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Elias Connell Laycock (b. 1845 - d. 1938) was an Australian sculler who was Australian champion on xx occasions. In 1882, he unsuccessfully contested the World Sculling Championship on the Thames.

Elias C. Laycock
Elias Connell Laycock sculler.jpg
Elias Laycock 1880
Personal information
Sydney NSW
Cronulla NSW Australia
SportRowing (sculling)
Retiredca. ???

Youth and Early Life[edit]


Major Sculling Matches[edit]

Australian Sculling Championship

World Sculling Championship.

Championship course.
Map from 1920s.

Laycock vs Rush
Michael Rush

Later in his life, Michael Rush described sculler Elias C. Laycock as his 'chief rival'.[1] Just a year younger than Rush, and like Rush, a large and powerful man,[2] Laycock had come to live on the Lower Clarence River around 1874.[3] The two scullers met first at the Queen's Birthday regatta in Grafton in May 1874. Laycock, untried at boat racing, was soundly beaten, though undeterred. During the following years, Laycock doggedly challenged Rush and others to sculling matches,[4] until at last, in April 1879, Laycock beat an ailing and unfit World Champion Ned Trickett at a State regatta. A series of matches followed to determine the current Australian sculling Champion, who would defend the World Title.[n. 1] Laycock beat Rush again and again, but Trickett, now fit once more, eventually beat Laycock.[5]Trickett once more went to the Thames, this time in the company of Laycock, to row against Ned Hanlan[6], but their preliminary contests in Sydney had marked the end of Rush's World Championship ambitions.

The Walker Whiskey Trophy

Professional sculling had now reached a stage of respectability, publicity and profitability that attracted commercial sponsorship. Among the earliest of these sponsors in Australia were the liquor importers Mason, Brothers. In April 1881, they offered a cash prize of £300, to be known as the Walker Whiskey Trophy.[7] The cash prizes attracted so many entrants that a series of preliminary races was held during September, 1881. Rush took part, but was eliminated from the final race.[8]. As well as the Trophy races, Rush also rowed a number of private matches, notably against J. J. Power, Harry Pearce, both of whom he beat, and Elias Laycock. The match against Laycock was for the Championship of Australia, which Laycock won almost with ease.[9] Rush announced his retirement from sculling contests, not for the first or the last time.[n. 2]

The Francis Punch Trophy

Francis Punch was the brother of sculler, publican and promoter James 'Jem' Punch. Following the death of James, Francis took bought Punch's Hotel.[10] Observing the success of the Walker Whiskey matches, Francis offered a similar sculling prize [11]The race did not attract any international entrants, but the 'Big Three' of Australian sculling - Rush, Trickett, Laycock - fought it out over the Championship course in early October, 1882 [12] and Rush emerged triumphant, winning not only the Punch Trophy but regaining the Australian Championship. [13]

Later Life and Career[edit]

Gathering of Australian champion scullers, Sydney Town Hall, 1902.
Laycock is first on the left of the rear row.

Sydney Mail 17 December, 1902

Personal Life[edit]

Laycock died at his residence in Cronulla on May 29, 1938.[14]

Notes and references[edit]

Abbreviation Newspaper Name Abbreviation Newspaper Name Abbreviation Newspaper Name
SMH The Sydney Morning Herald CRE Clarence and Richmond River Examiner SM The Sydney Mail
TCJ Australian Town and Country Journal MM Maitland Mercury RB Rockhampton Morning Bulletin
TA The Argus ISN The Illustrated Sydney News E The Empire
LE Launceston Examiner QA Queanbeyan Age BLS Bell's Life in Sydney
  1. ^ The world sculling community demanded that the World title be contested on the Thames, and Australia, the current championship holder, complied, albeit reluctantly. See RB 12 Sep 1879
  2. ^ Rush announced his retirement on at least four occasions, each time changing his mind later. See Gard Michael Rush


  1. ^ Souvenir Program of the World Sculling Championship, Barry vs. Felton, 28 August 1920. National Maritime Museum of Australia.
  2. ^ LE 22 Nov 1880
  3. ^ TA 30 Aug 1879
  4. ^ e.g. TA 11 September 1875
  5. ^ SMH 30 Aug 1879
  6. ^ MM 16 October 1880.
  7. ^ SMH 1 Apr 1881
  8. ^ SMH 16 Sep 1881
  9. ^ SMH 22 Sep 1881
  10. ^ SM 23 May 1891
  11. ^ SMH 22 Sep 1881
  12. ^ TCJ 14 Oct 1882
  13. ^ SMH 2 Nov 1882
  14. ^ SMH30 May 1938, p.10

Select Bibliography[edit]

  • Bennett, Scott. 1973. The Clarence Comet : the career of Henry Searle, 1866-89 Sydney University Press. ISBN 0424066904
  • ________. 1985 "Professional Sculling in New South Wales." Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society Vol. 71.
  • Gard, Stephen. 2011. Michael Rush : champion Australian sculler. Thirlmere, NSW : BlueDawe Books. ISBN 9780646559872
  • Ripley, Stuart. 2009. Sculling and skulduggery : a history of professional sculling. Petersham, N.S.W. : Walla Walla Press.
  • Trickett, Gordon. H. 2001. Ned Trickett : champion sculler of the world. Lane Cove NSW, Lane Cove Library, Local Studies Monograph No. 17.
Newspaper Articles and Journals
  • Old Times: A unique illustrated history of the early days, dealing with every phase of life from the arrival of Governor Phillip, with many reminiscences of old colonists living and dead Vol1. # 4. July 1903. Sydney : Commercial Publishing Co. of Sydney Ltd.

External links[edit]

Category:Articles created via the Article Wizard

Category:Australian rowers Category:Rowing Category:History of rowing Category:1843 births Category:1922 deaths