Well-known figure to dip oars for ANZAC centenary

This year’s ANZAC Day service will recognise a century since Australian and New Zealand heroes ventured onto the shores of Gallipoli and one industry professional is set to commemorate the event by representing Australia in a first-of-its-kind rowing race.

On the eve of the centenary of the Gallipoli landing, CGU Broker Business Relationship Manager Darren Jones will take part in a two-day surf boat rowing event in Turkey, in recognition of members of his surf club who served in the war.

Jones has a strong rowing background, serving the Mollymook Surf Life Saving Club for 10 years and representing them in the 1983 world titles in Hawaii.

There is just a few of us who are lucky enough to represent our club and community

With surf lifesaving clubs all around Australia taking part, Jones says it is an honour to be asked to represent the fallen ANZACs from his rowing club.

“I am extremely honoured to go. There are fifteen going from our club and a number of them have not been over before,” he says.

“I know a lot of colleagues in CGU and other insurance companies and brokerages are members of surf lifesaving clubs and it is not just about me but all those guys and ladies alike, who give their time up.”

“There is just a few of us who are lucky enough to represent our club and community.

“It came about four years ago when the surf club I was an active member in for many years contacted me when I was visiting my parents who still live in Mollymook.”

Now known as the Gallipoli 100, the idea came to fruition in 2008 for a surf boat race between the Australia, New Zealand and Turkey, which started in the Dardanelles on the Gallipoli Peninsula and finishing offshore from ANZAC Cove.

Since 2008, the idea has gathered momentum with surf boats becoming a recognised sport in Turkey.

All the boats rowing in Turkey are named after a member of a surf lifesaving club who enlisted in World War I and did not return and in Jones’ team there are six descendents of WWI diggers.

“There has been quite a few organisations and surf boat rowers associations who have been over to Turkey in recent years. They have donated old surf boats over there for the surf lifesaving movement to get started.

“As part of this event, a lot of the boats will be donated to the Turkish Government for distribution among various clubs and groups over there.”