Formed in 1885, the Wellington Rowing Club has been an integral part of sport in Wellington ever since. Wellington Rowing Club’s original boathouse was a small corrugated iron shed which was located on the present site of the Wellington Free Ambulance building.

Despite its modest beginnings, the WRC was one of nine representative rowing clubs to help establish the New Zealand Amateur Rowing Association (NZARA) which was formed on 16 March 1887. The WRC is today located in the distinctive and historic Victorian style building situated by the lagoon on Taranaki St Wharf.

Built in 1894 to a design by Frederick de Jersey Clere, the building was built as a base for the Wellington Naval Artillery Volunteers, a response prompted by a Defence report in 1884 that recommended strengthening Wellington’s harbour defences to help prevent a possible Russian invasion.

The building was thankfully never used for this purpose and in 1927 the building became the first home of the Wellington Free Ambulance. After a short stay, the WFA moved into its new purpose-built home (now the WFA Apartments).

Wellington Rowing Club’s original clubhouse. The Ramshackle Shed (1912) is squeezed between Star Boating Club (right) and the old Odlins building.