January 2017 News

Above – Mercs 2016 Camp at Johnsonville

Follow this link for past news

Follow this link for upcoming events.

All news brought to you by your faithful correspondent, Trident.

Vale Ron Richardson

Updated 29th January 2017

The Cub sadly reports that one of our most esteemed members Roland “Thrasher” Richardson died on Friday after a long illness.  He was a person whose lived for the Club and its members. He was Mercantile to the boot straps.

His member profile will provide some background to this great member.

Our sincere condolences to Rosemary who has nursed him with such great care and love through his long illness.

The funeral will take place at St Josephs Malvern, 45 Stanhope Street, Malvern 3144 at 2pm Friday 3rd February.

Above: Thrasher Richardson

Under 21 Men and Meghan Hester win at Barwon Regatta

Published 29th January 2017

Our under 21 men pick up the medal at Barwon after defeating St Kevins and Haileybury in the heat and Scotch and Caulfield in the final.

Based on the performances of the past two weeks against our crew, Melbourne Grammar is looking the pick for the boys Head of the River in 2017 at this early stage of the season. And of course our members are well positioned for strong representation in the Victorian crew.

Above: Mercantile Men’s Youth Eight on the podium

Meghan Hester raced in both the A and B scull on Sunday, winning the B Scull handsomely in a field of fifteen scullers. In a field of nine scullers in the Women’s A Scull, Meghan won her heat and finished second in the final. Well done Meghan.


ANZAC Day Service and President’s Luncheon

Published 27th January 2017

The ANZAC Day commemoration for the Club will take place on Sunday 9th April 2017 at noon.

Whilst not yet scheduled, we expect a boat naming at noon followed by the ANZAC Day service and then the President’s Luncheon.

Please keep this day free.

Annual General Meeting

Published 27th January 2017

Notice is hereby given for the 137th Annual General meeting of Mercantile Rowing Club on Saturday 21st October 2017 at 2pm. The meeting will follow a President’s Luncheon at noon.

Above: Our President Malcom Batten

Congratulations Jennifer Williams AM

Published 26th January 2017

Our heartiest congratulation to Jenny Williams who was admitted as a Member of the Order of Australia today. Jenny is a key member of our women’s masters squad.

Above: Jenny in the seven seat of the masters eight at Rutherglen Regatta this month

Jennifer’s career is stellar and she received her award for significant service to the community through leadership in the public health  sector, and to NGO governance.

Her service include:

  • Chief Executive, Australian Red Cross Blood Service, 2009-2016. Chief Executive, Alfred Health, 2004-2009.
  • Chief Executive, Austin Health, 1997-2004.
  • Director, Psychiatric Services, Department of Health and Human Services, 1993- 1997.
  • Chair, Northern Health, since 2015. Chair, Yooralla, since 2016.
  • Director and Chair of Governance, Audit and Risk Committee, La Trobe University, since 2009.
  • Member, Australian Medical Research Advisory Board, since 2016.
  • Chair, Alfred Health Whole Time Medical Specialists’ Private Practice Scheme, since 2009.
  • Member, Ministerial Advisory Council for the Victorian Health System Statewide Service and Infrastructure Plan, since 2016.
  • Ministerial Delegate to the Barwon Health Board, since 2016. Ministerial Delegate to the Goulburn Valley Health Board, 2012-2013.
  • Commissioner, Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care, 2006- 2008.
  • Chair, Board of Management, Alfred Medical Research and Education Precinct, 2004- 2009.
  • Director, Mental Health Research Institute, 2002-2009.
  • Director and Deputy Chair, Victorian Institute of Forensic Psychiatry, 1998-2001. Director, Hospital Superannuation Board, 1993-1997.

Her awards and recognition include recipient, Victorian Business Woman of the Year, 1995 – Public Sector category.

Congratulations Jenny.

Other Members of the Rowing Community Recognised

Published 26th January 2017

Jenny Williams was in good company with two other rowing community members also being recognised:

Kim Brennan AM for significant service to rowing, to the welfare of athletes and to sport as a gold medallist at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and to the community. Kim is an outstanding athlete but has also served the Australian Olympic Committee as Chair of the Athlete’s Commission, 2012- 2016 and Deputy Chair, and Member, since 2012. She is Ambassador of both the Adopt a School program, Rowing Australia and Illicit Drugs in Sport program.

