October 2019 News

Above: Women’s eight celebrate silver last month at the World Championships. Dual silver medallist Jess Morrison far right and James Rook in front

Provided by your faithful correspondent Trident.

Past news can be found at this link.

News covered this month

  • Your new Committee
  • Mercantile members in World Rowing Awards nominations
  • Liam Donald joins Men’s National Training Centre
  • Colgan Foundation assists RA
  • Road closures Sat and Sun 12/13 weekend
  • New Club Trophy to recognise Martin Owen
  • AGM and Dinner 19th October
  • Road closures Sun 13 Oct – Melbourne Marathon
  • Another member of the Mercs 2035 squad born
  • Juniors reunion a great success
  • From the vaults: Fund raising 1885 style


Your new Committee

Published 22 October 2019

The AGM was a great success with the President and some 50 members attending the meeting on Saturday night. A superb dinner followed the meeting.

Amongst the members attending was dual silver medallist at the 2019 World Championships, Jessica Morrison. Also attending was Susan Owen to present the inaugural Martin Owen award.

The President and Vice-Presidents were elected unopposed :

Anthony Johnston

Philippe Batters
Jeff Lawrence
David Colvin
David Yunghanns
Roger Wilson OAM
Warwick Hutchins
Andrew Evans
Henry Edgar
John Leeming
James Tomkins
David Pincus

Captain: William Webster

Vice-Captains – an election was required for one of the positions with the following people elected:
Meghan Hester and Angus Maloney

Hon Secretary: Andrew Guerin

Hon Treasurer: Duncan MacKinnon

Chairman of Selectors: David Colvin

Boathouse Manager: Seb Jenner

Social Manager: Jenny Fraumano

Julie Orr
Hamish Fitzsimmons
Tom Courtney
Gemma Sibilin
Maddy Farrar

Auditor: Smart Auditor Australia

Hon Solicitor: Robyn Selby Smith

Award winners were:

Captain’s Trophy for the most regatta wins: Jayden Grey

Max Bailey Trophy for the coxswain with the most wins: Lily Arnoul

Jeff Wylie Memorial Trophy for the most improved lightweight: Phoebe Wolf

FR Brown Trophy for the most improved oarsman: Lukas Matic

H R Frederico Memorial Trophy for the most improved oarswoman: Jessica Morrison

N W Cairnes Trophy for the most improved coxswain: Phillip Tran

Jay Loveless Trophy for most outstanding oarswoman: Katrina Werry

Martin Owen Trophy for the most outstanding oarsmen: Benjamin Canham and Mitchell Hooper

Keith Bilney Coaches Trophy: James Wilson


Mercantile members in World Rowing Awards nominations

Published 15th October 2019

Member Kat Werry, and former member Ria Thompson who raced with us in 2018, have both been nominated for World Rowing Awards. Kat as a member of the World Champion women’s four for the women’s crew of the year and Ria for the Filippi Spirit Award. Ria moved to Brisbane for study reasons so we still call her one of us. Congratulations to them both.

Katrina in the starting blocks at the Worlds this year

There are plenty of Australians in the nominations, more than any other year.

The full nominations are:

Finalists for the 2019 World Rowing Awards

Thomas Keller Medal – for a rower who has had a long and successful rowing career and who has made an outstanding contribution to rowing as a competitor and as a sports personality.

·         Kim Brennan, Australia

·         Ekaterina Karsten, Belarus

·         James Cracknell, Great Britain

·         Pete Reed, Great Britain

·         Andrew Triggs Hodge, Great Britain

Filippi Spirit Award – for a university rower who has demonstrated the core values of rowing in his/her social, academic and sporting life and, through these values, also enabled or inspired exceptional success in other people’s lives.

·         Ria Thompson, Australia

·         Jean Maillard, France

·         Ronan Byrne, Ireland

·         Nicholas Perovich, United States

World Rowing Sustainability Award – for an organisation that has implemented an innovative project or initiative delivering a clear and positive sustainability impact.

