The Passing of Don Dudgeon

Don Dudgeon one of Richmond Rowing Club’s greatest members passed away on Saturday 23 July after a brief illness in hospital. Don was very influential at the club as an athlete through the 1950’s and 1960’s and then as an administrator and coach during the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s. Don was in someways a controversial character, but his love and passion for the Richmond Rowing club was extraordinary and his dedication to the development of the sport, in particular sculling is legendary.
Don was one of the greatest scullers the club has produced, representing the Victoria four times in the President’s cup and rowing in countless national and international regatta’s during his competitive rowing career. After retiring from major competition, Don continued to make his mark on the sport in masters rowing and through coaching and mentoring athletes along the Yarra River including a number of world championship and Olympic level athletes.
As an administrator, Don served Richmond Rowing Club over several decades in a number of roles including president, captain, secretary, treasurer and general committee member and was a long serving president of the Victorian Amateur Sculling Association.
Very much a traditionalist, Don was a great believer in the old methods and continued to row with timber macon oars in his immaculate Sykes timber single and double sculls well after carbon fiber boats and big blades became the benchmark in the sport. Don’s knowledge of rowing was extra ordinary, and his ability to rig a boat was second to none, but unfortunately for most difficult to follow, as his measurements were always calculated in imperial which was the mark of the man and his methods.
Don was a great mentor and friend to me and many others over a number of years. He provided me guidance and support during my competitive rowing career and as a coach and administrator of the club. There will be many words spoken about Don in the coming weeks as people reflect back on the life of the great man and his passing will bring much sadness to a number of people who knew him well. He will be deeply missed.
Don leaves behind his beautiful wife Mariee and three children Julia, Greg and Stuart.
Simon Crunden

5 Replies to “The Passing of Don Dudgeon”

  1. How sad! Don was a legend – he taught so many of us how to row. I remember him working us so hard that we eventually started doing it properly because tired bodies save energy by rowing efficiently. Who knew? :} My condolences to his family and to RRC – thinking of you all and remembering the fun Don helped us have down there on the river. Kim Asher.

  2. Don was a memorable teacher in my life, (most) always patient, and one of the most generous people with his time I have ever met.
    “Well-rowed Richmond!”
    Rob B

  3. My affiliation with RRC is as long as I am old. Some of my earliest memories of the club are of Don. As a child it felt like he was a part of my extended family and for so much of my life he was indivisible from my personal understanding of the club. While is presence at the club diminished over time Don will forever be an indelible part of my memory of RRC.
    Thankyou Don. We will miss you dearly.
    Robert Hendley

  4. .
    I met Don in the late 49 whilst rowing with Corio Bay. We renewed our friendship in the 1970 ‘s after the fire . And with the help of Ron Marsh and others at City Hall ,Don and I got the finances to build the new Rowing Shed. He was a wonderful person in every respect and deserved his elevation to life membership in 1974. I recall he could not see the demise of the Club and worked very hard to preserve the Club’s continuity. I am so very sad to hear of Don’s passing. He was a dear friend.
    Bob Juggins

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