The King's Cup was presented by King George V to the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) Number One Crew on July 4th 1919 after the crew's win at the Henley Peace Regatta.
This historic post-war regatta brought together eight teams representing the Allies of the First World War. Australia fielded two crews - AIF Number One and AIF Number Two - for the eight-oared race. They vied against each other and against the USA, France, New Zealand, Canada and Cambridge and Oxford Universities for the prize.
In the end AIF Number One Crew defeated Oxford University for the prize, having also beaten AIF Number Two Crew in the first round and Cambridge University in the semi-final.
The King's Cup was presented to the crew's stroke, Captain M. C. Disher of the Australian Army Medical Corps before being taken by the Australian Imperial Expeditionary Forces Sports Control Board. The board shipped the trophy to the Australian War Museum.
Despite repeated requests to the Australian War Museum that the Cup be used as a perpetual trophy for the annual Interstate Eight-Oar Championship of Australia, the trophy remained locked away.
Capt. Disher decided to petition King George V for the trophy's release. He sent his petition via the Governor General to the King on October 30th 1920. The last line of his petition reads, "And your petitioner therefore humbly prays that your Majesty may be graciously pleased to make known your wishes in regard to the disposal of the said Trophy."
The King's response was conveyed by Winston S. Churchill, who wrote; "His Majesty commands me to inform you that it is his wish that the Cup should be used as a permanent trophy and be competed for annually in the Interstate Eight-Oar Race of Australia."
It is this classically formal Churchill response, now etched into the Limited Edition Medal Presentation Tray, that gave rise to Australia's most coveted prize - the King's Cup. Read the full letter here.
This special tray was commissioned during the Centenary of Canberra. Proceeds from the sale of these trays will assist Rowing Australia.
For a full history of the King's Cup Trophy visit the History of Australian Rowing website.
The design on this 300mm limited edition King's Cup Medal
Presentation Tray is photo etched in solid brass and finished in high-shine
nickel plate. Each tray is presented in a stylish gift box which includes
a timber display stand. The trays are limited to 500 units with the
indivudual number stamped on the reverse and come with a certificate
Click here to order your piece of Australian rowing history.