Inside the Collection

Edward Hanlan – world champion rower

Photograph of Edward Hanlan Commemorative mug
Commemorative mug, presented to Edward Hanlan world champion sculler, 1880-1888, Powerhouse Museum, A7779

This Commemorative mug celebrates the achievements of Edward Hanlan who first came into prominence as a sculler in 1880, when he defeated the Australian Edward Trickett for the world’s sculling championship. Trickett had earlier won the title in 1876 by defeating J. Sadler and had retained it on his return to Australia, beating both M. Rush and Laycock.

Hanlan having defeated Rawdon and Elliott on the Tyne, was hailed as a coming champion, and Trickett, having beaten his own countrymen, decided to go to England again and give the young Canadian a race. The result was a very easy win for Hanlan.

In 1881 Hanlan defeated the Australian Elias Laycock and in 1882, after beating R. W. Boyd, he accepted another challenge to race from Edward Trickett, again he defeated the Australian. Hanlan then returned to his home at Toronto, and took part in races in Canada and the United States.

Hanlan visited Sydney in early 1884 and his first opponent on Australian waters was Elias Laycock, who he raced and beat, on the Neapean River. Hanlan then visited Victoria, and gave an exhibition of his sculling powers on Albert Park Lake at an aquatic carnival organised for tho occasion. The carnival was a great success with the takings at the gates amounting to over £500.  Hanlan’s share of the profits was £275.

The Canadian next raced against Beach who defeated him on four separate occasions, the last being in 1888 on the Parramatta River. He was the recipient of many addresses and presentations, including a sapphire tie pin and a massive silver salver from the steamboat owners of Port Jackson.

Geoff Barker, Curatorial, 2013

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, New South Wales, Friday 10 January 1908
The North Eastern Ensign, Benalla, Victoria, Friday 24 April 1885

3 responses to “Edward Hanlan – world champion rower

  • I have an exact commemorative mug which was in the possession of my brother-in-law until his death.

  • “It seems that Edward Hanlan needed not to go to the other end of the world to be beaten. He could be outrowed at home. Such is the fate of the athlete — a passing glory. Only a year and a half ago it was said that the Toronto oarsman had a secret, whereby it would be possible, so long as he should live, to overcome all rivals. Sensible men believed this. Alas for sensible men!” –Anon., Knowersville Enterprise 2: 16 (November 7, 1885), p. 2 col. 1.

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