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Proud history . . . Oamaru Rowing Club coach Owen Gould admires the club's new-look entrance. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

The Oamaru Rowing Club is embracing its proud history at its base at Oamaru Harbour, while at the same time helping secure its future.

After being without a tenant for close to two years when Harbourside Fitness vacated the second story of the building in 2016, the future of the club, which relied on the $15,000 the business added to its bottom line, looked to be shaky.

However, early this week another gym operated by Jamie Rhodes opened in the building, which eased the financial pressure the club was facing.

Oamaru Rowing Club coach Owen Gould said it was a huge relief when Rhodes committed to the space for the next 12 months.

“It certainly was. There was a possibility of a restaurant going up here, but to do that we were going to have to take out a huge mortgage to bring it up to fire standards for a restaurant and everything .. it was just going to be too much.

“Without Jamie, we would have been living hand to mouth. Our only option would have been to go out and get 50 to 60 members.”

The club has about 15 paying members.

“It’s great. This guy is highly organised and the place is immaculate.”

Meanwhile, the club recently upgraded its entrance in the form of a nod to some of the club’s proudest moments.

Five images have been put up around the building’s main entrance, including the all-Oamaru 1962 Empire Games gold medal-winning coxed four of Win Stephens, Bill Smedley, George Paterson, Keith Heselwood and cox Doug Pulman; Oamaru’s 1972 Olympic-gold winning rowing eight coach Rusty Robertson and crew member Gary Robertson; the St Kevin’s College eight that won age-group national titles in 2009 and 2010; 2015 national under-19 double sculls champions Maysie Scott and Sydney Telfer, and the 2016 national championship bronze medallists in the club quad, Mark Taylor, Charlie Wallis, Jared Brenssell and James Scott.

Information on the images would be added in the near future, he said.

“It’s telling a bit of a story from the start of the great times for the Oamaru Rowing Club. We’ve been bad with history. We get young people down here and there’s been nothing to tell those stories.”

The club also planned to install an honours board that would feature all 25 of its national champions, as well as a photographic history of the club and its members.