November 2015 news

November 2015

Above – Josh Dunkley-Smith – presentation of bronze medal at 2015 World Championships (photo courtesy of Rowing Australia)

Follow this link for past news

Follow this link for upcoming events.


Head of Yarra Celebrations

Published 22nd November 2015

As mentioned below, this year Mercantile has nine crews entered, with the club looking to again showcase it’s supremacy in Australian rowing, as crews battle their way up the challenging 8.6km course from Birrarung Marr to Hawthorn Rowing Club.


See below for details of our entries.
Racing starts at 10:30AM on Saturday 28th November, and is expected to conclude at 3:30PM. Friends and family are invited to the river to cheer on the crews throughout the day, either by bringing down a bike and following along, or from a number of great vantage points, such as ‘Big Bend’ along the course. The winner’s presentation will take place from 4PM in Hawthorn, following which crews will paddle their way back to Mercantile.

Upon return, the Mercantile bar will be open, to celebrate what is sure to be a very successful day of VIIIs racing. All family and friends are invited to join us.

Competitors and supporters are reminded that access to Boat House Drive on Saturday 28th November will be restricted. Please make alternative parking arrangements.

January Camp

Published 22nd November 2005

Competitive athletes intending to attend the Johnsonville training camp from January 3rd-10th, are reminded that payment is now due. Please ensure that you are fully financial no later than 11th December. Please contact club treasurer Duncan McKinnon via if you have further queries.

Mercantile goes first and second in both Men’s and Women’s Open Eights at the Melbourne Head

Published 22nd November 2015

Mercantile dominated the open events at the Melbourne Head Regatta on Saturday 21st November taking first, second and fourth in the Women’s Open Eight and first and second in the Men’s Open Eight. It was a dominating performance. The men’s eight was stroked by our French visitor Hugo Laborde. Our open rowers had raced earlier in the day at Carrum in the national time trials.


Above: Our winning men’s open eight

In a new event on the program, there was parent and child double scull in which Mercs had two entries. It was won by Chris and Tony Johnson who will soon make it three generations of Mercantile members once Chris finishes school. His father Tony and grandfather Andrew Sinn are prominent Mercs members. The regatta also saw our men’s masters finish third and fifth in their event and we had entries in the women’s club four and the men’s masters double scull.

Follow this link to a photo gallery for this regatta.

Member in the news – Jeff Lawrence

Published 20th November 2015

Mercantile member Jeff Lawrence had his hands full of politicians this week when the next round of Geelong Region Innovation and Investment Fund grants were announced at his factory this week. Fortunately his company Sykes Racing was one of recipients.

Jeff said his company would set up an advanced engineering lab in suburban Geelong that will create faster rowing boats. “We believe we’ll be able to create up to 11 new jobs – a lot of engineering staff and obviously some production staff for that to occur – and we believe we’re going to have some great opportunities, as well as some upskilling of existing people that will come as a result of that.”

Mercantile well represented at Melbourne Head

Published 19th November 2015

Our open rowers are out in force despite the university exams and to your scribe’s knowledge, the first Mercantile parent and child crews.

_MG_2622 kev burrows melb head 2010

Women’s Open Eight

  • A. Dunkley-Smith/F. Albert/H. Lewis/J. Morrison/J. Cleary/M. Cordner/S. Sutherland/C. Sutherland (S. Banting)
  • M. Hester/G. Stewart/A. Marulli/O. Ward/M. Thomas/A. Bateman/K. Werry/O. Sibillin (A. Orr)
  • I. Ferrali/R. Hooper/C. Jennings/R. Hooper/C. Ward/G. Sibillin/K. Duggan/M. Brown (C. Lawrence)

Men’s Open Eight

  • J. Wilson/A. Widdicombe/A. Clarke/J. Linke/T. Hunt/D. Crawshay/L. Donald/J. Dunkley-Smith (J. King)
  • C. Grace/A. Kinsella/W. Legge/J. Grey/A. Wolf/C. Nott/D. Brighthope/C. Tomczak (R. Zhang)

Parent and Child Double Scull

  • Christopher and Tony Johnson
  • Peter and Alex Somerville

Men’s Masters Eights

  • P. De Garis/T. Juzefowicz/A. Guerin/R. Perillo/C. Kimpton/A. Phillips/E. McMinn/J. Thompson (S. Jenner)
  • S. Morrison/A. Johnson/G. Barden/R. Wraith/H. Edgar/P. Somerville/R. Howden/P. Tomanovits (W. Webster)

Men’s Master’s Scull

  • G. Hansen/H. McVicker

Women’s Club Four

  • P. Wijnen/V. Dowell/J. Williams/J. Mardjetko (E. Krassaris)

Drew Ginn attempts world record

Published 18th November 2015

Famous club member Drew Ginn is attempting the 24hr World Record on his bike in support of a great cause, Tour de Cure. “On 27th Nov @ 2pm I will begin what will surely be the biggest physical and metal challenge I have had to overcome, all in the name of a great cause.”



