A trophy from the early 20th century which was thought to be lost has been rediscovered.
The historic Fitzgerald and Boland Cup was awarded to a team of Bendigo women rowers who won the Ladies Henley on the Maribyrnong in 1926.
The team - which represented St Paul's Cathedral in Bendigo - won the historic race for three consecutive years (1924-1926) and was allowed to keep the coveted trophy in perpetuity.
The trophy was recently found in mint condition within a storage cupboard at St Paul's Cathedral.
The crew consisted of Edna Goddard, Nell Dodd, Violet Clifton and Ada Green - coxed by Bill Parkinson and coached by David Wilson.
St Paul's Cathedral dean Elizabeth Dyke said the trophy reflected the strong link between the church and sporting clubs within Bendigo.
"It recognises the success of four young women from our congregation who were no doubt leaders of their generation," Dyke said.
"I like to think St Paul's contributed towards the success by fostering self-belief, confidence and faith in their abilities."
Bendigo Rowing club president Jesse Sherwood believes the trophy was unique in its recognition of the rowing achievements of women rowers in Bendigo.
"In the 1920s the participation of women in rowing was tolerated, but not widely accepted by society," Sherwood said.
"These young women would have had to overcome some entrenched views about their involvement in competitive racing.
"I believe they would have been imbued with strong personalities, resilience and a 'can do attitude'."
Sherwood said the discovery of the trophy was a reminder that women played an important part in the history of rowing and sport in Bendigo.
"The St Paul's ladies rowing crew were pioneers of women's rowing in Bendigo," Sherwood said.
"Their legacy is lived-on at the Bendigo Rowing Club where women hold executive positions and are very active as coaches, coxswains and athletes."
The 2019 Henley on the Maribyrnong Regatta will be held this weekend - with a women's team from Bendigo ready to give their best effort at the annual race.
The Henley forms part of a double-header weekend which also includes the Footscray Regatta.
Amy Morgan is among the BRC competitors set to take to the water.
"After the discovery of the trophy it makes it all a bit closer to home," Morgan said.
"It's an exciting prospect to think back to when the women won the trophy and what they achieved in such tough conditions compared to how easy it is for us now to compete on such a high level.
"It's going to be a really good competition - we always have a good experience down at Essendon.
"It's a really interesting course to row on the Maribyrnong River, which makes it very different to any other regatta."
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