Commemorating the Birth of Jeppe Rowing

As a school, Jeppe has always been proud of its values and traditions that have stood the test of time. Being true to these values is what defines Jeppe boys and serves as a testimony of where we have come from, our contributions to making the world a better place and who we are aligned to. It’s these values and traditions that bond us to old boys who have gone before us and to future generations who will continue to live by them.

As Jeppe Boats and Blades, we are delighted to unveil the name of a Four to honour Doctor J.R.D. Tomlinson. This has been made possible through a generous donation from Martin Maine, who holds the privilege of being the very first Jeppe Oarsman.

The story began in 1958 when Doc Tomlinson, himself a Jeppe old boy, encouraged his nephew Martin Maine, the coxswain of the Doctor’s Wemmer Pan crew, to get a Jeppe crew together. Martin gathered a crew made up of Michael Watt, Herbert Freercks, James Davidson and Ken Brooks. Coached by Doc, the crew competed against the clubs and university teams and in 1959, decided to compete at schoolboy level at SA Champs held on the Buffalo River.

Schoolboy rowing in the Cape was already well established and the Jeppe crew came a close second to the formidable Selbourne College crew. News of this achievement reached Mr Grant, the then Headmaster of Jeppe, and spurred the formation of the club. Doctor Tomlinson approached Anglo Vaal, who purchased 3 x Fours, one went to Jeppe, with KES and Parktown Boys also each receiving a boat. With this, schoolboy rowing was born and was shortly bolstered by General Smuts and Mondeor High also putting crews together.

The school is proud of the fact that Doctor Tomlinson and the Jeppe crew of 1959 are the catalysts of schoolboy rowing on the Reef. The naming of the Four in memory of Doctor Tomlinson, pays tribute to his contribution and is an apt reminder that his legacy continues to this day.