The heights of achievement and
adulation experienced by Ned,
sat uncomfortably on the shoulders
of an essentially modest man
Like many elite sports people then and now, Australia’s first ever World Champion in any sport, Ned Trickett, had a lifelong struggle with the ‘black dog’ of depression. With the help of others, his own strength, and his faith he overcame its potentially disastrous effects to live a full life – beyond his incredible sporting achievements. In acknowledgement of this, Rafter Limited Editions and the Trickett family are donating a proportion of each sale to the Black Dog Institute.
By becoming the World Sculling Champion in 1876 Trickett became Australia’s first World Champion – in any sport. When he returned victorious to Sydney, it was reported that more than 25,000 people turned out at Circular Quay to welcome him home and celebrate his achievement.
The following year, more than 70,000 people (equivalent to about one third of Sydney’s population at the time!) lined the banks of the Parramatta River to witness Ned successfully defend his title.
From this and subsequent victories in Australia and around the world, Ned became a fairly well-to-do publican but, like thousands of other Australians, he lost everything in the Banking crisis of 1893. This was a very bleak time for him, when his lifelong struggle with the ‘black dog’ of depression almost overwhelmed him; creating thoughts of suicide.
A man of great character – on and off the water – his strength, his faith, and the good fortune of a chance meeting with someone who remembered his glory days, resulted in him securing a job at the Department of Customs that he would retain until his retirement in 1916.
The legacy of Ned’s remarkable rowing achievements lives on in the annual Trickett’s Regatta in Sydney, as well as his legendary status in Australia’s rowing community. However, it seems fitting that he should also be remembered for his victory over the ‘black dog’ of depression; the full life he was able to live beyond the incredible highs and devastating lows of his great sporting achievements (an all-too-familiar fate we still see in elite sports people today), as well as the terrible personal consequences of the 1893 Banking crisis.