October 2016 News

Above – 30 years ago, a Mercs based crew wins Australia’s first ever sweep World Championship

Follow this link for past news

Follow this link for upcoming events.

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

Welcome home to our Rio Olympic and celebration of the outstanding career of David Crawshay

Published 29th October

Please join us all at the Clubhouse on Saturday 12th November 2016, 7pm for 7.30pm to welcome home of Rio Olympians and also celebrate the outstanding career of David Crawshay.


Drinks and canapés on arrival followed by formal dinner – evening to conclude at 11:00PM
Lounge suit
Club blazers appropriate
$137 available via
Bookings open until 5 November 2016
Hannah Lewis
0404 399 448

Shunyi, CHINA. AUS M2X, David CRAWSHAY and Scott BREEAN Gold medalist men's double sculls, at the 2008 Olympic Regatta, Shunyi Rowing Course. Sat,.16.08.2008. [Mandatory Credit: Peter SPURRIER, Intersport Images

David Crawshay and Scott Brennan Gold medalist men’s double sculls, at the 2008 Olympic Regatta, Shunyi Rowing Course. Sat,.16.08.2008. [Photographer: Peter SPURRIER, Intersport Images]

This an important event so please make sure that you can attend.

Mercantile racing in the States

Published 18th October 2016

Yep we are back in North America, not Canada this time but in the States. Sean and Bibi Colgan raced in Mercs colours last weekend in a mixed masters double, and won of course. This is fitting given that the names Sean Colgan and Dr Bibi Colgan were added to the Sykes and Hudson eights on the weekend also.


Go Mercs

Mercantile looks afar

Published 18th October 2016

Whilst most Mercantile members are happily training on the Yarra, your correspondent has been hard at work as usual investigating past glories of our members and investigating regattas for future triumphs for the Club. This has taken your correspondent to Monaco to visit the site where club members Andrew Cannon and Sean Colgan have raced and won and to investigate whether Mercantile should race at future World Coastal Rowing Championships. As they say, someone had to do it.


Regatta headquarters at the exclusive Monaco Yacht Club

The attraction of the World Coastal Rowing Championships is great fun racing in open water, often with beach starts, and also it is the only World Championship which can be won by a Club – it is currently an inter-club event.  Next year the regatta is to be conducted on Lac Leman on the French Swiss border – the same lake on which Pierre de Coubertin rowed.

Your correspondent will report back shortly if the distractions of the of the rich and famous, the ambiance and the magnificent cars and boats subsides. Or perhaps I will just have another martini. Garçon …..

2016 Annual General Meeting

Published 15th October 2016

The annual general meeting was preceded the Sprigg Time Trial and the naming of the new Empacher eight, the David D Browne. Much happened at the Club today. Part time correspondent Tine reports:

Following a very successful Sprigg Time Trial, won by the Brighton Grammar 1st VIII rowing in Mercantile colours, the club’s new Empacher 8+ was christened by the donor, Mr Arthur Atkins, naming it after his close friend, David D Browne, who tragically died in World War II.  The christening was filmed by ABC TV and a segment will be aired on ABC News over the coming week.


The Annual General Meeting was held following lunch and the President reported on the successes of the club over the past season, the contributions of many Mercantilians, and the plans to maintain the club at the forefront of Australian Rowing.  The Treasurer’s report was very well received, as he was able to report that the $0.25m building loan had been extinguished in three years, and now the job of rebuilding the Endowment Fund could start.


Trophies for the past season were presented and then the election of club officers was announced:

President:                Mal Batten

Captain:                  Bill Webster

Vice-Captains:       Hannah Lewis & John Leeming

Chairman of Selectors:    David Colvin

Secretary:              Jenny Fraumano

Treasurer:              Duncan MacKinnon

Committee:           Henry Edgar, Sebastian Jenner, Tom Courtney, Anthony Bergelin, Julie Orr, Callum Nott


The floor expressed appreciation for the President’s leadership and acknowledged the passing of Mercantile greats, David Boykett, Sarah Tait, Graeme McCall and Adrian Monger.


The Mercantile Men’s Lightweight VIII presented two trophies from their Canadian campaign to the club, which will be added to the growing collection of Canadian Henley trophies adjacent to the entrance to the boathouse.


James Harvey spoke to acknowledge that everyone in the room is a champion in his or her own way, whether it be on the world stage, the club stage, or just ensuring that the club runs efficiently.  We should all be proud Mercantilians.