Above: Kim at 2016 Olympic Games – photo Andrew Guerin

Margaret Birtley AM for significant service to cultural heritage, particularly to the sector, to education, and to historical preservation. Margaret’s work in matters history is far too extensive to mention here. Her connections to rowing include being a rower, probably best known under her maiden name Margaret Swan, and also as a member of the Rowing Australia 1919 Centenary Committee.

Above: Margaret Birtley and Grace Blake at the launch of a historical exhibition at Albert Park South Melbourne Rowing Club in 2014

Congratulations Kim and Margaret.

Barwon Regatta Entries

Published 26th January 2017

Mercantile will be represented by only our men’s under 21 eight and Meghan Hester at this years Barwon Regatta this weekend. Our entries are:

MU218+ Mercantile James Robertson, Lennart Schiesswohl, Maximilian Hanna, Lachlan May, Alexander Wolf, Alexander Clarke, Benjamin Canham, Alexander Maycock, William Anders(c)
FB1X Mercantile Meghan Hester
FA1X Mercantile Meghan Hester

Above: Meghan Hester at Ballarat last weekend

Mercs makes news in Gippsland after camp

Published 24th January 2017


Above: The Bairnsdale Advertiser 23rd January 2017

Results and images from the Ballarat Regatta

Published 22nd January 2017

The Club was well represented at the Ballarat Regatta on the weekend where our crews raced in both small and large boats. The regatta commenced with a time trial.

James Hoban raced well in his heat and was winning in his open scull final before he failed to managed the side waves of the third 500m of Wendouree and went for a swim

Kate Duggan off the start of the time trial in the open single

Meghan Hester raced well in both the single and double winning the lightweight single and second in the open double

Gemma Sibillin shows why she is a top under 21 sculler but was unable to defeat Sky Froebel of Melbourne

Kathleen Hanson also raced well

Clare Ward was our third placed under 21 sculler

Angus Moloney and Jack Lawrence took out the open pair but were beaten overall by both the winning Mercs under 21 and lightweight pairs

James McCann (MUBC) and Andrew Burke combined in the open pair

Will Legge and Carl Tomczak could not find lightweight competition but raced the other pairs in a combined race finishing second overall.

Lennart Schiesswohl and Benjamin Canham won the under 21 pair and were faster than all other pairs

Jack Robertson and Alexander Clarke finished third in the under 21 pair and fifth across all divisions

Lachlan May and Alexander Wolf finished second in the under 21 pair

Benjamin Keller and Joel Cain are a giant pair with giant potential

Maximillian Hanna and Hugo Van De Graaf who won the B final in the under 21 pair

Samuel Lovejoy-Hall and Charles Perkins performed well in the under 21 pair

Elise Franetic (MUBC) and India Dempsey won the open pair

Jessica Brommeyer and Michaella Ballas were second in the under 21 pair after struggling with steering in the time trials

Elle Tomanovits and Annie Anezakis racing in the under 21 pairs

Kirstie Green and Georgie Gleeson won the under 21 pairs

The Mercs camp with John Saunders rigging the men’s eight boat

Mercantile takes out the under 21 four – pictured here off the start

And a composite crew wins the open four

Meghan and Kate could not win the open double, but raced superbly

Unfortunately the under 21 girls had no competition in the eights and the under 21 boys could not match MGs first crew in their race.

The season begins at Ballarat this weekend

Published 18th January 2017

The masters may have had fun at Rutherglen, but all begins at Ballarat this weekend, particularly for the under 21 group whose Victorian selection is being tested. The Club has entered the following crews:

