ABOUT the time England's supremacy in cricket was being challenged by Australia in the 19th Century, they were also facing Australian challenges in another sport - sculling or rowing.
Several of Australia's finest scullers in recent years have their origins in the Macleay.
In writing about former Macleay scullers such as Charlie Edwards and Thomas Saul in previous stories, Jim Saul and Bobbie Kemp must also be considered.
Bobbie Kemp was a fisherman from Shark Island on the Macleay River whose sculling career peaked in the early 1950s.
He was the grandson of Peter Kemp, who was twice World Champion in the 1880s.
One of the first Australian scullers to win the World Championship was Bill Beach, who had beaten the Canadian Ned Hanlan in 1884.
Beach retired in 1888 in favour of Peter Kemp, described as the most scientific sculler of the old veterans.
Born at Windsor on the Hawkesbury River on 15 November 1853, Peter taught himself to row when he had the task of rowing from Peats Island to Windsor - a distance of 70 miles - weekly with a boatload of fish.
Peter Kemp consolidated his World Title by beating Tom Clifford then Ned Hanlan on two occasions, winning £1,000 in the latter challenges.
Peter Kemp lost the World Championship to another Australian, Henry Searle (called 'The Clarence Comet') in November 1888 but won it again in 1890 after Searle's untimely death.
Sydney Frederick Kemp was the fourth youngest child of Peter Kemp and his first wife Henrietta Jones and was born at Windsor in 1884.
He was trained in sculling by his father and other greats of the time and unsuccessfully contested the Australian Sculling Championship on several occasions.
He won the Double-Sculling Chamionship of New South Wales with his sister Fern Kemp in 1915 at Middle Harbour, Sydney from Miss Lily and Arthur Pearce.
The year before he had accompanied Jim Paddon, the Australian Champion to England, as his trainer to unsuccessfully contest the World Championship there on the Thames River.
Whilst there, Sydney rescued a small boy from drowning in the Thames for which he received the Royal Humane Society's Medal.
Paddon eventually won the World Title in 1922 in New Zealand.Sydney married Mona Johnstone in 1917 and they came to Jerseyville to live in 1925 where he earned a living as a deep sea fisherman.
His fishing boat "The Drum" was said to be the only fishing boat on the river in those times and during the Depression supported two families.
One of Syd and Mona's three sons, Robert Sydney ('Bobbie'), became an Australian Sculling Championship holder under the careful tutelage of his father.
In January 1949, Bobbie defeated Evans Paddon, in what was then Australia's richest handicap sculling race at Gladstone on the Macleay River.
In 1950 Bobbie defeated Jim Saul, another noted Macleay rower, to take the Australian Sculling Championship at Evans Head.
In 1951, Jim and Bobbie contested the Australian Championship again at Gladstone, with Jim taking the Title on this occasion.
Bobbie became Australian Sculling Champion again in 1952 whilst Jim Saul would later hold the World Sculling Championship.
Sculling was a major part of the regattas which were held regularly in summer on the Macleay until the late 1950s.
As a sport, it now has a lower profile but in its heyday some of its greatest champions came from or had links to the Macleay.
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