Life membership for stalwart

Rowing Tasmania executive officer Rob Prescott believes a significant wrong has been righted with the elevation of Marj Spurling to life membership of his organisation.

Rowing Tasmania’s board ratified Spurling’s nomination last month, which came after the her original nomination was rejected in the early 1990s when the sport was run by regional bodies rather than a state organisation.

Spurling, who died 20 years ago, played a significant role in the rowing community on the North-West Coast of Tasmania. 

Originally from Launceston, where was oarswoman for the North Esk Rowing Club, she spent the majority of her life in Devonport.

Spurling was a foundation member of the Reece High School Rowing Parents and Friends group in 1964/65 and helped form the now-defunct Reeconian Rowing Club in 1965.

She was a club delegate to the Northern Tasmanian Rowing Association and the association’s delegate to the Tasmanian Rowing Council.

She played a key role in bringing women back to rowing, and was the first woman to manage a state rowing team when she was given that role in 1980/81.

She was also one of the driving forces behind establishing Lake Barrington as the sport’s base in Tasmania.

“She has had such an impact on rowing in the North and the North-West of the state that we do feel we are righting a wrong of the past [by doing this],’’ Prescott said on Wednesday.

“We feel her contribution to the sport at both a regional and the state level are now being recognised the way they should be.”