We celebrated our 150th anniversary during the 2011 year –but no-one could have foreseen the tribulations we suffered at that time. Three major earthquakes that wreaked death and havoc in the city forced us to re-assess our programme time and time again, and finally we were forced to celebrate on a much lesser scale than originally planned.
The book we had begun to plan was shelved as our funding proposals to the banks and others, naturally were overtaken by more urgent needs in the city. We considered it would be insensitive to launch our proposed Foundation Fund to our members – many of whom had suffered financially and had serious housing issues. A paucity of any forthcoming sponsorship, despite earnest endeavours to capture some, forced us to lower our sights on such things as an expanded programme, publicity and memorabilia.
Despite having to re-organise our complete programme on a few occasions as venue after venue was seriously damaged, the excellent Jubilee Committee supporting me, of Brian Neill, John Wheelans, James Sheehan, Basil Pettigrew, Ross Smith and our indefatigable secretary, Jim Sunderland, still managed to organise an event befitting our proud club.
Nearly 150 registered for the celebrations held 16-18 September, 2011. We had a “meet and greet” informal get-together on the Friday, a very pleasant fun regatta and barbecue (with the kind co-operation of the Cure Boating Club) on the Kaiapoi River on Saturday in perfect conditions, and that night, the formal dinner/dance at the Chateau on the Park (one of the few hotels not badly damaged). On the Sunday a few hardy souls met at Pomeroy‟s Bar, right opposite our original Fitzgerald Avenue site, for a nostalgic ”elevenses” session to round off our celebrations. It proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable weekend where we relived old memories, put some dandy combinations on the water, and where, led by our patron Evan McCalman, gave a lusty rendition of our club song.
We face enormous challenges ahead as our Kerrs Reach clubhouse, first devastated by the „quakes, then finally brought down by arson – ironically fifty years since our shift from our town site to the Reach - but with the generous and costly site preparation provided to the clubs by Fulton Hogan, we‟ll have temporary premises ready for the start of our 151st season.
Eddie Martin Chairman, Jubilee Committee