December 2019 News

Above: Jess Morrison receiving the prestigious Gina Reinhardt Leadership Award at the Rower of the Year Awards

Provided by your faithful correspondent Trident.

Past news can be found at this link.

News covered this month

  • Club camp moved from Gippsland to the clubhouse due to fires
  • Monash 1989 crew reunite at Mercs
  • Merry Christmas
  • Christmas wishes from Will Legge at Cambridge University
  • Annual Detour
  • Youth camp Nagambie
  • New Years Eve road closures
  • A great President’s Luncheon
  • President’s Lunch Sun 15th Dec
  • Carrum entries
  • Victorian team squads announced
  • Wine sales
  • Rower of the Year Awards wrap up
  • Head of the Yarra images
  • From the vaults – post war Mercantile


Club camp moved from Gippsland to the clubhouse due to fires

Published 29th December 2019

Given the risks of poor air quality and the likely recommendation to stay away from the area, the Mercantile camp will be moved back to the clubhouse. Otherwise the arrangements will remain the same.


Monash 1989 crew reunites at Mercs

Published 27th December 2019

The victoious 1989 Monash crew which was largely crewed by Mercs member got together from all around the world for a Christmas row and luncheon. The original crew was: Bow: William James, 2: Jason Platts, 3: Brad Kininmonth, 4: Simon Spriggs, 5: Eugene Kininmonth, 6: Justin Negri, 7: Andrew Cohen, Str: Simon Quirk, Cox: Vanessa Cohen, Cch: Chris Dane.

Of the Mercantile members, the Kininmonth brothers, Andrew Cohen, Jason Platts, Simon Quirk and Vanessa Cohen all presented. Sadly Simon Spriggs was an apology and Justin Negri was a last minute withdrawal due to a medical emergency with one his cardiology patients. Despite these absences, a great time was had by all and several of the crew rejoined the Club as Alumni members.

Jason Platts far left, the Kininmonth brothers third and fourth along, Andrew Cohen and Simon Quirk sixth and seventh from the left and Vanessa Cohen in front.

The Monash University Rowing Club was founded by Mercs members and there has been a strong connection with Monash rowing ever since. Andrew Cohen and Andrew Guerin were spotted plotting the revival of Monash University rowing at Mercs.

The crew going for their reunion row


Merry Christmas

Published 24th December 2019

On behalf of our President Anthony Johnson and the Committee, we wish you and you families a very Merry Christmas.

We look forward to great and successful New Year.


Christmas wishes from Will Legge at Cambridge University

Published 24th December 2019

We are pleased to once again hear from Will Legge at Cambridge University Boat Club. It may not be the Christmas message from the Buck House but it does provide an insight to rowing at Cambridge.

Trial 4s (and 8s!)

Following the Fours Head race in November, both Oxford and Cambridge split their top 16 athletes into matched eights, with the aim of competing in a race across the full championship (boat race) course in late December. This year Cambridge plans to race a 3rd VIII, so the remaining 8 rowers and two coxes also split into two coxed fours, who competed over the same distance earlier on the day of Trial 8s. 

Will in the stroke seat of his four – it does not look warm

My coxed four had a good preparation leading into the race, with some promising pieces into some terrible water two days before the race. Following one piece, our boats had begun to sink after filling with water. Luckily our 3-seat Cam Spiers was a former St Paul’s boy, and we were able to pull into the St Paul’s landing to empty our boat. St Paul’s were having their annual pudding eights race that day (which had to be cancelled because of the weather) so luckily a large crowd were on hand to offer us burgers, hot tea and most importantly help emptying our boats! 

Two days later, our four (named ‘Light Work’) raced the other four (‘House Work’) over the course, which was thankfully a lot flatter than earlier in the week. Having lost the coin toss, we raced on the Middlesex station. The crews were mostly level off the start, with House work taking a slight lead. Around the first corner (which was to our advantage) we managed to reel them back in and take a 3/4 length lead coming into Hammersmith bridge. From that point onwards however, they had the advantage of the long bend on the Surrey station. We fought hard to stay with them, however with around 3km remaining of the race they managed to break free to a clear water lead. We managed to hold them to a 2 1/2 length margin at the end, and they informed me (post-race) that at no point were they comfortable in having us beat. Close racing and good experience for all crews!

