Historical information

"Grace Blake’s conversations with older members of the Club have elicited the following information during July 2014:
• Don Christie recalls the machine being acquired by (or donated to) SMRC in the 1960s. SMRC later donated it to APRC.
• Bob Duncan remembers it being at APRC.
• Max Shaw joined the club in 1946 but doesn’t recall it at all.
• Peter Watson recalls collecting the rowing machine from the old APRC club house before its demolition (c. 1995).
The AP-SMRC machine carries a ‘maker’s plate’ with the name Moore...
Moore Crane and Engineering Company Pty Ltd was a subsidiary of Malcolm Moore Industries Ltd whose manufacturing engineering works were located on Williamstown Road, Port Melbourne from 1927. The founder established the main business in 1921 and retired in 1953.21 The business was delisted from the Australian Stock Exchange in 1976.
Grace Blake advises that some of the earlier SMRC members were plumbers and therefore worked in trades connected with engineering. She reports that Peter Watson recalls some of his contemporaries completing their engineering apprenticeships at Malcolm Moore Industries Ltd in the 1970s.
There are still many unanswered questions concerning the history and provenance of the rowing machine at the time of writing this report, but the connection with a local engineering works is certainly fascinating. Questions to explore in the future include: Did Moore manufacture the machine, or import it (and perhaps assemble it) under licence? Was this machine a ‘one-off’ or did Moore make / distribute others within Australia? When, why and how did SMRC acquire the machine? Why did SMRC decide not to retain it, but to pass it over to APRC? And how did APRC use it?"
2014 Significance Assessment, pp38-40.


"The ‘Moore’ Rowing Machine at the Albert Park – South Melbourne Rowing Club (AP- SMRC) is a rare example in Australia of the Kerns patent design from 1900. This machine may not, however, be that old in construction or use.
The AP-SMRC machine is almost intact, appearing to lack only the leather straps for fastening the rower’s feet to the foot-rests.
Spalding manufactured the design in the USA in the early decades of the 20th century, but the metal elements in its models are traditionally black. The bright red paint on the AP-SMRC machine suggests something different.
The AP-SMRC machine carries a maker’s plate that associates it directly with a local engineering business, Malcolm Moore Industries Ltd of Williamstown Road, Port Melbourne. Club members recall the machine being at the South Melbourne Rowing Club in the 1960s, and being transferred at a later date to the Albert Park Rowing Club. The machine has not been used since the founding of the amalgamated AP-SMRC and requires careful conservation.
The ‘Moore’ rowing machine is of national research significance as a rare survivor, in Australia, of the well-regarded Kerns patent design that was popularised by Spalding in the northern hemisphere. The English River and Rowing Museum website quotes a testimonial from an AG Spalding & Bros’ Mail Order Catalogue: ‘This machine was described by ‘an experienced oarsman’ ... “to be the most perfect rowing machine ever produced”. A feature was the adjustment of the resistance so “the weaker sex can use the machine”’.
Its historic significance lies in its rarity (and perhaps uniqueness) as an aid to the training of rowers at two successful clubs on Albert Park Lake. Additional historic significance lies in the connection that the rowing machine represents between local rowing clubs and a major local manufacturing engineer.
The ‘Moore’ rowing machine bridges the realms of innovation and application, of industry and recreation, of land-based and aquatic sports, and of two neighbouring rowing clubs on the Albert Park Lake."
2014 Significance Assessment, p43

Physical description

"A rowing machine that appears to be built to the Kerns patent design from 1900 but may not be that old in construction or use. The machine is heavy and includes parts made from cast iron. The cast iron components are painted in a distinctive bright red. The wooden seat moves on timber slides. Resistance is created by spring mechanisms at the ends of two frame elements that connect with two wooden ‘oars’, and by the central chain-driven system that co-ordinates with the rower’s movements. The machine carries a maker’s plate with the single word ‘Moore’ in an oval design, using white letters against a navy background, fastened to the base board and close to the foot-rests."
2014 Significance Assessment, p38

Inscriptions & markings