21 March 2022
By Göran R Buckhorn
In 2020, the splendid book The Oarsmen (2019) by the Australian author and filmmaker Scott Patterson was shortlisted for that year’s Prime Minister’s Literary Awards in the category Australian History.
The book tells the story of the Australian servicemen who, after the First World War, rowed for the coveted King’s Cup at the 1919 Royal Henley Peace Regatta. And, of course, HTBS wrote about Patterson who had been nominated for this distinguished literary prize.
Being a filmmaker, Patterson also started working on turning his book into a feature film with the same title. It promises to be an amazing documentary of the men who rowed into the Great War at Gallipoli and rowed into peace at Henley.
This very ambitious project by Patterson, who has also involved Australian rowing historian Andrew Guerin, is still a work in progress. If you are interested in helping fund the film and would like to know more about the project, please take a look here.
While working on the documentary The Oarsmen, Scott Patterson also shot a short film about master oarmaker Howard Croker, who made the oars to be featured in the film. Patterson sent HTBS an email the other day asking if we would be interested in showing his 11-minute Howard Croker film, or, as he put it, “I thought the HTBS community would be interested seeing Howard do his stuff…. From flitch to oar.”
Yes, HTBS was certainly interested in running Patterson’s fascinating film The Oarsman about Croker and his oar-making skills.
Remember, the oarsmen racing at the 1919 Peace Regatta were rowing in wooden boats using wooden oars, which meant that Croker had to get spruce to make the oars. When did you last see so-called pencil oars being made?