JUNE 27, 1876

Ned on the Thames

By the mid 1870s Ned’s success had attracted the attention of Mr. James Punch, a well-know Sydney hotelier, himself a former skilled oarsman. Punch announced his intention to take Ned  to London to challenge the then World Sculling Champion, Joseph Henry Sadler. Punch had both the knowledge and experience to assess Ned’s potential  and in 1875, formed a committee to raise the necessary funds to take him to England for the challenge.

The race was on a course from Putney to Mortlake on the Thames (see above), and Ned won by approximately two and a half boat lengths, in 24 minutes 35 seconds.   By all accounts, the English were stunned by the result.  An outsider, not only a ‘colonial’ but the son of a convict had taken out the World Sculling Championship.  When he returned to Australia on the 9th November on board the steamship Zealandia, an estimated twenty-five thousand people turned up at Circular Quay to welcome him home. Ned Trickett’s achievement seemed to awaken in the colony’s population a great sense of pride in being Australian.

25,000 people greeted Trickett on his return to Australia. The population of Sydney was then 200,000 and assuming that most attendees were men, it equated to roughly one in every four men in Sydney attending.

“the first man not bred in England to win the great prize of the championship of the world who had won honour for the people of the whole of these colonies”.

With those words, the then Premier of NSW, the Hon. Sir John Robertson,  honoured Ned’s success in a formal ceremony, on board the SS Nemesis (the flagship for the day) following the annual Anniversary Regatta.  Ned was presented with  £900 which had been raised in appreciation of his success in London. 

The Hon. Sir John Robertson

The then Premier of New South Wales