April News

Above: The Victorian Penrith Cup crew powering to victory. Stroke Jayden Grey, 3 Red Matthews, 2 James Crouch, Bow Michael McNamara, Coach James Wilson

News brought to you by your correspondent Trident.

Follow this link for past news
Follow this link for upcoming events


News covered this month:

  • 2019 Under age teams announced with Mercantile represented
  • Pulling Through – The story of the King’s Cup
  • Event in Boathouse Drive Saturday 4th May
  • Anzac Day Service
  • Member profiles – Joe Fazio & Roger Drummond
  • Henley Royal Regatta
  • Martin Owen
  • Member profiles – Herb Shears
  • Bridie O’Donnell’s book
  • ANZAC Day Service – 25th April 2019
  • Underage selection invitations announced
  • More National Championships in pictures
  • National team announced
  • Keep these dates free
  • Vale Brian Dawes


2019 Under age teams announced with Mercantile represented

Published 29th April 2019

The National under age teams were announced today with Ben Canham and Mitch Hooper being selected in the coxed four, coached by our head coach Nick Mitchell. Congratulation to you all. The crew will train from Mercs and please make yourself known to the crew and support them well.

Also congratulations to Brigette Carlile who was selected as the coach of the women’s junior four, also boating out of Mercs. There is nothing stopping the rise and rise of Brigette’s coaching career.

Her crew comprises:
Scarlett Hanna (MLC)
Olivia Moore (GGS)
Teagan Blythe (Loretto Ballarat)
Katherine Easton (Power House)
Cox: Goldie O’Gorman (MLC)

We have two boys and a girl also in the coxed four who need accommodation until the end of June. Any offers of assistance would be appreciated. Please speak with Nick Mitchell.

The RA website reported that the U23 Australian Rowing Team will compete at the 2019 World Rowing U23 Championships to be held in Sarasota, Florida, USA from 24 to 28 July 2019. The size of the team could further increase, depending on upcoming trials for US College-based Australians who will trial between 13 and 16 June 2019.

Meanwhile, Australia will send six crews to the World Rowing Junior Championships, to be held in Tokyo, Japan from 7 to 11 August 2019. In addition to being a Junior World Rowing Championships, the event acts as a test event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games rowing events.

RA continued to state that the U23 Men’s Coxed Four features a familiar face from the Junior and U23 rowing scene, with Queensland’s Adam Bakker making a return to the U23 team, the first time since he won gold in the U23 Men’s Four in 2017. The two-time Junior World Championships medallist is joined by Ben Canham (Mercs), Mitchell Hooper (Mercs), Angus Dawson (SA) and coxswain Caitlin Hockings (QLD) in the crew coached by Nick Mitchell (Mercs).

Go Mercs.


Pulling Through – The story of the King’s Cup

Published 9th April 2019

Your faithful correspondent has been the publisher of a new book on the original King’s Cup race in 1919 and unashamedly is now promoting it to Mercantile members. The book is a quality production which tells the great story of how the King’s Cup was won in racing and then won again against the wishes of the Minister of Defence, Prime Minister Billy Hughes and the Governor General. This is a magnificent story.

Front cover of the book

Books can be purchased and you can read more about the book and order it online.


Event in Boathouse Drive Saturday 4th May

Published 28th April 2019

Be aware that the Melbourne Uni Intercollegiate Regatta is on Saturday 4th May, 6am to noon.


Anzac Day Service

Published 26th April 2019

The 2019 Anzac Day service was a superb Club function with some 60 + members and guests attending.

Club President Anthony Johnson welcomed attendees and spoke of the members at the National Training Centres and also those attending the underage selection trials in Sydney. A slideshow of photos of our members from the National Championship ran throughout the day.

He then mentioned the commitment of the Club to once every year to again have the names of those members who did not return from war serving their country resound around the clubhouse again.

Andrew Guerin then provided those present with an account of one of the members who did not return from WWI – Geoffrey O Robertson. His profile is now added to the member profiles. The President then read the names of the members who did not return from war and distinguished WWII veteran and the Club’s oldest member Arthur Atkins laid the wreath at each honour board.

Geoffrey O Robertson

Special thanks to those member attending who made this such a special occasion. Included were the Hester family who had come from the dawn service and also two grandchildren of the great Ted Kenny, Maureen Francis and Paul Rule. Ted was probably the greatest rowing administrator of all time and the was the person behind getting the King’s Cup from King George V as the perpetual trophy form the Men’s Interstate Eight Oared Championship of Australia. Two of Ted’s brothers served in WWI with Arthur Vincent Kenny dying of his wounds received at Gallipoli and he was buried at sea. Arthur was a champion oarsmen who won NSW senior championships with the Leichhardt Rowing Club of Sydney.

