Celebrating 50 years of Croker Oars...
In the early 1960’s, Howard Croker began his apprenticeship in boat building. As Howard mastered the skills of his chosen trade, he recognized an untapped market for good quality crafted oars. An ex-rower, Howard felt he knew how to design sleek curves and lines to make any vessel travel faster through the water. Upon completing his apprenticeship, Howard went with his instinct and established Croker Oars. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Croker Oars moved from Sydney to Oxley Island Taree in 1977 and is still situated on the 70 acre property affectionately known as “REMO”, which is Spanish for rowing. Situated on the Manning River, “REMO” has seen Croker Oars go from strength to strength. In 1982 Croker Oars was making 400 oars a year between two oarmakers. It took each craftsman one day to shape a perfectly weighted wooden oar. It was around this time that technological advances in glass composites introduced a revolutionary new material to the industry – carbon fibre.
Investing many frustratingly long hours carrying out research and development into materials, tools, design and technology, Croker Oars began moving their oar expertise into carbon fibre. Launching their first carbon fibre oars in September 1990, Croker Oars soon proved themselves as a force to be recognized in the global market.
Today Croker Oars make over 10,000 oars a year with a workforce of 17+. A far cry from the “oar a day” of yesteryear. Over the season “REMO” plays host to numerous rowing camps where rowers can camp alongside the idyllic Manning River bank, hit the water before dawn and witness first hand a medal-winning oar being made from start to finish at the Croker factory.
The Croker name can be seen charging through tunneling waves at every surf carnival as crews test their skill against the best at their sport. Never compromising on quality, a Croker oar will never be far from the hands of those who value durability and dependability and strive to go faster still. It’s an industry that Howard Croker has made his life, and seeing the success that his oars bring to others have made every second of it worthwhile.
Croker Oars celebrated its 50th year in style, setting up the factory to have well over 100 guests for a black tie ball. The factory looked like a ballroom with decorations in black, silver and pink. Guests travelled from all over the country (and the world) to attend this prestigious event.
The Croker employees were overwhelmed with the attendance and reminisced with old friends whom they hadn't seen in past years.
Thanks to all who attended as well as our valued customers who have made Croker Oars the company it is today.
Croker Black Tie Ball
Video source: Licensed from the Commonwealth of Australia under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence. The Commonwealth of Australia does not necessarily endorse the content of this publication.
Celebrating 50 years of Croker Oars
It came to Howard Croker as quite a surprise when he was nominated for an OAM this Australia Day. “I was extremely honoured and overwhelmed to hear of the award,” said Howard. As well as his OAM, Howard was also awarded as the Manning Valley Australia Day Ambassador for his contribution to the Mid North Coast for oar manufacturing and his contribution to sport.
With well over 50 years of making oars for stillwater and surfboats, Howard remains to be a large part of Croker Oars and continues to travel around Australia and the world to follow the rowing arena.
During the 1960’s Howard won State and National rowing titles followed soon after becoming a coach in Sydney. It was a natural progression to move onto manufacturing oars in 1962 when Croker Oars was born. Croker Oars currently employs 17 employees on the banks of the river near Old Bar in NSW.
Howard continues to coach when he can and still enjoys a morning row on the family’s river front property. The official OAM award ceremony will be held later in the year.
Congratulations!! Howard Croker OAM
Howard Croker with Mayor Paul Hogan at the Australia Day presentation.
Latest video - Croker Oars dedication to manufacturing in Australia. Produced by NSW Trade & Investment. Film by The Film Bakery.