First World Champion
… in any sport
Commemorating 100 years since
the passing of Ned Trickett
In June 1877, the great Australian rower, Edward (Ned) Trickett made his first defence of the World Championship Sculling Title he had won the year before on the Thames in England, with another spirited win this time on a course on the Parramatta River in Sydney. A crowd reported to be more than 70,000 lined both banks of the river to watch the race; equivalent to one third of Sydney’s then population!
When Trickett won the World Championship in London in 1876, he became the first Australian to be a World Champion in any sport. From this distance in time, it can be difficult for us to appreciate the galvanising impact that Trickett’s World Championship win had on the emerging sense of a separate and proud Australian identity.
To celebrate Trickett’s first defence (which he won against Irish-Australian and long-time friend and respected rival Michael Rush) the Illustrated Sydney News published a large fold-out ‘birds-eye view’ map of the Parramatta River, showing the race route. Unusually, this map looks West along the River towards the then rapidly growing settlement of Parramatta. Very few of these beautiful maps have survived; the Australian National Maritime Museum has one, as does the NSW State Library.