Also many thanks to the organisers who did a superb job with the brunch format.


Member profiles – Joe Fazio & Roger Drummond

Published 24th April 2019

This month we also remember two members whose primary affiliations were with other Clubs but who made a significant contribution to Mercs.

Joe Fazio was the six man of the 1968 silver medal winning Olympic eight. Whilst a Sydney Rowing Club man through and through, he also rowed at Mercantile when his work brought him to Melbourne. A tough and respected rower.

Roger Drummond was a significant Tasmanian coach and rower who raced for the Club in the early seventies.


Henley Royal Regatta 2019

Published 21 April 2019

The Club is planning to send some crews to HRR this year and there are some supporters also planning to attend. To ensure that you are kept up to date with arrangements and events, those supporters should keep Jenny Fraumano and Andrew Guerin advised of your plans. We do not want people to be left out of arrangements.

The current events are:

  • Australia House luncheon Tuesday 2nd July 2019 – tickets can be purchased on the RA website.
  • Mercs dinner Friday night at Zizzi Italian Restaurant at Henley
  • Race for the new King’s Cup
  • Possible dinner at Leander during the week for supporters and arranging access to Leander for members at various times during the week.
Your President stroking a crew to victory at HRR


Martin Owen

Published 12th April 2019

For those young members who have not had the privilege of meeting or knowing Martin Owen, will not understand the respect for which the older members hold for this member.

It is not his many achievements which were superb, but the depth of influence he has on people such as your correspondent. Any achievements which his proteges may have been part, are really those of Marty. It was he who taught us how to inspire, row, coach, administer,do, work outside our comfort zone in any field of endeavour and engineer change. He is one out of the box, a very special character.

Sadly Martin has not been well and he readily admits being terminally ill. Such a situation does not weaken his wit, intellect, memory nor ability to enjoy a good beer or fine champagne or wine – despite having the indignity of drinking through a straw.

Martin now lives at Blue Cross Darnlee in Lansell Road Toorak and welcomes guests.

Continuing to enjoy the company of the great Martin Owen this week over lunch are from the left, Ian and Rosemary Duthie, Terry Phillips, Steve Mollard, Andrew Guerin, Martin and Susan Owen, Andrew Briggs and Ken Marshall. This luncheon finished with an ancient port. So much for the row that night!


Member Profiles – Herb Shears

Published 13 April 2019

Each month more member profiles are added. We now have over 160 published on the website.

This month we begin with the story of Herbie Shears, one of the Shears brothers who all raced for Mercs. Only one of the brothers, John “Jimpy” Shears is still with us.

Vic Sharp (left) and Herb Shears (right) at 1955 Easter Regattas.

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.


Bridie O’Donnell’s Book

Published 10th April 2019

Your correspondent recently had the great pleasure of meeting a former Club member at a Victorian sporting function and was ashamed to not immediately recognise her. Her name is Bridie O’Donnell, the Head of the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation for the Victorian Government.

Bridie has written a book on her sporting life titled Life and Death – A Cycling Memoir and published by Slattery Media in 2018. Your correspondent immediately purchased and devoured it. It is a great story and one which is recommended, particularly for those mature athletes still striving for their peak. My only criticism is the title. It should have been the trials and tribulations of the mature athlete.

Our Club and Head Coach get honourable mentions. Nick Mitchell was a great friend and supporter of Bridie.

As the cover states, Dr Bridie O’Donnell is a unique Australian sporting hero. Intensely driven and a true believer that sporting greatness was still possible when she reached her 40s – even when nobody else believed in her, and hope appeared lost – O’Donnell became a world record breaker in 2016, when she set a new mark in the women’s UCI Hour record book.

The book is available through Slattery Media online book store.

Bridie’s book cover

Your correspondent will not make the mistake of not recognising her again.


ANZAC Day Service – 25th April at the Club

Published 6th April 2019

The Club’s ANZAC Day service will be conducted at the Club at 11am 25th April 2019 followed by brunch. The Club annually conducts a simple service to maintain the memory of those members who failed to return from active service. One of these members is remembered in detail and the names of all the others are read out to be heard again in the clubhouse.