·         Spring Creek Regeneration Project, Australia

·         2018 World Rowing Coastal Championships, Canada

·         Wintech: Clean air, water and solar power, China

·         Rowers Against Rubbish, Great Britain

·         Developing Environmental Ambassadors, Japan

World Rowing Para-rowing Crew of the Year

·         Kathryn Ross, AustraliaPara PR2 Women’s Single Sculls

·         Ellen Buttrick, Giedre Rakauskaite, James Fox, Oliver Stanhope and Erin Wysocki-Jones (coxswain), Great BritainPara PR3 Mixed Coxed Four  

·         Lauren Rowles and Laurence Whiteley, Great BritainPara PR2 Mixed Double Sculls 

·         Birgit Skarstein, NorwayPara PR1 Women’s Single Sculls

·         Roman Polianskyi, Ukraine, Para PR1 Men’s Single Sculls

World Rowing Men’s Crew of the Year

·         Zhiyu Liu and Liang Zhang, ChinaMen’s Double Sculls

·         Valent Sinkovic and Martin Sinkovic, CroatiaMen’s Pair

·         Oliver Zeidler, GermanyMen’s Single Sculls

·         Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy, Ireland, Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls

·         Dirk Uittenbogaard, Abe Wiersma, Tone Wieten and Koen Metsmakers, The NetherlandsMen’s Quadruple Sculls

World Rowing Women’s Crew of the Year

·         Olympia Aldersey, Katrina Werry, Sarah Hawe and Lucy Stephan, AustraliaWomen’s Four

·         Yunxia Chen, Ling Zhang, Yang Lyu, Xiaotong Cui, ChinaWomen’s Quadruple Sculls

·         Sanita Puspure, IrelandWomen’s Single Sculls

·         Zoe McBride and Jackie Kiddle, New ZealandLightweight Women’s Double Sculls

·         Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler, New ZealandWomen’s Pair

World Rowing Coach of the Year

·         Bernd Nennhaus, Germany, junior rowing crews         

·         Tom Dyson, Great BritainPara-rowing coach    

·         Eelco Meenhorst, Netherlandsmen’s sculling head coach  

·         Gary Hay, New Zealandwomen’s head coach       

·         Johan Flodin, Norwayhead coach

This is the second year of bringing all of the awards together into one ceremony. The ceremony will take place at the World Rowing Awards dinner on 22 November 2019 when the winners will be announced. This will be during the World Rowing Coaches Conference in London, Great Britain.


Liam Donald joins Men’s National Training Centre

Published 12th October 2019

Liam Donald joins Gus Widdicombe at the Men’s NTC in Canberra after having taken part in the recent NTC Testing Camps. He is already in Canberra training with the squad.

Liam training at Canberra this week
Gus Widdicombe sculling in Canberra on Thursday this week

As a member of the of 2019 Australian Rowing Team members, Liam is returning in Intake 2 whereas Adam Bakker, who trained at Mercantile over winter, will join the NTC for the first time.

Training with Government House as a backdrop

The Hancock Prospecting Women’s National Training Centre sees three new faces join its ranks, which include former member and 2019 World Rowing U23 Champion, Ria Thompson.


The Colgan Foundation assists RA

Published 12th October 2019

The Colgan Foundation run by Bibi and Sean Colgan have generously assisted Rowing Australia’s men’s training centre with funds to upgrade the kitchen and rest areas. This was a matter of some concern for Rowing Australia and appreciation of the athletes was profound.

The Colgan Foundation asked Andrew Guerin to open the new facilities on its behalf.

Liam Donald far left, Gus Widdicombe holding the plaque with Andrew Guerin centre


Road closures Sat and Sun 12/13 weekend

Published 7th October 2019

This Saturday 12th October access to Boathouse Drive will be limited for the set up and running of the SUBC v MUBC Australian Boat Race. 

Set up starts at 7.00 am and vehicle access will be blocked at the skate board park, if not the whole of Boathouse Drive until 4.00 pm.

Later in the morning there will be no bicycle access in the front, or river side of the whole boat shed row, only pedestrian access.

Racing starts at 12.00 pm and finishes at 2.30 pm. Definitely a public transport day.

And on Sunday, we have the Melbourne Marathon. Getting to Boathouse Drive will be difficult. The Melbourne Marathon website shows the road closures.


New Club Trophy to recognise Martin Owen

Published 2nd October 2019

The Club is pleased to announce that a new trophy will be awarded at the AGM this year for the most outstanding male rower of the years. It is named in honour of past life member and Captain of the Club, Martin Owen, who died this year. His widow Susan Owen will be present to present the trophy.

This is a highly appropriate honour for such an outstanding contributor to the Club and hopefully those who win the award will learn of the richness of Marty’s life.