‘My mum was beautiful, caring and made me feel so special and important growing up. My whole family did, but it was mum who left before her time. Mum passed away due to cancer in 1987 when I was just 12 years old. This moment in my life was devastating and I struggled to understand why it happened to me, my mum, our family. Having someone taken from me as a young kid like this, impacted and shaped my attitude to life and the crushing loss was hard to comprehend at the time. It did however set me on a course once the grieving process had settled. Her death taught me to make the most of my opportunities. I still miss her every day and I have found reason to believe she is still with me as I go through life and I am sure it has contributed to the enjoyment I have tapped into during training, competing and developing as an athlete, a man and as a dad.

Cancer is one of the hardest things to live with and one of the hardest things to deal with if a loved one has it. More recently I have struggled to get my head around its impact on many families close to me and specifically families in our Rowing community where I have seen mum’s, dad’s and kids confronted with the challenge of living with, overcoming, and loosing their battle with cancer.


Why then am I, a former Olympic Rower embarking on the 24hr Solo World Record on a bike? Why indeed?

Its to honour my mum, my family and those friends near and far who have or are dealing with cancer. Its to seek a challenge so grand that greats like Oppy made it one of his greatest achievements. It’s to support a great cause, Tour de Cure, which I have long wanted to support and raise funds for. Since 2007 Tour de Cure has raised in excess of $19M, funded over 200 world class cancer Research, Support & Prevention projects and achieved 16 Cancer Breakthroughs. In addition to this, they have shared a BE FIT BE HEALTHY BE HAPPY cancer awareness message with over 45,000 kids around Australia.

This World Record attempt is my way to do all of you near and dear to me proud, as you have brought inspiration to me over many years. 

Your strength, like mum’s, was in the face of serious and significant challenges. In some very small way: 

  • I want to raise further awareness for this disease and show my support for those living with cancer.
  • I want to honour those who lost their battle with this disease. 
  • I want to do something which will challenge and open my mind and eyes to the human condition and capacity. 
  • I want to do something with a team of passionate people which will be all consuming and provide an opportunity to ride and reflect on my mum and those wonderful childhood memories.
  • I want to raise money for Tour de Cure to help with their initiatives which I believe are taking us closer to finding a cure for this disease. 
Please support my efforts by make a making a donation and be sure to leave a message of support which I will need to call on as I take on this enormous physical & mental challenge.’

Drew Ginn

Fundraising page:

Mercs welcomes two French Rowers

Published 15th November 2015

Lea Duret and Hugo Laborde are visiting Melbourne until next April and have joined Mercs. Both have settled in well into the training regime of the Club. Both are dual national representatives for France. Lea was a junior in 2011 and in 2015 finished 4th in the World Under 23 Championships in the pair. Hugo has also raced at the World Under 23 Championships in 2014 and 2015. In 2015 he finished 7th in the pair. Hugo has teamed up with Tom Hunt in an under 23 pair as part of the under 23 men’s squad.

Enjoy your stay and also enjoy Mercantile.


Mercantile enters nine crews in the Head of the Yarra!

Published 13th November 2015

Mercantile has entered nine, yes nine, eights in the Head of the Yarra on the 28th November 2015. The entry fees alone amount to $3,600.


The crews are:

Women’s Open Eight No 1 – the Club’s best on show

Fiona Albert, Addy Dunkley-Smith, Jess Morrison, Hannah Lewis, Charlotte Sutherland, Sophie Sutherland, Madeleine Cordner, Jennifer Cleary, Sarah Banting

Women’s Open Eight No 2 – some of our past champions returning

Robyn Selby Smith, Sarah Heard, Sonia Mills, Sylvie Withers, Joanna Gray, Sophie Robson, Pauline Frasca, Kate Hornsey, Sam Pullin

Men’s Open Eight – our best open and U23 rowers

Liam Donald, Angus Widdicombe, Alexander Clarke, John Linke, Tom Hunt, David Crawshay, Darcy Frawley, Josh Dunkley-Smith, Roy Zhang

Women’s B Eight – an excellent under 23 based crew

Adriana Marulli, Georgia Stewart, Kate Duggan, Rachael Hooper, Rebekah Hooper, Amanda Bateman, Katrina Werry, Olivia Sibillin, Annabelle Orr

Men’s B Eight – some of our under 23 and lightweight rowers

Carl Tomczak, Jayden Grey, Daniel Brighthope, Alexander Kinsella, Harrison Bongiorno, Callum Nott, James Wilson, Dylan Curnow, Jordan King, Coach: Stuart Wilson, Coach: David Pincus