MO1X Mercantile James Hoban
FO1X Mercantile Kate Duggan
FLW1X Mercantile Meghan Hester
FU211X Mercantile Gemma Sibillin
FU211X Mercantile Clare Ward
FU211X Mercantile Kathleen Hanson
MC1X Mercantile James Hoban
MO2- Mercantile Jack Lawrence, Angus Maloney
MO2- Melbourne University/Mercantile James McCann, Andrew Burke
MLW2- Mercantile William Legge, Carl Tomczak
FO2- Melbourne University/Mercantile Elise Franetic, India Lissa Dempsey
MU212- Mercantile Lennart Schiesswohl, Benjamin Canham
MU212- Mercantile Lachlan May, Alexander Wolf
MU212- Mercantile James Robertson, Alexander Clarke
FU212- Mercantile Kirsten Green, Georgie Gleeson
FU212- Mercantile Jessica Brommeyer, Michaella Ballas
FU212- Mercantile Ellie Tomanovits, Annie Anezakis
FO2X Mercantile Kate Duggan, Meghan Hester
MO4- Mercantile/Melbourne University Angus Maloney, Jack Lawrence, James McCann, Andrew Burke
MU214+ Mercantile Lachlan May, Alexander Wolf, Alexander Clarke, Benjamin Canham, James Rook(c)
FU218+ Mercantile Clare Ward, Jessica Brommeyer, Ellie Tomanovits, Annie Anezakis, Georgie Gleeson, Kirsten Green, Michaella Ballas, India Lissa Dempsey, Ally Legge(c)

We look forward to seeing them race and high hopes are held for them all.

Masters hit Rutherglen

Published 18th January 2017

Our masters are really gathering a head of steam competing at the 151st Murray Rowing Association Regatta at Lake Moodemere, Rutherglen, with many competing at the regatta for the first time. Whilst they only pulled in a couple of wins, the team enjoyed the regatta a lot.

Your correspondent umpired at the regatta, your Captain was regatta secretary, Club members Roger Wilson and Paul Somerville manned the commentary microphone and this group enjoyed the superb company and hospitality of the current President of the Murray Rowing Association and the Rutherglen Rowing Club Paul and Ann-Marie Somerville. It was a great weekend.

Some pictures follow from the weekend.

The view at sunrise

The women’s double

Men’s four

Men’s Eight

Paul Somerville being interviewed for television in the thick of the regatta

Ally Legge looked after the Mercs Masters but it did not stop her picking up wins wherever she could

Women’s eight

Update from the Mercs Training camp

Updated 18 January 2017

The Club’s training camp finished on a high with 70 rowers participating. It was a huge event. Well done to Head Coach Simon Gadsden and our coaching team.

Our coaches report that all our athletes are well and training hard – even the coaches seem well! The camp finishes next Wednesday.

Sunday was the “Head of the Tambo”, a 12.5 km time trial devised by Bill Tait which tested not only our athletes, but those of the VIS and MUBC who are also training in that region.  Jenny Cleary performed particularly well.


Above: U23 & Lighty 4’s into an 8 in the summer fog early Saturday morning. Cox: Alexis Hancock, Str: Carl Tomczak, 7: Will Legge, 6: Andrew Burke, 5: James McCann, 4: Jack Lawrence, 3: Angus Maloney, 2: Jayden Grey, Bow: Mick McNamara. Photoo from David Pincus.

Above: Head coach Simon Gadsden in three seat forgetting the old adage, “do as a say, not as I do”

Alex Clarke and Carl Tomczak celebrated their birthdays on camp today, the second time that they have done so. They will now associate their birthdays with days of training hard!

Above: Callum Nott, stretch captain

As John Leeming reported: “Heaps of talent and driven by our head coach Gaddo and a team of volunteer coaches. Go Mercs and Go Gaddo.” Well said John.

Above: We all know the beauty of a rowing boat going fast, but the beauty of our surrounds are also awesome – morning on the Tambo River at Johnsonville. Photo from Hanna Lewis.

Above: Our youth eights. Photo: Brigette Carlile

Above: Youth eights. Photo: Brigette Carlile

Above: Youth girls. Photo: Brigette Carlile

Above: Picture from camp. Photo: Brigette Carlile


Above: Picture from camp. Photo: Brigette Carlile

Above: Youth girls. Photo: Brigette Carlile

Vale Peter Philp

Updated 6th January 2017

The Club and the sport of rowing lost another one of its great rowers and coaches on Tuesday 3rd January 2017 when Peter Philp sadly died from cancer after a prolonged illness. A celebration of his life will be held at Zinc at Federation Square on Thursday 12th January 2017 at 2pm.