Martin Owen as Captain in 1973


AGM and Dinner – Saturday 19th October

Published 2nd October 2019

You are invited to join us at the Mercantile Annual General Meeting followed by the Annual Dinner to celebrate the year past and to welcome our new members and the upcoming season.

When: 19 October 2019 at the Club, 5 Boathouse Drive, Melbourne Vic.

7pm          Canapes and pre dinner drinks 

7.30pm     Annual General Meeting

8pm          Award presentations and Dinner

8.45pm       Dessert

9.30 pm     Bar open. Drinks at Bar Prices

Dinner Cost: $135.00 (Competing Athletes $110.00). Drinks included with the meal service

Dress: Lounge Suit, Club Blazer

RSVP        5 October 2019



Road Closure Sun 13 October – Melbourne Marathon

Published 2nd October 2019

Please be aware that access to the boatshed area will only be by foot Sunday 13th October in the morning due to the Melbourne Marathon.


Another member of the Mercs 2035 squad is born

Published 2nd October 2019

David and Siobhan Crawshay have broken the Crawshay tradition of boys with the birth of Hannah. All are well. They now adds to the large number Mercantile offspring vying for the Club’s under age ranks in the 2030s and 2040s.

Siobhan, Hannah and David
Hannah introduced to the family

Great work Siobhan and David and go Mercs!


Juniors Reunion a Great Success

Published 2nd October 2019

Last weekend the Club played host to a reunion of the 1984-87 Australian junior crews coached by Phil Ainsworth. Congratulations to Geoff and Fiona Barden for organising such a splendid afternoon. The luncheon started at 11am but did not finish until 5pm!

As with all good reunions, a row to prove nothing has changed

After the first presentation on the 1984 Bronze medallists our seated lunch finished earlier than expected as Phil still had three crews to present and was keen to continue.

Luncheon with ample red wine of course

The afternoon even included word for word extracts from the coaches reports provided to Rowing Australia! Phil had prepared a thorough presentation and was relentless in his effort to finish his report on each of the four crews.

No amount of tall stories or heckling was going to stop Phil

We laughed and heckled at the reports that included images of our accommodation, meal halls and the odd rowing photo.

It was a tough gig for Phil as the beer and wine had been in ample supply during the day, we interjected and sought to clarify and embellish his recollection of events some 35 years ago. A great afternoon was enjoyed by all.


From the vaults: Fundraising 1885 style

Published 2nd October 2019

In 1884, the old Princes Bridge was demolished and by September 1885, a temporary wooden bridge built. At the same time, Mercantile was granted a lease of land on the present site. It was part of what was known as Brickfields or Brickmaker’s Ground. It was a swamp and below high water mark.

Arrangements were made with the Harbour Trust to tow barges containing silt to the site and enthusiastic members spent their evenings removing the filling to solidify the ground.

Again simultaneously, tenders for the construction of the boathouse were let and construction began almost immediately and finished in the same year. The cost was 350 pounds for the shed plus 80 pounds for the piling. Some 200 people attended the opening and it was a grand affair.

So how did they fund it?

The sum of 300 pounds was raised by 5 pound debentures taken up mostly by members. The balance came from donations from a number of patrons in the business community and from proceeds of a monster bazaar and Bruce Auction held in the St Kilda Orderly Rooms, which raised close to 100 pounds.

Debentures issued to build the original 1885 boathouse

Your correspondent expected that most debenture holders used the debentures as decoration and never intended to call upon the Club for repayment. In about 1905, some 20 year later, two of the Club’s original members, and debenture holders, returned to the club after many years of absence. They insisted on being regarded as life members based upon their debenture holdings. The captain at the time, Alex B Sloan, refused to recognise such membership. Life member and debenture holder Mr V F Mason unsuccessfully intervened on behalf of the visitors.

In correspondence that followed with the club, Mr Mason demanded redemption of the debentures acquired by him when the clubhouse was built and which he was prepared to forego, until he found the current management ignoring the rights of his contemporaries. After receiving no satisfaction from the committee in respect to the claim for repayment, Mr Mason took the matter to the County Court. Although his case was dismissed on technical grounds, with costs being awarded in favour of the Club, the affair received considerable press publicity of the type rowing could well do without.

Fortunately Mr Mason returned to the Club in 1934 after an absence of 30 years to become a generous supporter of the Club.


Past news can be found through this link.