Our Murray Cods’ inducted into the South Australian Sport Hall of Fame

The legacy of the Murray Bridge eight, also known as The Cods, goes beyond their achievements in sports. They broke through barriers and defied societal norms, embodying resilience and determination. In 1913, they made history by representing South Australia in the Eight Oar Championship of Australia for the first time. The Cods were recognized for their significant impact on Australian sports with their induction into the South Australian Sport Hall of Fame, a ceremony which took place at Adelaide Oval on March 1, 2024.
In a gesture of homage of where the team formed, the Bridgeport Hotel commemorated the team as part of their venue’s redevelopment, naming their front bar the Cod’s Bar in honour of the renowned local rowing team. The bar features a dedicated area that tells the entire story of The Cods to help share the story. Watch the video here.

Find out the whole story
The Murray Bridge Rowing Club, formed in 1909 at the Bridgeport Hotel in Murray Bridge, evolved into a powerhouse known as the Murray Cods. Dr. Macquarie’s prophetic declaration anticipated their rise to national champions and Olympic contenders. Despite facing class prejudice and fierce competition, the Murray Cods achieved remarkable success, winning the Kings Cup in 1920, 1922, and 1923, and representing Australia at the 1924 Paris Olympics.
Their journey to international recognition was not without challenges. Accusations of professionalism and class bias from Sydney and Melbourne’s upper-class competitors plagued them. The Murray Cods defied convention with their innovative “Murray River style” of rowing, marked by exaggerated body movements. Though criticized for prioritizing strength over style, they persevered.
In 1923, controversy erupted over the inclusion of conscientious objector Wally Pfeiffer in the crew, highlighting broader societal tensions. Nevertheless, the Murray Cods, comprising working-class men from diverse backgrounds, embarked on their Olympic journey aboard the R.M.S Ormonde on May 8, 1924. Arriving in Paris on June 10, they immersed themselves in training on the Marne River, preparing for the upcoming competitions. Despite their efforts, they faced disappointment, being eliminated after losing to Canada on July 15.

The defeat prompted reflection on the crew’s preparation and the challenges they encountered. Despite their best efforts, they fell short on the international stage. However, their journey was not without triumph. Wally Pfeiffer secured gold at the Tailteann Games in Ireland, providing a silver lining to their Olympic campaign.

The Cods’ legacy, marked by challenges, innovation and triumph, continues to inspire, as their story is celebrated and remembered not just in Murray Bridge but as a defining chapter in Australian sporting history.

Some photos provided by the South Australian State Library.