Peter commenced his rowing at Scotch College where he stroked their first crew in 1963 and 1964, winning in 1963. He was a strong, technically good and aggressive rower and very perceptive about who and what made a boat go fast. Those who rowed with him described him as a fighter and a winner.
He was not a big person, but he successfully matched it with those far larger than himself. Whilst only two years out of school, he raced in a very successful four of similarly minded and strong rowers with David Palfreyman, Richard Garrard and George Xouris. This four represented Australia at the second World Championships in Bled in 1966. Interestingly all these rowers went on to be excellent coaches and rowed for far longer periods than their peers.
Even though he was still rowing, his reputation as a perceptive and innovative rower led to him being sought out to coach a similarly talented group of rowers of Cam Johnston, Andrew Michelmore, Geoff Rees and Colin Smith. This lightweight crew went onto win Australia’s first gold medal in sweep oared rowing at a FISA World Championship. It also heralded the beginning of the golden age of lightweight rowing in Australia with numerous gold medals being won during the seventies and eighties. This victory must have been very sweet for Peter given his advocacy for the introduction of lightweight rowing at FISA Championships.
AOC President John Coates AC added that “Peter made a massive contribution to our sport and will always be remembered as our first coach to win gold in the modern era with his lightweight four at the 1974 FISA World Championships.”
It was during this time that a big change in Australian rowing occurred, the appointment of Reinhold Batschi. Whilst the credit for this appointment rests with others, Peter was at the genesis of the idea whilst on tour with John Coates in 1975. Discussions between Coates as team manager and the team coaches, particularly Peter, led to the realisation that a revolutionary change in the sport was required to achieve consistent success.
Peter also was appointed an Australian women’s selector at a time when a new approach was required. Rather than single crews from one club being selected, the best from Australia were combined to improve standards. His contribution was significant.
Peter always loved his rowing and continued to row successfully throughout his life. His rowing did not change. He remained a strong, technically sound and fierce competitor who appreciated rowing with similarly minded individuals.
Even in his work as an insurance broker, he was always supportive of rowers and rowing clubs.
Our heart-felt condolences to his wife Annette, son Alastair and sister Rosemary.

Mercs 2017 Camp get underway

Updated 6th January 2017

The annual Mercs camp at Johnsonville is underway again and reports will be coming forth to members from our reporters on site shortly.

The first report indicate high levels of training are being conducted both on and off the water. Reports will be forthcoming shortly.

Above: Head Coach Simon Gadsden directing training on the sand with the rowers being sun smart.


New Mercantile Ties Available

Republished 3rd January 2017

Jenny Fraumano has arranged for the creation of new Mercs ties – see below. The ties are silk and are only $35 each. A perfect Christmas present for any Mercs member who wears a tie. Jenny is only too please to sell you one –


Above: The new Mercs tie

2017 International Season

Republished 3rd January 2017


With many of our senior rowers taking a year away from Australian teams, the Club is hopeful of having some crews racing for Mercs in Europe this winter. So confident are some members that they have booked accommodation and travel to Henley Royal Regatta.


Above: Mercantile at HRR in recent years

More news on this story as the season unfolds.

Member Profiles

Updated 11th January 2017

Olympians v3

The number of member profiles has now well exceeded 100. The first 100 down the next 1,000 to go. We wish to record profiles of all current and past members so please submit others to Subject to editorial review, they will be published with the author’s name and date.

This month we include the sad story of Ricky Loveless, one of our most promising and talented coxswains. Sadly he died in an accident on his way to training in 1970 at the age of 12 years old. Also we include Bill Macrae, the first member to die in the service of their country in WWII and Ian Duthie who is in town from USA at the moment.


Thursday Masters Nights

Republished 3rd January 2017

Reminder that all masters rowers are welcome for a row on Thursday nights followed by a sausage sizzle and refreshments. Row at 6pm and sausage sizzle at 7.30pm. All welcome. Please call Andrew Guerin on 0417 554799 to get put on the weekly email.


Thursday nights after the row

Saturday Morning Breakfasts

Republished 3rd January 2017

The breakfast Mums are always looking for new people to assist them on a Saturday. Any volunteers would be most welcome and should call Jenny Fraumano on 0438 324307.


 Mercantile Mums at work


Above: Breakfast on Melbourne Head day

 Updated Events

Updated 3rd January 2017

Please go to the Events tab for details on forthcoming events.

Past news can be found through this link.