Extended History

The Goolwa Regatta Yacht Club was formed as the “Goolwa Regatta Club” some time prior to August 1854, and less than 18 years after European settlement of the then Province of South Australia. Its original object was to organise an annual regatta featuring various types of water sports between members of the fishing fleet based at Goolwa and those of the whaling fleet at nearby Victor Harbor. It is believed to be Australia's oldest such club.

The Goolwa Regatta grew into a leading event on the South Australian sporting and social calendar. At its peak it included sailing, power boat racing, paddle steamer races, rowing, swimming and novelty events, and attracted thousands of spectators from other parts of South Australia.
The Goolwa Regatta fell into steady decline in the years following the Second World War, but the Club was revived and renamed the Goolwa Regatta Yacht Club in 1969 in order to cater for the booming interest in sailing in the area. The GRYC is now South Australia’s leading club for trailer-sailers and other shallow-draft yachts.
Most of the vessels on the Club's register are trailer-sailers or other lifting-keel yachts, which are well suited to the relatively shallow waters of the adjacent Lower Murray Lakes and Coorong areas, although traditional wooden riverboats and various sizes of power boats are also well represented.

"The First 150 Years"

In 1854, Australia was made up of five colonies, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Van Diemen’s Land and South Australia. It was the 17th year of the reign of Queen Victoria and on the night of the 16th August, eight gentlemen sat around a table at the Goolwa Hotel to plan a celebration to mark the first anniversary of the launching of the first cargo vessel built in a local shipyard. Unbeknown to them they were creating an entity that would, in 150 years time, be one of Australia’s most successful and acclaimed freshwater yacht clubs, the Goolwa Regatta Yacht Club.                                                (Extract from "The First 150 Years - A history of the Goolwa Regatta Yacht Club" by R.G.S. Carless Past Commodore and Life Member)