"The banner has been with the Club since it was created in 1957.
Recent research has confirmed that it was made by Joan Eddy, the wife of club member Kevin Eddy and a professional seamstress. Grace Blake’s interview notes record her conversation with Mr Eddy on 24 October 2014:
Kevin confirmed that the banner was made by his wife, Joan Eddy, in time for the opening of the new shed after the Olympics (1957). Kevin was the Social Secretary at the time, and co-opted his wife, who had worked as a machinist for Harford Clothing in Carlton before they married. Her mother had also worked there as a sewing hand (hand sewing the linings for jackets). The company was later taken over by Sires. ... It was made at home (Joan had ‘retired’ from work by then)."
Excerpt from the 2014 Significance Assessment, p32.
Banner Celebrating Albert Park Rowing Club Olympic Representatives, 1956
Statement of significance by Margaret Birtley, October 2014
Harry Gordon, the distinguished Australian sports historian, wrote of the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games:
"When the Olympic Games moved into Melbourne ... it was as if the city had been brushed by a certain magic. Nothing before or since ... has ever evoked such sheer emotional involvement from the whole community."
Gordon refers to the large crowds that massed in Melbourne with anticipation and exhilaration on the day before the official opening, ‘with little apparent motive other than just to be there, and be happy’.
The hand-crafted banner celebrating Albert Park Rowing Club’s representatives at those Olympic Games seems to exude that same sense of joy and exhilaration. Made by the wife of the club’s social secretary, it testifies to the admiration felt by individuals and organisations for the success of their own on a world stage.
The banner has historic significance for its accurate documentation of the great achievement of a single rowing club in contributing six outstanding athletes to the relatively small Australian rowing team. Additional historic significance derives from the fact that this is an unofficial expression of tribute and pride. The banner’s incorporation of the Olympic rings would now be likely to require licensing by the Australian Olympic Committee, a process that can dampen social engagement.
While definitely a hand-made item, there is some aesthetic significance in the design and execution of the banner. Good judgement has been demonstrated in the selection of fabrics and the choice of colours. The workmanship is quite skilful. The vertical symmetry and the horizontal balance of the design are pleasing to the eye. The use of red for the heading lines and black for the Olympians names is well-chosen and aesthetically pleasing.
The collection holds black and white photographs of the same oarsmen at the Olympic regatta. This banner complements their role in the collection by providing colour and a sense of connection with an affectionate and supportive community. Its social significance transcends the local context for which it was created and used, to become part of the large body of art, craft and memorabilia that are associated with the Olympic movement worldwide.
A handmade embroidered banner to commemorate the Albert Park members who were part of the 1956 Olympic Rowing team.
Inscriptions & markings
A.P.R.C. / REPRESENTATIVES OLYMPIC GAMES MELBOURNE 1956 / R. DUNCAN / R. DICKSON / K. McMAHON / R. LIBBIS / I. ALLEN / J COCKBILL cox