A couple of hours later followed the Trial Eights race (read:main event!). The eights were named ‘Electric’ and ‘Boogaloo’ because here at Cambridge we actually like to have fun. Boogaloo won the coin toss and elected to race on the Surrey station. Having taken advantage of a clash of blades, they managed to move ahead coming past Harrods, and ended up winning the race by a little under a length.

Following racing came the most important part of the process: the traditional Trial Eights dinner at Brooks’s Club in London, hosted by CUBC friends and Alumni. Mercs could learn a lot from this part of the process, and a discussion should be had on instituting crew debriefs in black tie with three course meals and wine. 

Black tie debrief

We now have a short break before heading to camp in Spain for the New Year!

Spain should be warmer!

Merry Christmas! Will


Annual Detour

Published 22nd December 2019

The annual ride to Portsea and back occurred today with few reports received. James Rook reports that the total distance for the day was 250 km – see below! A few dropped off along the way but those that stayed the distance did a top job. Another cox keeping up with the crew.

Not a bad mornings work

The following picture has made its way to Instagram.

There are a couple of serious riders in that group.


Youth Camp Nagambie

Published 21st December 2019

Our youth squad have returned from the December youth camp much more together and set up for the New Year. Brigette Carlile has provided us with a glimpse of the camp.

The girls squad
A game coxswain
Boat skills or having fun?
And rowing into the evening


New Years Eve Road Closures

Published 20th December 2019

The boatshed area roads and Boathouse Drive will be closed from noon on New Years Eve until 2am on New Years Day. See below. It is a full road closure and trailers and other equipment needs to be removed from the highlighted areas in front of the sheds.

Road closure map


Great President’s Luncheon

Published 17th December 2019

A pin dropping on the floor would have sounded like an explosion whilst Drew Ginn spoke to those attending the President’s luncheon on Sunday. His riveting speech had us all enthralled and wanting more. And furthermore, he had arrived in Melbourne only moments beforehand after moving back to Melbourne from Tasmania. A superb effort to come to his club first time back in Melbourne.

For those who did not attend, I can only provide my sympathy. You missed a golden moment at the Club.

Thanks to Drew, and those who organised and attended the function – a memorable day. Some images follow.

Drew Ginn speaking at the luncheon
Drew and Johno share a joke whilst Drew is thanked for his speech
Drew shares a moment with the under 21 men’s table
Head VIS rowing coach Noel Donaldson enjoying Drew’s comments
The seniors table – Phil Ainsworth, Rosemary Richardson, Bob Duncan, Marcie Werthheimer, the Bostocks and John Werthheimer.
The President’s table – Performance Director Paul McGann with Tracey McGann, the President, Tom Courtney and Drew Ginn
And the masters getting into the festivities, and wine
The Fraumanos, Batemans and Orrs enjoying the afternoon
And the Captain’s table


President’s Luncheon – Sunday 15th December 2019

Published 6th December 2019

A great day is planned for Sunday 15th December 2019 for the President’s Christmas Luncheon. A big crowd will be present for the big day. Drew Ginn will be guest speaker.

Drew Ginn after winning the most amazing race in Olympic history at Beijing
Photo credit: Peter SPURRIER, Intersport Images.

The activities are:

  • 10am Pudding eights – all, and we mean all, must compete.
  • Noon – Gourmet BBQ Luncheon, followed by cheese platters, fresh fruits and tarts
  • Guest speaker Drew Ginn, Mercantile triple Olympic Champion and now High Performance Manager of Cricket Australia
  • Q&A with Club great Bill Wallace on post war rowing at Mercantile
  • Drinks at bar prices
  • Cost only $35, $20 for those competitive athletes who pre-book on Trybooking, $25 otherwise.
  • Bookings essential.

Book on Trybooking –


Carrum entries

Published 11th December 2019

The last regatta before Christmas is on at Carrum this weekend. Our entries follow.

