“Oh What a Night!” as the song goes and Yes! It was. Life is made of memories and the Brisbane Outrigger Canoe Club 20th Anniversary was one of those nights.

The Brisbane Sailing Squadron Club House ( next door to us) was decked out in palm fronds, streamers, old photos and old uniforms, that kept the endless stream of members, old, new, past and present, in awe of the achievements of BOCC, as she is affectionately known.

Members who have been either past/present or judging by the mother’s corner – the future, are very proud of the club that has once was known as “the Brisbane River Rats” (I must admit, when I started out my early days as a novice paddler with “Outrigger Australia OCC” I often wondered (as a 60s real gone blonde headed, stompy, wompy surfer girl driving a, mini minor with a surf board on top) How can you be an outrigger in the Brisbane River. I am an ocean girl!) “After checking in at the front desk” and receiving our memento of the night being either a CD of past photos, all 800 of them or a stubbie cooler with the BOCC 20th logo printed on it, a complimentary drink was given and finger food a plenty was served to stave off the hunger pains.

The activities commenced around 7pm with MC Tony Rigby making the traditional introductions and story of the club, amid the Hey mate! Wow! Buggar haven’t seen you for ages, How the bloody hell are yah! Gosh! You look well what are you doing these days since paddling? You know how it goe…

The attendance count around 100 and swelling, then came the entertainment! A Maori troupe that really knew how to entertain, keep the paddlers enthralled. Then the special presentation of the medals for the membership of 10 and 15 years. BOCC has some very devoted members, by the number of medals handed out proudly from Past Presidents, Warwick Ford and Allan Noonan, of this famous club and who they still honour.

More entertainment in the form of the parade of past uniforms. The night was stolen though by a surprise visit from Borat in his mankinni. Borat, I think has been working out, as I can’t remember him being that big!!!!!!!! In stature but a nice butt, I have to say.

More info on the foundations of the club from club hunk Sprizza and Gary Taylor and then down to business. Very informative speeches from Past Presidents Warwick Ford, who was the “King of the Juniors” back when and Allan Noonan, who as President had the club raise $47.000.00 in car washes over a period of years. One past member, gasped as this amount was read out as she was one of the Saturday washers. She couldn’t believe the amount and still talks to me about it!

Then the big one! The bestowal of a Life Membership to one of the hardest working members of the club for many years. This is her club and Yes! Jill Duffield you have earnt the highest honour a club can bestow on a member of a club – Life Membership of the Brisbane Outrigger Canoe Club. “Lucky buggar- no more club fees to pay! I may have to be more club orientated. You have deserved it Jill!” Surrounded by her children and many friends, Jill accepted the life membership from the Ist Life membership holder Warwick Ford, having flown in from Melbourne that night with his wife Georgie, just for the occasion. This follows on from an award she accepted from Di Farmer, member for Bulimba at the BOCC Presentation party ( Yes! BOCC loves to party)

The official duties out of the way- let the party begin!
Music playing! Paddlers dancing and many fond memories and friendships renewed. 150 paddlers celebrated the life of BOCC that night.

Saturday 24th October 2009:
Sat morning-canoes hit the water- Warwick Ford, Allan Noonan, Nuku, what a dream team from the past! Danny flown in from Mount Isa, that night for the celebrations and Bar-b-que the next morning.

Gosh I love the peoples that make this a club!
Pam Prescott.

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  • Jill with her family and award
  • Jill receives her life membership award