The Passing of Don Dudgeon

Don Dudgeon one of Richmond Rowing Club’s greatest members passed away on Saturday 23 July after a brief illness in hospital. Don was very influential at the club as an athlete through the 1950’s and 1960’s and then as an administrator and coach during the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s. Don was in someways a controversial character, but his love and passion for the Richmond Rowing club was extraordinary and his dedication to the development of the sport, in particular sculling is legendary.
Don was one of the greatest scullers the club has produced, representing the Victoria four times in the President’s cup and rowing in countless national and international regatta’s during his competitive rowing career. After retiring from major competition, Don continued to make his mark on the sport in masters rowing and through coaching and mentoring athletes along the Yarra River including a number of world championship and Olympic level athletes.
As an administrator, Don served Richmond Rowing Club over several decades in a number of roles including president, captain, secretary, treasurer and general committee member and was a long serving president of the Victorian Amateur Sculling Association.
Very much a traditionalist, Don was a great believer in the old methods and continued to row with timber macon oars in his immaculate Sykes timber single and double sculls well after carbon fiber boats and big blades became the benchmark in the sport. Don’s knowledge of rowing was extra ordinary, and his ability to rig a boat was second to none, but unfortunately for most difficult to follow, as his measurements were always calculated in imperial which was the mark of the man and his methods.
Don was a great mentor and friend to me and many others over a number of years. He provided me guidance and support during my competitive rowing career and as a coach and administrator of the club. There will be many words spoken about Don in the coming weeks as people reflect back on the life of the great man and his passing will bring much sadness to a number of people who knew him well. He will be deeply missed.
Don leaves behind his beautiful wife Mariee and three children Julia, Greg and Stuart.
Simon Crunden