MO2-Benjamin Canham,Alexander Wolf
MO2-Nicholas Vlachodimitropoulos,Timothy Benton
MO2-William Achermann,Lukas Matic
MU212-Tom Murray,William Kalikman
MU212-Stearns Weil,Marcus Cain
FO2-Georgie Gleeson,Mimi Tuddenham
MO1XEric Low
MO1XAlexander Kinsella
MU211XJordan Roberts
FO1XPhoebe Wolf
FU211XLouisa Bongrain
FU211XRhiannon Morgan
FU211XPaige Barr
FU211XSophie Reinehr
MU214+Marcus Cain,Stearns Weil,Tom Murray,William Kalikman,Phillip Tran(c)
MO4-Thomas Page,Maxwell Fisher,Benjamin Canham,Alexander Wolf
MO4-Nicholas Vlachodimitropoulos,Timothy Benton,William Achermann,Lukas Matic
X2XPhoebe Wolf,Jordan Roberts
MO8+Eric Low,Nicholas Vlachodimitropoulos,Timothy Benton,Alexander Kinsella,Lukas Matic,William Achermann,Benjamin Canham,Alexander Wolf,Phillip Tran(c)
FB2XLouisa Bongrain,Sophie Reinehr
FB2XPaige Barr,Rhiannon Morgan

Also there will be some NTT trials.

MO2-Tom Murray,William Kalikman
MO2-Stearns Weil,Marcus Cain
MO2-William Achermann,Lukas Matic
MO2-Nicholas Vlachodimitropoulos,Timothy Benton
MO1XAlexander Wolf
MO1XBenjamin Canham
MO1XEric Low
MO1XJordan Roberts
FO2-Georgie Gleeson,Mimi Tuddenham
FO1XPhoebe Wolf


Victorian team squads announced

Published 9th December 2019

Rowing Victoria selectors Tom Courtney (Chairman) and Noel Donaldson have announced squads for the Victorian Interstate Championships. They include the following club members.

King’s Cup

  • Ben Canham
  • Liam Donald
  • Angus Widdicombe
  • Alex Wolf
  • James Rook

Queen’s Cup, Bicentenary Cup and Nell Slatter

  • Amanda Bateman
  • Katrina Bateman
  • Sky Froebel
  • Georgie Gleeson
  • Jess Morrison
  • Mimi Tiddenham
  • Katrina Werry
  • Cch: Brigette Carlille

Penrith Cup

  • Eric Low
  • Red Matthews
  • Cch: James Wilson

Victoria Cup

  • Meg Hester
  • Phoebe Wolf

Wilkinson Cup

  • Will Achermann
  • Tim Benton
  • Marcus Cameron
  • Eric Low
  • Lukas Matic
  • Phillip Tran

Congratulations to these members and Go Mercs!


Wine Sales

Published 6th December 2019

The Club is pleased to announce that it has partnered with Wild Fire Wines to bring high quality wines to members, and, for each case sold, $30 comes to the Club. This Club offer also provides significant discounts on the retail price of these wines to members.

Wild Fire Wines was founded by Peter Newman and John Harry. They’ve now been joined as partners by Geoff Shenfield and Donna Harry.
Their website states that they want to help their friends to find the best possible wines for their money in an industry that’s big, noisy and often hard to follow.

John Harry on the left

Your correspondent has tried several of the wines and thoroughly recommends them. He has put in his Christmas order already.

To make sure that both you and the Club receives it’s benefit, please follow the instructions on the order form.

John Harry in his younger days as a rower – third from right


Rower of the Year Awards Wrap Up

Published 6th December 2019

As mentioned last month, the Rowing Australia Rower of the Year awards were very special for the Club with many members recognised. The highlight of the evening was Jess Morrison receiving the prestigious Gina Rinehart Leadership Award from Rowing Australia Patron and Hancock Prospecting Executive Chairman, Mrs Gina Rinehart. Jess was surprised to win the Gina Rinehart Leadership Award, “I didn’t expect to win tonight’s award. It really is a great honour and to have been able to compete in two boats this season was awesome. It’s fantastic to be part of a team that has qualified virtually double the amount of boats for Tokyo 2020 in comparison to 2016.”
Rowing Australia Patron and executive Chairman of the Hancock Prospecting Group, and Roy Hill and S. Kidman & Co, Mrs Gina Rinehart said, “I’m delighted to recognise Jessica Morrison with the Gina Rinehart Leadership Award. She is a perfect example that hard work, dedication, sacrifice and perseverance pays off. Jessica is an outstanding role model. It is an exciting year to look forward to as we approach the Tokyo Olympics, with hundreds of kilometres of rowing practise ahead!”

