Grace Blake wins grant to research rowing history

The English-Speaking Union Victoria Branch (ESU) is delighted to announce Grace Blake as the winner of its 2020 Minor Project Grant of $2,000.

The grant will enable Grace to embark on a project that will help record the heritage and identity of young Australians who volunteered from South Australia to serve in the First World War. Grace’s particular focus is on enlistees who were also connected with the Adelaide University Boat Club.

Grace Blake is an Adelaide-based heritage professional with a strong track record in researching the history of rowing. She is an alumna of the University of Adelaide and is currently completing a Master of Cultural Heritage at Deakin University.

About the research project

Grace will investigate an aspect of Australia’s First World War legacy by examining the University of Adelaide’s archives for letters written by university staff, graduates and students who were also members of the Adelaide University Boat Club.

Using digital online media, Grace aims to recognise this military service by creating an Honour Roll for the Boat Club and by telling the stories of its members’ wartime participation,

Grace’s research will also feed into a proposed history of the Boat Club and its members’ contributions to the English-speaking community in South Australia.

About the Adelaide University Boat Club

The Boat Club was established in 1881 on the River Torrens as Adelaide University’s first sporting club. It has been a cornerstone of the University’s extra-curricular activities throughout its history. Now in its 140th year, Boat Club has embarked on a 10-year project to showcase its history, including international, national, state, inter-varsity, local and inter-collegiate rowing.

Comments attributable to ESU Branch President, Robert Furlan, a member of the award judging panel:

“The ESU judging panel considered Grace’s project proposal to be well developed, with clear timelines and tangible outcomes.”

“The ESU is excited to support Grace Blake’s innovative research, aiming to reconstruct the First World War Honour Roll that is missing from the archives of the Adelaide University Boat Club.”

“We convey our congratulations to Grace Blake and look forward to seeing the results of her work later this year.”

The Role of the English-Speaking Union (Victoria Branch)

The ESU has been active in supporting educational and cultural projects by Australians for over 100 years.

The ESU’s mission is to promote the heritage, culture, identity and fellowship of the English-speaking peoples. Via a range of competitive awards, the ESU funds activities that align with this mission.

The ESU is a registered Australian charity.



Further information

Details of the ESU Awards Program can be found at

For information about the ESU, please contact the President, Robert Furlan, on 0419 559 608.

To arrange an interview with Grace Blake, please contact [email protected].