Mobile Unit. Whanganui Sport - Billy Webb

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Two versions of a talk by William 'Billy' Webb (world sculling champion 1907-1908), about past athletes and sportsmen of Whanganui. Short version followed by long version.

An unidentified announcer introduces Mr Webb and outlines his sporting achievements. Mr Webb was the World Professional Sculling Champion in 1907, defeating Charles Towns for the title in Australia. Webb held the title until December 1908 when he was defeated by another New Zealander, Richard Arnst, on the Whanganui River. He had, however, successfully defended the title in February 1908 against Australian Richard Tresidder, also on the Whanganui River. Mr Webb was also Amateur Sculling Champion of New Zealand in the years 1903 and 1906. He is now [at the time of the interview, 1946] sixty-six years of age, and can often still be seen rowing on the Whanganui River. He has also continued with his boat-building business, and his support of young rowers.

Billy Webb then begins his talk about Whanganui sportsmen. He begins by speaking about track runner and hurdle-racer Arthur Holder, of the 1890s. Henry Martis[?] was another, who held the Dominion title for the 100 and 220 yard sprint in two successive years. Dr Arthur Porritt was a world class sprinter of the early 1920s, winning the 100 metre race in the Empire Games. Don Evans, a twice Dominion Champion for the quarter and half mile was another brilliant runner.

Whanganui winners of the New Zealand hurdles championship include Tom Cragg in 1905, and Mick Darby in 1931. H L Kingsley twice won the New Zealand pole vault championship, and also took the Australasian title in 1896.

In cross country, Charlie Weller held the New Zealand title for four years in succession. In 1939, Jack Morgan won the New Zealand discus-throwing and also represented New Zealand at the Empire Games.

Mr Webb then lists Whanganui champions of rifle-shooting: W Remington, H Churton, and C Cruise. Two champion golfers were Jack Goss and Bryan Silk. In cricket, a number of local men have represented New Zealand including E H L Burnell. Charlie Sealey was an All Black in 1905. Henry 'Mickey' Kiernan, Jack Blair, Jack Holme, and Arthur Bullock-Douglas were also All Blacks.

Boxing has also been strong in Whanganui, with brothers Charlie and Sid Kern [?]; and Harry Laing held the New Zealand professional heavyweight title for a number of years [1886-1888].

Mr Webb then mentions motorcycling champion Percy Coleman, and swimmers Norm Dowsett and Len Smith who held New Zealand titles. There is then a list of bowling champions. Mr Webb expresses his hope for continued sporting excellence in Whanganui. He concludes with comments about the heroic actions of swimmer Mr W Corby, who saved many lives when the SS Tahiti and the ferry Greycliffe collided in Sydney Harbour in 1927.

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Year 1946

Reference number 4417

Media type AUDIO

Collection Sound Collection

Genre Interviews (Sound recordings)
Sound recordings

Credits Webb, William Charles (b.1880, d.1960), Speaker/Kaikōrero
New Zealand Broadcasting Service. Mobile Recording Unit, Broadcaster

Duration 00:16:34

Date 04 Nov 1946