September 2016 news

Above – Josh Dunkley Smith receiving his silver medal at the Olympic Games

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

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

Published 24th September 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.

Cayzer Cup 2016 – it is on again in Sydney

Published 18th September 2016

The Cayzer Cup is on again in Sydney this year at Sydney Rowing Club on Saturday 24th September. Competing for Mercantile will be a men’s youth eight and a women’s quad comprising:

Lachlan May
Angus Maloney
Alex Clark
Alex Wolf
Jack Lawrence
Alex Kinsella
Alex Maycock
Mac Arundel
Will Anders ( Cox)

Meg Hester
Georgia Stewart
Maddy Thomas
4th spot to be advised

The crews are ably coached by John Saunders and David Colvin.

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Above: A scene from the regatta last year

The Cayzer Cup is an annual competition between Mercantile and Sydney Rowing Club.  It is named after the great Phil Cayzer who was a renown rower and highly successful coach. Amongst his many achievements was a bronze medal at the Helsinki Games stroking the Australian eight and being the creator of the silver medal winning Mexico eight. Regrettably work commitments forced him to hand over the reigns of that crew to the capable Alan Callaway.  In 1974, work again interfered in his rowing life to the great benefit of Mercantile. He was transferred to Melbourne to run British Paints. He coached at Mercantile, Victoria and Australia for many years during his time in Melbourne.

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Above: The Late Phil Cayzer presenting the Cayzer Cup to Phil Batters at Mercantile at an earlier Cayzer Cup

Although uncompromising in his coaching, he was one of natures gentlemen and so a pillar of both Sydney and Mercantile Rowing Clubs. Read more about him in his member profile.

John Leeming celebrates 50 years of rowing

Published 15th September 2016

Larry, at the age of 12 years old, commenced his rowing career as a coxswain at school in Sydney. He was 4 foot nothing and weighed less than his weights! He was minute.

His coxing career was stellar and continued after school at Sydney Rowing Club. He has even been at Mercantile for 34 years and still remains sane. It took some time to find a Mercs picture near the time of his arrival in Melbourne but we found one from 1984.


Above: Larry coxing a winning lightweight eight at the Nationals in 1984


Above: Larry as cox of the 1973 NSW Penrith Cup crew – yes it was coxed back then

Annual General Meeting

Republished 4th September 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.


Saturday morning at the Club

Published 15th September 2016

Scenes from the Club on Saturday morning 10th September 2016


Above: the girls return after using their new blue boat


Above: the boys listening to coach John Saunders


Larry and Chipper discussing the mornings rowing


The President takes out his 1986 World Championship crew for a reunion row


Even the oldies had a paddle

World Championships Wrap Up

Published 4th September 2016

Rotterdam hosted the combined senior, under 23 and under 19 World Championships.

In an Olympic year, FISA continues to run World Championships in non-Olympic boat classes. Australia was represented only in the Women’s Lightweight Scull by Georgia Nesbitt from Tasmania. Georgia finished ninth in a field of 22 entrants.

The under 23 Championships included many Mercantile members:

Women’s eight

Olivia Sibilin and Rachel Engel

Men’s Eight

Tom Hunt, Callum Nott, Angus Widdicombe and Liam Donald, coached by Simon Gadsden.

The Australian team finished with a gold in the men’s quad scull and a bronze medal in the men’s coxed four. The late selected women’s eight finished fifth in a field of eight crews.  This was a superb result given the late selection.

The men’s eight finished eighth in a deep and high quality field of 13 eights. However the crew would have been disappointed with this result given their aspirations. However their result was excellent. The semi final for the men’s eight was conducted at a blistering pace and unfortunately a few seconds off in both the first and second 500 metres was never going to be recovered in such a race. The quality of the field was outstanding and our crew was perhaps one of the least experienced. Next time around, they will be an outstanding crew.

The juniors performed well but without any medal reward. Three crews, the men’s coxed four, women’s scull and women’s double scull all made their finals. The two quad sculls finished well back in the B finals.

Member Profiles

Republished 4th September 2016

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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 4th September 2016

Fifty years ago in 1967, a Mercantile based crew won the first sweep oared gold medal for Australia in true international competition.

To provide some background, the World Championships for rowing commenced in 1962 and were held every four years until 1974 when they were held annually. In the other years, FISA endorsed other events such as the European Championships to provide racing. In 1967, it endorsed the North American Championships as a FISA event and European crews attended the regatta at the expense of the regatta committee. Australian was represented by several crews including this coxed four from Victoria.  The race was therefore against the best in the world, endorsed by FISA and so the first sweep gold medal won by Australia in such company.

The crew comprised:

Bow: Stephen Gillon

2: David Douglas

3: John Harry

Str: Graeme Boykett

Cox: Tom Daffy

Cch: Hubert Frederico

1967 AUS crew0001



 Above: The four training at St Catherines

Stephen tells the story of 1967. “I recall how Freddie took us through our first Kings Cup and on to be competitive on the world stage in just six months. Our average age was not much more than twenty years. The only international experience we had really, was Graeme. My everlasting memory is the honour of being presented with my gold medal by the revered Thomas Keller, President of FISA.”


St Catherines Henley

Above: After the win. Left to right, Freddy, David, Graeme, John, Ton and Stephen

Thursday Masters Nights

Republished 4th September 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.