Sunday, 25 October 2009

Searle's Monument

This monument is dedicated to the short but spectacular life of Henry Searle, one of
Australia’s greatest scullers, who died in 1889 at just 23. The column also marks the finish line where, a year earlier, Searle comprehensively defeated the world rowing champion.

From History of Australian Rowing website:

"In October 1888, after only 5 professional races in outriggers, Searle defeated Peter Kemp at Parramatta for the World Championship and a purse of £1000. After 4 more races in Australia, Searle went to England to meet the Canadian challenger William O'Connor. Searle easily defeated O'Connor on the famous Putney to Mortlake course on September 9, 1889, successfully defending his title.

"Unfortunately this was Searle's last race, as he contracted Typhoid on the sea voyage home and despite his excellent general health and fitness, he died in Melbourne on December 10. He was aged only 23.

"Just as most of Australia had followed Searle's meteoric rise to hero status, so they mourned him in his death. Huge crowds turned out for services in Melbourne, Sydney and finally at the funeral in Maclean. Crowds lined the streets wherever the cortège passed — it is estimated that 40,000 people lined Collins Street in Melbourne to pay their respects, with three or four times that many in Harris and George Streets in Sydney. (Estimates place the crowd as high as 170,000!)

"A broken marble column was erected on the Brothers Rocks in the Parramatta River. This point is the finish line of the course on which Searle defeated Peter Kemp for the world championship. This course became known as the "Ryde Bridge to Searle's Monument" course (3 miles, 176 yards).


  1. Now there's a piece of history I didn't know.
    As usual Sally more of my cities history you are filling in with fascinating photoes.
    I don't know if you knew but close to where you took the photoes at Gladesville Psych hospital there is a very haunting little wharf where they used to bring the psych patients by boat and lock them in a "resettling cell"overnight.
    We will have to add Drummoyne to your suburban list soon---when the agapanthus and the jackarandas are in their full bloom.
    Thanks again I enjoy your blog so much!

  2. Thanks for that. Really sad after all that hard work.

  3. Sydney's seaward Sally sadly saluted sensational sculler Searle!