Scenes from the Sprigg time trial- photos Joe Taylor

Then the boat naming – David D Browne

Much has been written about this great story, now let the pictures tell the story.


Arrival of the guest of honour, Arthur Atkins. His attendants and drivers for the day, Sam Patten and James Tomkins – photo Joe Taylor


The President Mal Batten and Arthur Atkins inspecting the new boat – photo Joe Taylor


Arthur Atkins and members of the Browne family
From the left, Geoffrey Browne (nephew of David Browne), Tania Ivanka (Geoffrey’s partner), Celia Browne (sister in law of David Browne), Russell Thomson (nephew of David Browne), Arthur Atkins, Sophie Thomson (daughter of Russell), Helen Clark (wife of Russell) and in front Emma Dorey Ivanka-Browne – photo Joe Taylor


The boat – Photo Joe Taylor


The Clubhouse – photo Joe Taylor

2016 Award winners

Published 15th October 2016

Captain’s Trophy

This trophy is awarded annually to the member who has won the most Regatta and Club races during the season on the basis of one point for a win with one additional point for any championship.

For the 2015/16 season, the Captain’s Trophy is awarded to Liam Donald

Max Bailey Trophy

The Perpetual Shield and Trophy is awarded to the coxswain who has won the most Regatta and Club races during the season on the basis of one point for a win with one additional point for any championship.

For the 2015/16 season, the Max Bailey Trophy is awarded to Alexis Hancock

Dr R. A. Cooper Memorial Trophy

This trophy is made available by the generosity of the family of the late Dr. R. A. Cooper and is awarded annually to the member who, during the year, has rendered the most outstanding service to the Club.

For the 2015/16 season, the Dr R. A. Cooper Memorial Trophy is awarded to Julie Orr

N. W. Cairnes Trophy

This trophy is awarded to the most improved coxswain of the season.

For the 2015/16 season, the N.W. Cairnes Trophy is awarded to Alexis Hancock

 Jeff Wylie Memorial Trophy

The Perpetual Shield and Trophy for the most improved lightweight rower is donated by the management and staff of Edward Lumley and Sons Pty Ltd and is awarded annually in memory of the late Jeff Wylie, a former captain of the Club.

For the 2015/16 season, the Jeff Wylie Memorial Trophy is awarded to Carl Tomczak.

F. R. Browne Memorial Trophy

The Perpetual Shield and Trophy is donated by the family of the late F. R. Browne for presentation to the most improved oarsman.

For the 2015/16 season, the F.R. Browne Memorial Trophy is awarded to Liam Donald 

H.R. Frederico Memorial Trophy

This trophy, made available by the late Honourable Justice H. R. Frederico, is awarded annually to the most improved oarswoman at the Club.

For the 2015/16 season, the H.R. Frederico Memorial Trophy is awarded to  Jess Morrison

Keith Bilney Coaches Trophy

This trophy was established in the memory Keith Bilney who gave nearly 70 years of service to rowing as a coxswain, sculler, oarsman, administrator but, most of all, as a coach. He gave of his time freely, instilling in his charges a love of the sport, and a burning desire to win, but with a balanced approach to life.

This trophy is awarded to the coach that is not necessarily the most successful in terms of race wins, but the one who does the most to teach oarsmen & oarswomen how to row, win races and achieve their potential and in so doing develop the foundations of the Club and build and maintain the attitudes of sportsmanship, dedication and loyalty.

For the 2015/16 season, the Keith Bilney Coaches Trophy is awarded to Brigette Carlile and Tom Swan.

Jay Loveless Trophy

This trophy was established as a result of a bequest from the estate of the late Jay Loveless. Jay was the mother of Ricky Loveless, who coxed for the Club. Ricky was tragically killed in a road accident while riding to Mercantile and Jay remained a supporter of the club until her passing in late 2006.  It was Jay’s wish that a trophy be established for the Most Outstanding Oarswoman each season.

For the 2015/16 season, the Jay Loveless Trophy is awarded to Jen Cleary

Most Outstanding Oarsman Trophy

With the establishment of the Loveless Trophy, the Committee deemed it appropriate to establish a trophy for the Most Outstanding Oarsman.

For the 2015/16 season, the Most Outstanding Oarsman Trophy is awarded to  Josh Dunkley Smith

Annual Report now available

Published 14th October 2016

The annual report is now available on this link or under the about/documents page.

