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Vale Sir Don Rowlands

Rowing Australia is saddened to report that Sir Don Rowlands passed away yesterday (18 March 2015) in Auckland, New Zealand. Sir Don was aged 89 and just last week the Governor General of New Zealand visited him in hospital and conferred his Knighthood on him, and in January of this year, Rowing Australia’s John Boultbee travelled to New Zealand to invest him as a member of the Order of Australia.

As a rower, Sir Don was a Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist, and five times New Zealand Champion Single Sculler. He was a selector for New Zealand for many years and held several roles in NZ Rowing, and in particular was the Chair of the World Championships in 1978 and Patron of the World Championships in 2010. He was Vice President of the New Zealand NOC.

Sir Don received his honourary AM for his hard work and contribution to the sport of rowing having been the FISA Continental Representative for Oceania 1974 to 1992, a position later held by the Australian Olympic Committee’s John Coates.

Sir Don assisted Rowing Australia greatly in obtaining the hosting of the 1990 World Rowing Championships and advised extensively on the creation of the course that was to the host event, Lake Barrington, Tasmania. Sir Don later went on to help with the establishment of the Sydney International Regatta Centre course for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, a course which is regularly utilised for major competition still.

Vale Sir Don Rowlands


Sir Don Rowlands, centre, received his honorary AM in January 2015 from RA's John Boultbee (second left)

Sir Don Rowlands, centre, received his honorary AM in January 2015 from RA’s John Boultbee (second left)