Thursday 25 April 2019 at the Clubhouse

10.30 AM         Arrive

11AM                Memorial Service

11.30                 Brunch

Bar will open at 12 noon for pre match drinks.

Cost $19.00

Bookings on Trybooking

RSVP 20 April 2019


Under age selection trial invitations announced

Published 6th April 2019

Congratulations to Mitchell Hooper and Ben Canham making the under 23 sweep invitation list and also first timer Eric Low making the under 23 lightweight sculling invitation list.

Eric racing at the Nationals


More National Championships in pictures

Published 6th April 2019

Mimi Tuddenham and Georgie Gleeson finish 5th in under 23 pair
Ben Canham and Mich Hooper finish 3rd in a tight finish
Ben and Mitch on the podium
Katrina Bateman finishes mid field in the finial of the women’s scull
Annabelle McIntyre and Jess Morrison power to victory in the women’s pairs
Kat Werry and Olympia Aldersey finished in third place in the women’s pair
Jess Morrison acknowledges Mercs with Kat Werry in the background
Jess Morrison wins the magnificent Sarah Tait Trophy with Kat Werry in third place
Phoebe Wolfe in the final of the under 21 lightweight scull
Ereic Low finishes third in the under 21 lightweight scull
Eric Low receives his medal from Club life member Andrew Guerin
Meghan Hester picks up a bronze in the open lightweight scull
Red Matthews picked up a silver in the men’s lightweight scull
Red on the podium
Sean Colgan flew into Australia to support the Mercantile crews
Launch of the 1919 King’s Cup history “Pulling Through”
L-r: Ian Robson – RA CEO, Bruce Coe – author, Andrew Guerin – publisher, Scott Patterson producer of the documentary on the same subject
Silver medal winning Under 21 four with coach
Great pic of the under 21 girls
Edward Northrop picks up a bronze in the men’s double scull
In a tight race, Liam Donald and Gus Widdicombe pick up a silver in the men’s four
Podium of the Men’s Four for the Bob Aitken Memorial Trophy
Our composite lightweight eight failed to make the podium
Gold medal winning Club four of Angus Moloney, James Hoban, Jack Kelly and Carl Tomczak
Lukas Matic picks up gold in a composite under 19 eight
Lukas getting used to the podium
Bronze for our under 23 eight stroked by Mitch Hooper
Under 23 Eight
Phoebe Wolfe stroked a composite under 23 lightweight quad scull
Finish of the lightweight four with Mercs taking gold
Lightweight Four Champions
Under 23 crew making their way to the podium
The Dr Bibi Colgan visited the podium on many occasions
Podium picture of our under 23 eight
Our women’s quad scull came in second
…but they are pleased
Saunders, Bateman, Stewart and Thomas

More to follow shortly

Katrina Bateman fills in for her sister Amanda in the Nell Slatter Trophy and picks up a silver after a great season
The lightweights seems pleased with their performance – Str: Jayden Grey, 3: Red Matthews, 3: James Crouch (Banks), Bow: Michael McNamara
..and still pretty pleased with the trophy in hand
Our youth girls raced a good race to finish on the podium
The youth girls see what may have been

More to follow


National team announced

Published 6th April 2019

Congratulations to the following Club member selected into the National senior team.

Liam Donald

Gus Widdicombe

Amanda Bateman

Katrina Bateman

Jessica Morrison

Katrina Werry

James Rook

Top ranked sweeper Jess Morrison in the bow seat of the winning pair at the Nationals


Keep these dates free

Published 5th April 2019

Thursday 25 April – ANZAC Service

Saturday 1 June – “Cocktail Party” for Mercantile Internationals 2019

Saturday 10 August – Trivia Night

Saturday 19 October – AGM & Annual Dinner 

Saturday 14 December – President’s Xmas Luncheon

Also note that we will look to have Club nights broadcasting the finals of World Cup, World Championships and HRR


Vale Brian Dawes

Published 7th April 2019

The Club regret to advise of the passing of Charles Brian Dawes, 25 October 1929  –  26 March 2019.

Brian started his rowing at Geelong Grammar before joining Mercantile.

He was a successful King’s Cup oarsman being emergency for 1955 and 1956 crews and raced in the winning 1957 crew.

1957 winning King’s Cup crew

In 1956 he was an emergency for Australian Olympic VIII Bronze Medal Crew.

Our thoughts are with wife Sue, three daughters and eight grandchildren.


Past news can be found through this link.