Australian Oarsman and PM Dies

Edward Gough Whitlam Rowing 1938
Gough Whitlam rowing in 1938.

Louis Petrin writes from Australia:

Many famous rowers have entered politics. I have written before on HTBS how 25% of Australian Prime Ministers have rowed in their early years – see here.

Today, Tuesday 21 October 2014, the 21st Australian Prime Minister, Edward Gough Whitlam, passed away aged 98 years.

He attended St Paul’s College at Sydney University, the oldest residential university college in Australia. St Paul’s was rigorous and regimented. Participation in sport was expected. Whitlam studied the Classics and was not really a lover of any sports. He chose rowing in as the only sport he participated in. Gough was tall, standing at 1.94 m (6 feet 4 inches). From his position at 5 seat, his height was more than anyone else in the crew and so disrupted his rhythm. He did, however, win a Blue in 1938. Three years later he joined the RAAF.

Gough was very famous for his quick wit and once told an illustrious gathering that his preferred sport was rowing and that it was an apt sport for politicians: ‘It is, of course, an extraordinarily apt sport for men in public life because you can face one way while going the other’.

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