Jess responding to the audience after being presented with the award – photo courtesy of RA

The women’s crew of the year was no great surprise, the superb four containing club member Kat Werry. The four has had a successful Olympiad so far and are current World Champions. Kat responded on behalf of the crew thanking many people. They have had a sensational season and are well placed for the Olympic year. The crew is one of Australia’s best placed crews/athletes for Olympic medals.

Kat Werry responding on behalf of the crew – photo courtesy RA

The next award for the Club was the 2019 Pathways Crew/Athlete of the Year Award was jointly awarded to Australia’s U23 World Champions – the Men’s Coxed Four and the Women’s Single Scull. Adam Bakker, Angus Dawson, Mitchell Hooper, Ben Canham and Caitlin Hockings won gold in Sarasota, along with their team-mate Ria Thompson who won gold in Women’s Single Scull. Congratulations in particular to Ben Canham, Mitch Hooper and coach Nick Mitchell. Ria raced brilliantly at the Worlds and was of course a Mercs member before moving to Brisbane.

Ria to the left with Mitch and Ben to the right – photo courtesy of RA

Your correspondent was acknowledged for services to the sport.

Rob Scott acknowledging your correspondent – photo courtesy RA
Members spotted in the crowd – photo courtesy RA
More members spotted in the crowd – photo courtesy RA
A couple of generations of Mercantile coxswains – photo courtesy RA
One retired and one not so retired rower – photo courtesy RA


Head of the Yarra Images

Published 6th December 2019

Sadly the Club was dogged with some bad luck with collisions etc this year but that is head racing. The Club’s best men’s eight, the David Browne, suffered several holes in the scramble around corners. Some images of the day follow.

With 280 entrants, boats were everywhere
Our women discuss their training row
…and then refuel
Breakfast Mums at it again for the rowers
The masters warm up including life member Sean Colgan, Olympic great James Tomkins and the President Anthony Johnson
The women’s masters depart
David Fraumano on his last day as a Mercs coach
The women’s masters take off
Men’s masters through Morell Bridge
Masters E into the finish
Mixed masters approach the line
G masters approach the line
Our Women’s B crew approach the line
Men’s B crew in the last straight
And then passing the photographer
Open women in the final straight
Holding off the Queenslanders
Open eight in the final straight
Pushing to the line


From the archives – post WWII rowing at the Club

Published 6th December 2019

Rowing after WWII took some time to restart. The real influx of members returning from war service was seen in 1946-47 season. These members formed a strong junior squad including some our strongest rowers over the coming years including: the Shears brothers, Jim Neill, Bob Aitken, Lawrie Moll, John Farmer, Harry Duncan, Bill Wallace and Geoff Hyett to name just a few.

The juniors made their way into the senior ranks and by 1948, the Club was starting to win senior races. In the 1948-49 season, we almost won the senior premiership but senior eight wins eluded us. The first senior eight win for 11 years was won at Albert Park in January 1950.

Given that few members owned cars and most were short on money, the solidarity of the Club was evident. Most members spent most of the leisure time at the club and involved themselves in club activities. The bonds between the rowers of that era lasted their whole lives.

1946 Junior eight – the start of the post war revival
1948 Champion Four – Stroke Herb Shears, 3 Lawrie Moll, 2: Bob Aitken, bow: Bill Wallace, cox: Barry Jeffery, inset coach Charlie Saleh
And those who could get access to car, took fellow members to the beach – left to right Jack Jones, Clive Ward, Deane Morgan, Eddie Jones and unknown. Photographer Arthur Atkins.
Yes and there were masters back then as well.This crew contained some of the great early rowers of the Club such as life members Arch Dobbie, Ted Kenny and Alby Lindblade, and also late comers to the sport Bob Rush of Collingwood Football Club fame.


Past news can be found through the link.