A SOCIAL rowing club from the state’s capital has taken its hobby from the Brisbane River to the waterways of outback Queensland on an epic tour totalling close to 2,500kms.

The Vikings Rowing Club, comprising working-age men of all vintages from around Brisbane, took a crew of 18 rowers and two boats to six water catchments in the space of just five days.

The trip was in lieu of what would have been the inaugural Outback Paddle Regatta at Longreach, which was scheduled for August but cancelled because of lockdowns.

Competition-grade, eight seat row boats made for an unusual sight at the Chinchilla Weir

“The regatta’s off but we held onto the idea of going up there for a row,” said club coach, Ian Mathieson. 

“One of our planners came up with the idea of rowing six rivers on the trip. It’s a bit of an outing.”

Mathieson joked that “as the coach I expected some serious rowing.”

First stop on the rowing adventure was at the Chinchilla Weir on the Condamine River catchment which, like all other destinations on the tour, had rarely (if ever) floated a competition grade eight seater row boat.

The convoy then travelled west to row on a private dam near Mitchell in the Maranoa River catchment, then the new artesian water park at Barcaldine, the Thomson River at Longreach, the Fairbairn Dam in the Nogoa River catchment near Emerald, and on the Dawson River at Taroom.

Rowers had to efficiently assemble and disassemble their boats at each of the six stops throughout their five-day journey

“There was a view to spending some money in the country as well,” Mathieson said.

“There’s a bit of commitment and dedication in it. We’d been planning it since early in the year.

“The main thing we had to watch out for was possible damage to the boat and not going too close the banks, where there might be snags or stumps.”

The Vikings Rowing Club was established about ten years ago by a group of parents of students of the Anglican Church Grammar School in Brisbane’s inner east.

The club has since expanded to involve men of all backgrounds from around Brisbane, as well as a few from rural Queensland areas who make it down to the city for the occasional row.

A total of 18 members of the Vikings Rowing Club took part in the tour. Fourth from the right is Chinchilla’s Ronald Thompson
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