Rowing Australia is saddened to learn of the passing of Olympian, Graeme ‘Mick’ K Allan. He was McVilly-Pearce pin number 107.
An Olympic and Commonwealth Games representative, Mick was a member of the Mosman and Sydney Rowing Clubs. He was introduced to the sport by his best mate Stuart Evans and his brother Bruce. The trio became known as the ‘Novice 3’, rowing two at a time in a tub pair while the other waited for a turn.
“At first, we were just mucking about, and just rowed around the harbour but then (Stuart’s father) Fred began to coach us,” Mick recalled for the Mosman Centenary (as cited at Australian Rowing History).
Teaming up with John Holmes, the trio became a four and experienced a successful 1954 Sydney season. Fred moved them into a maiden eight and the crew won all races through the autumn of 1955.
It wasn’t long before Mick was preparing to make his debut for Australia at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, Wales. Competing in the seven seat of the Men’s Eight, Mick won a silver medal at just 20 years of age.
Mick was selected to represent Australia at the Rome 1960 and Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games. On Olympic debut, the crew placed fifth in the Men’s Coxed Four. Four years later, remaining in the two seat of the Men’s Coxed Four, Mick and the crew placed 10th.
“We thought we had some show in ’60,” he recalled. “We made it into the final, but still didn’t know much about the rest of the world. Your first time up there, with no competition leading up to it was very hard,” he said.
Mick’s association with the sport or rowing continued long after his retirement. A carpenter by trade, he would attend Sydney shed every week to repair and maintain boats.
In 2012, Mick was presented with the Rusty Robertson MBE Award. This Award is presented to an individual or group of individuals who have made significant and sustained contributions to the endeavours and objects of Rowing NSW.
Sadly, Mick passed away on Saturday 23 October. He will be dearly missed.
Rowing Australia sends its deepest condolences to Mick’s family during this difficult time.
For more on Mick’s life, please visit Australian Rowing History
With thanks to Andrew Guerin