Naming of the new eight, the David Browne

More background on David Browne

Published 3rd October 2016

You read about the stoic nature of the airmen of WWII who lost their friends in war, the understated descriptions of the horrors they endured and the detached manner in which they were able to deal with these matters. Further the behaviours of the WWII action movies characters seemed always to your correspondent to be unrealistic. Read the following letter of David Brown to his friend and club member Arthur Atkins just before he died on a bombing raid over Stuttgart and see that these attributes and admirable behaviours did exist.


Above page 1


Above page 2

The letter reads as follows:

Dear Art,

Just a note in reply to your recent letter and to let you know I’m still alive and almost kicking. You certainly heard right about the grim reaper having got in amongst us of late. Dave Behassie, Barlow, Jeffries, Fotheringham, Dwyer, are just a few of those who have gone off recently. In fact there are now only three of the original crew left in my flight.

I’ve done eleven trips now, eight night and three day. Incidentally you probably know from that recent Stuttgart trip that the natives of Germany take a dim view on our intrusions on their privacy and to my mind are definitely hostile towards us. [David was shot down over Stuttgart shortly after this letter was written.]

My first leave has been and gone a week ago so it will be several more before my turn comes around again.

Don’t forget to call in with the car if you get a chance on your leave. London as you know is a dead loss so you you’ll find me here alright.

I must hit the hay now so cheers for now. My regards to the lads.


Club to name the new eight the “David D Browne”

Republished 3rd October 2016

The new Empacher eight has arrived and will be named at the AGM.
This boat was donated by Arthur Atkins and is to be named after one his fellow WWII Lancaster pilots, David D Browne.
This is an interesting story of two mates, one returned from WWII and one did not.

David Dorey Brown, an outstanding young man, a superb athlete and already a great leader, died whilst piloting a Lancaster on a bombing raid over Germany in 1944. He was only 21 years old. He was school captain of Melbourne Grammar School, Captain of Athletics and also a first XVIII player. He enlisted as soon as he finished school.

David and Arthur trained together in Australia, were sent overseas together but were then posted to different squadrons. They spent a month together in the US en route to Britain. Needless to say, prior to their time piloting Lancaster bombers, these two young men enjoyed a dream life of adventure and travel, supplemented no doubt with wine and women during their training and travel to England. Clearly strong bonds formed between them.


Above: David Browne on leave at Chieveley UK in July 1943
It is also a timely reminder of the sacrifices of those who served in WWII and of the superb gesture of Arthur to make this happen.

Arthur is an active 99 year old who is not unexpectedly our oldest member and longest serving member having joined in 1936. Sadly he lost his wife this year but has managed to keep his spirits up. He is an amazing man and I encourage members to take the time to speak with him. He has more than the odd story to tell.


Above: Arthur getting into practice this year.

Please make sure that you attend this AGM.

Annual General Meeting

Republished 3rd October 2016

Please note that the date and time of the AGM has changed to Saturday 15th October 2016 at 2pm. The meeting will be at the Clubhouse.

The meeting will be preceded by:

  • the Sprigg time trial at 11am – everyone welcome to compete
  • boat Christenings
  • buffet luncheon at 12.30pm, cost $30

Bookings for luncheon are required.


Member Profiles

Republished 3rd October 2016

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.


From the Archives

Published 3rd October 2016

Thirty years ago in 1986, a young crew containing many Mercantile members, created history for our sport; they won Australia’s first sweep World Championship. The crew comprised:

Bow: James Galloway
2: Mal Batten (Mercs)
3: Andrew Cooper (Mercs)
4: Michael McKay (Mercs)
5: Mark Doyle (Mercs)
6: James Tomkins (Mercs)
7: Ion Popa (Mercs – at that time)
Str: Steve Evans
Cox: Dale Caterson
Cch: Reinhold Batschi

This was the first success of the revised rowing program in Australia led by Reinhold Batschi and devised by a young Rowing Australia President, John Coates. Australian rowing produced a superb eight which was to be the base of many more Championships, both Olympic and World through to 2004. It also was a trigger to grant Australia to the right to host the first Southern Hemisphere World Championships at Lake Barrington.

This crew was a landmark crew for our sport and vindication of the training and coaching changes which were needed in our sport at that time.

Mercantile was again at the forefront of rowing in Australia and the world.


Above: Celebrating with the Prime Minister


Above: Presentation of the gold medals

Thursday Masters Nights

Republished 3rd October 2016

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 4th September 2016

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 4th June

Updated Events

Updated 4th September 2016

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

Past news can be found through this link.