The Wesley College Foundation is enormously grateful for the very significant donation from the Honourable Paul Guest OAM KC (OW1957).

Rowing Head Coach, Matt Ryan with Chair of the Wesley Foundation Nicki Lefkovits (OW1990), Paul Guest (OW1957) and College Principal, Nick Evans (OW1985)

The College has recognised this gift through the naming of the Paul Guest Rowing Hub in our redeveloped Boathouse. He is a distinguished alumnus and three-time Olympian.

Paul began rowing at Wesley College in the First crew in 1956 and 1957, but for most of his school days was an athletics track specialist. He was enticed back to rowing by Ian ‘Porky’ Douglas who invited him to try out for the Melbourne University Eight in 1958. By 1959, he had won a place in the Victorian King’s Cup squad and in 1960, secured a spot in Australia’s Olympic rowing team, partnering with Neville Howell in the coxed pair. His comments on equipment at those Games were clear: ‘The boat was a barge – very little thought was given in those days to equip the rowers adequately.’

After taking a year off to pursue a law degree, he joined the Alan ‘Jake’ Jacobsen stable at Banks Rowing Club in 1962. In that year, Jake’s crew won the Kings Cup (the Australian eight-oared championships), a gold medal at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Perth, and finished fifth at the first-ever World Rowing Championships in Lucerne, Switzerland.

In his career, he rowed in five winning Victorian King’s Cup crews, the 1966 (Yugoslavia) and 1970 (St Catherine’s) World Championships and the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964.

Perhaps one of the greatest crews he rowed in was the 1968 Olympic pair in Mexico with David Ramage. Unbeaten in Australia, it has been described as one of the finest pair-oared crews Australia has ever produced. However, in the semi-final, while in a commanding position and just short of the finish line, David partially collapsed, suffering oxygen deprivation in the high altitude, and they were relegated to the small final (now called B final) by 1.18 seconds, in a time that would have won the other semi-final. They would go on to win the small final some 6 seconds faster than the eventual gold medal winners.

From 2009 to 2015, Paul rowed competitively at Masters’ regattas in crews with David Ramage. At the 2015 World Rowing Masters’ Regatta, they won four gold medals. They also rowed and won several races together in the Australian Masters’ Championships.

After retiring from the elite level, Paul coached the 1975 Victorian Men's Eight to a third place in that year's King's Cup. In 2000, he was awarded the Australian Sports Medal and in 2011, he was inducted into the Victorian Rowing Hall of Fame. In 2013, he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the General Division. He served terms as President of the Banks Rowing Club and as Chairman of Rowing Australia Appeals Tribunal and was appointed a Life Member of both the Banks Rowing Club and Rowing Australia. He has also successfully competed in Masters’ rowing events in Italy, Belgium, the United Kingdom and the USA.

Paul was a barrister; he was appointed a King’s Counsel and is now a retired judge of the Family Court of Australia. He is quoted as saying ‘I love rowing; it is the sport of kings. Those who have never rowed could never understand.’

He was the first 70-year-old in history to break 7 minutes for a 2000 metre ergo, has held World Records in the 70-74 and the 75-79 age groups, and currently holds the 80-84 world 2000-metre record which, fittingly, was officially conducted at the Wesley College Boathouse in 2020.

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