River Dee

History of the Aberdeen Schools Rowing Association/Hazlehead Academy Rowing Club

Researched and written in 1990 by Elaine Morrison (Year VI) of ASRA & Hazlehead Academy Rowing Club

In 1958 Peter Glen who was a teacher at Aberdeen Academy noticed a photograph of some members of the Glasgow Schools Rowing Council in the Daily Record. He showed it to his colleague in the PE Department, Stanley Allan, who in turn was inspired to found his own rowing club here in Aberdeen. He got in touch with the Master i/c GSRC who duly sold him two of their old boats for £15! The boats, one of which was called the Ord were transported from Glasgow Green to the Aberdeen University Boathouse strapped to the back of a fish lorry. Thus the Aberdeen Academy Rowing Club was formed.

Stanley Allan retired in 1960 and the rowing club was then taken over by another teacher from the school, John Elliot, who held the post until 1965, when he introduced the Elliot Cup to encourage more competition within the club. He was succeeded by Brian Everitt of the English Department. In 1967 Brian masterminded - despite obdurate school opposition - the purchase of two matched restricted boats - the Silver City and the Granite City, boats which are still used today by beginners in the club.

During Brian's "reign" the club enjoyed a period of unparalleled success from local up to GB level. During 1968 Brian Everitt was assisted by Robin Dyer of the Maths Department, who continued for a brief period after Brian was promoted to Head Master of Tertowie Residential School. Late in 1969 a new Master i/c Rowing took over - Bryan Steel, newly promoted Head of the German Department and ex Hillhead High School Rowing Club, Glasgow. He was helped briefly by Ian Aird of the Geography Department. In 1970 Aberdeen Academy became Hazlehead Academy and therefore the club's name changed to the Hazlehead Academy Rowing Club.

The Aberdeen Schools Rowing Association was formed in 1973 by Bryan Steel of Hazlehead Academy and Robert Newton, an ex Aberdeen Academy rower and then Physics master at Rubislaw Academy (formerly and also later Aberdeen Grammar School). Robert Newton left ASRA and teaching in 1976 to pursue a career in oil. Aberdeen City Council presented the club with a new Carbocraft Eight in 1979 - the Bon Accord (still used competitively in 2002! - Editor's note) In October 1983 (Halloween to be precise), ASRA crashed its top Carbocraft four - the Hydrophobia, which was an insurance write-off but was in turn sold on for a nominal sum to the newly established Stirling University Rowing Club, one of whose founder members was a certain ex ASRA rower - Ed Steel. The Hydrophobia was replaced that year by a brand new Ayling's racing shell four, named Tough as Steel after the club's master i/c and coach Bryan Steel.

Three new boats have been bought since then, all of which are Janousek racing shells. In 1986 a men's four called Stainless Steel was purchased and in 1988 a pair called Christina. In 1989 a much-needed lightweight four was purchased and named Deestroyer, as in the River Dee where the club trains. The boat was christened in June that year by the Lord and Lady Provost of Aberdeen. 1989 was also Bryan Steel's twentieth year as Master i/c Aberdeen Schools Rowing Association and Hazlehead Academy Rowing Club.