PICTURE the scenes, and it's not hard to picture them.
Parades down the Penrith town centre and 20,000 people lining the banks of the mighty Nepean with the glory of the Blue Mountains as a backdrop.
Money aplenty as the landed gentry came to visit for what was the elite sport of rowing.
The vast flowing waters of the Nepean hosting Empire and later Commonwealth Games.
Private-school young chappies in their straw boaters out with the plebs once a year for the GPS Head of the River.
It was a time when the Nepean could be claimed as one of the world's great waterways — up there with the Amazon, the Nile, the Yangtze and the Mississippi. Or at least the locals could say.
That status will be regained when the river and the Nepean Regatta Centre hosts a series of major events in coming weeks, culminating in the Rowing World Cup, the first time the event has been held outside Europe.
Which is only appropriate, since the Nepean Rowing Club will celebrate its 85th anniversary next month.
Old newspapers bear testimony to those scenes. But more graphic are the memories of the members — some in their 90s — who were there and have been part of the Nepean club for many of those 85 years. Every Tuesday morning they meet at the club and relive those memories. Out come the journals dating back to the '30s and the leather-bound book with the signatures of the famous who have competed, and the famous who learned to row on the river.