the sport was highly regarded, he was also strategic. One of his legacies was that jointly, with David Williams, he led the negotiations that led to the transfer of all the facilities at Lake Barrington to Rowing Tasmania. This has enabled Australia to maintain this world class venue as well as provide a superb regatta course for Tasmania.
The rowing achievements of Jack are but one part of him. He was always friendly – able to work with people and also enabling others to work with him. He always had a joke but was none too precious about taking the mickey out of people at the same time. He was a person for whom we all held great affection.
Jack, a great rowing administrator, who will be sadly missed.
With thanks to RA Board Director, Andrew Guerin.