(A more detailed club history can also be viewed online at History of Australian Rowing)
The founder of the Lord Somers and Power House organisation was The Right Hon. Lt-Col. Arthur Herbert Tennyson Cocks,K.C.M.G., D.S.O., M.C. sixth Baron of Somers of Evesham in the Peerage of Great Britain, sixth baronet of Dumbleton and Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire.
Lord Somers, together with the first Camp Chief Doctor Cecil Gordon McAdam, had a concept of running camps which bring together youth from all walks of life to develop greater tolerance and understanding.
The Annual camps, which bears the name of Lord Somers, was initiated by him at Anglesea in 1929 and transferred in 1931 to its permanent location at Somers.
The clubs origin stems back to members of the Lord Somers Camp and Power House organization seeing the need to provide sporting activities for ex-campers to be involved in after they left Lord Somers Camp. Many other clubs such as Football and Athletics had already been formed and so some ex-school rowers banded together to commence the Power House Rowing Club.
The organization clearly needed a permanent base. In early 1932 Dr. McAdam approached the Albert Park Committee, on behalf of the Lord Somers Camp Committee, to ask for permission to erect a boatshed for the Camp’s newly formed rowing club. This was agreed, subject to the plans being approved, which they were at the next meeting, and by June 1932 the building on the eastern side of the lake was open. By December Dr McAdam was requesting permission to construct an extension to the rowing club building, to cope with extra boats and provide a gymnasium.
The Power House, as it was called, in fact already housed a growing number of sports and activities and social events which all required far more space. The committee agreed, but said that no more building would be permitted on this side of the lake. Local residents were unhappy about the proliferation of rather run down boatsheds and club rooms on this side of the lake. Throughout the rest of the decade, these premised were indeed a “power house” of activity – a microcosm of activities in the park with athletics, basketball, rugby, baseball, lacrosse, rowing, waterpolo, boxing, wrestling, hockey and also an active dramatic club.
The rowing club was first officially formed in 1933 under the Captaincy of Lindsay Orr, who remained Captain till 1939. The club boated in Maiden and Novice Eights and fours during that time winning at various regattas. Probably the clubs first most prestigious win was in the Australian Henley Maiden Eights of 1935.
The Crew was as follows :
- Stroke: H.M Hutter
- Seven: F.W. Hiddlestone
- Six: R.G. Luff
- Five: R.W.E. Manser
- Four: W.J. Ramsbottom
- Three: W.M. Wakeham
- Two: W.J. Tutt
- Bow: V.C. Muller
- Cowswain: J. Batron Jnr
- Coach: J. Batron Snr
The next major win was in Senior Fours at the Australian Henley in 1939 where Power House won the Challenge Cup.
The Crew was as follows :
- Stroke: H. Barnett
- Three: H. Lambie
- Two: Lindsay Orr
- Bow: W. Glenn
- Cowswain: Tony Beattie
The club in 1939 ceased operations for World War II. Many of the rowers joined the Power House Regiment which was being formed among the other Lord Somers and Power House Clubs.
– Lindsay Orr
Lord Somers had sent a copy of his own personal coat-of-arms to the Camp Executive in December 1934 recommending its use in the formulation of an honour pocket. From this a special Power House blazer was designed and the system of blazer awards was instigated.
To this day the honour pocket is still awarded to individuals who perform above and beyond the course of normal service. The crest of the honour pocket has the Power House Motto `Prodesi Quam Conspici’ which in English translates to ‘Service without Recognition’.