Men’s C Eight – some under 23, youth and lightweight rowers

Andrew Curnow, Thomas Creber, Conor Grace, Max Arundell, Charlie Dixon, Alexander Douglas, William Legge, Angus Maloney, James Rook

Men’s Masters A-C – some big names in this crew

Simon Morrison, Anthony Johnson, Geoff Barden, Richard Wraith, Henry Edgar, Peter Somerville, Richard Howden, Peter Tomanovits, William Webster

Men’s Masters F-G – defending their title from last year

Peter De Garis, Tim Juzefowicz, Andrew Guerin, Roberto Perillo, Colin Kimpton, Andrew Phillips, Euan McMinn, Jeffrey Thompson, Seb Jenner

Mixed Masters E – a composite crew with Caulfield Grammarians

Pernette Wijnen, Val Dowell, Hugh Sarjeant, Gregory Hansen, Chester Lennard, Hugh McVicker, Jennifer Williams, Joanna Mardjetko, Robyn Varney

Can you believe it? 25 years since the Oarsome Foursome won gold

Published 5th November 2015

If you are as old and grey as your correspondent, you will find it difficult to believe that it was almost 25 years ago to the day that the Oarsome Foursome was born winning their first gold medal at 1990 World Championships at Lake Barrington in Tasmania. It was a grand day with the Mercs based four going into these Championships as favourites and carrying Australia’s great hope for our first ever sweep gold medal in a World Championship.  Some 30,000 spectators watched the event and it was the main national news of the week.

1990 M4 presentation0003

Above: Presentations at Lake Barrington. Left to right: James Tomkins, Michael McKay, Sam Patten, Noel Donaldson and Nick Green

The crew went onto win in 1991 with Andrew Cooper replacing Sam Patten who had to return to his medical studies and won again at 1992 Olympic Games. After Barcelona when Andrew Cooper withdrew, Drew Ginn joined the combination which won in Atlanta.

This crew did more for Australian rowing than any other crew and we are indebted to them. They were true champion athletes.

See how great they were in member profiles.

From the archives

Published 2nd November 2015

The 1897-98 annual report records the great success of the Club and of its soon to be Captain Alex Sloan as follows:

That a crew stroked by Mr A B Sloan should be defeated is so novel an experience in the history of our Club, as to call for reference in this report to Mr Sloan’s splendid achievements during the past four seasons. During this period he took part in 32 intercolonial, champion, and open senior races, and won no less than 25 of them. He has stroked to victory 2 intercolonial eights, 1 intercolonial four, 2 champion eights, 2 champion fours, 1 senior eight, 6 senior fours and 6 senior pairs. It should also be here placed on record that the Mercantile senior four, which Mr Sloan joined in 1894, and of which he has been stroke during the past two seasons, has won every senior four-oared race during the last five years, and that on several occasions the senior four-oared race has been struck out of regatta programmes because the entry from the Mercantile Club was the only one received.

A very impressive record indeed.

AB Sloan 1900-08

In 1896 he was awarded the international Helms Award for rowing. The same trophy was won by James Tomkins a century later. Alex Sloan was an accomplished sportsman also being a leading footballer. He was also one of Fitzroy’s finest football league players in the rowing off season. He captained Fitzroy to two premierships in 1898 & 1899, playing as an amateur.

Cup Day at Mercs

Published 2nd November 2015


Mercantile zootie spotted at….

Published 1st November 2015

This month’s contributor is Sean Colgan, spotted here with partner Bibi Rodgers racing a 3 miler in Philadelphia under Mercantile Colours in October. They look great in Bibi’s first rowing race, and as Mercantile. Well done Bibi.

Bibi and Sean Oct 15

More member profiles added

Published 1st November 2015

More member profiles are being added including some of our younger members such as current champions John Linke and Josh Dunkley-Smith. We also add some of past heroes such Norman Nation and William Cumberland, two of our members who died in WWI.  There are now over 80 profiles listed already since this feature started just over a month ago. We seek more contributions as this feature needs to be far larger than the current 80 profiles.

Tis the Head Race Season

Published 1st November 2015

To get into the mood for the November Head races, some more pictures from Lachlan McKinnon from 2014.




Mercantile at the Head of the Goulburn

Published 1st November 2015

Mercantile masters enjoyed the great weather and hospitality of the Nagambie region at the Head of the Goulburn in late October. This regatta finishes at the Tahbilk winery so no wonder the masters were there!


Our C masters crew with David Fogarty back rowing in a Mercs crew in the bow seat. David has been rowing with Bendigo where he now lives.


Our F masters crew

Past news can be found through this link.