November 2019 News

Above: Australian Women’s Four (with Kat Werry in the two seat) nominated for the World Rowing women’s crew of the year

Provided by your faithful correspondent Trident.

Past news can be found at this link.

News covered this month

  • Head of the Yarra entries
  • Rower of the Year Awards
  • Melbourne Head
  • Congratulations Kim Crow
  • Movember
  • Melbourne Head entries
  • Vale Sandy Mitchell
  • Apologies for the website downtime
  • President’s Christmas Luncheon Sunday 15th December
  • ‘Emergency dredging” in front of shed
  • New date for President’s Christmas Lunch
  • Mercs on Saturday morning
  • News from our man at Cambridge
  • Jump like Jess Morrison
  • Congratulations David Fraumano
  • Appointment of Paul McGann as Performance Director
  • Head Coach resigns
  • Club members appointed to 2020 National Championships jury
  • Thursday nights at the Club
  • Your new Committee
  • From the vaults – Henley on Yarra


Head of the Yarra Entries

Published 27th November 2019

The Treasurer is in despair as he tries to mount the funds to pay for eight eights in the Head of the Yarra. Every eight in the Club is being used.

Go Mercs

FMF+8+Christine Howgate, Carolyn Browne, Pernette Wijnen, Louise Honman, Virginia Mohr, Kerry Morrison, Valborg Dowell, Jennifer Williams,Ally Legge(c)
MME8+Geoff Barden, Henry Edgar, James Tomkins, Andrew Guerin, Chris Shinners, Hamish Fitzsimmons, Sean Colgan, Anthony Johnson, William Webster(c)
XMF+8+Kym Doust, Jenny Rickards, Julianne Mason, Virginia Cunsolo, Peter Dempster, Christopher Ratcliffe, Hugh Sarjeant, William Stark, Lydia McCloskey(c)
MMG8+Gregory Hansen, Raymond Dawson, Colin Kimpton, Andrew Phillips, Mark Groves, Jeffrey Thompson, Euan McMinn, Andrew McDonald, Sebastian Jenner(c)
FB8+Georgia Deacon, Stephanie Ferrali, Alice Levin, Gemma Sibillin, Sophie Reinehr, Louisa Bongrain, Georgia Stewart, Meghan Hester, Eyrin McCarthy(c)
MB8+Marcus Cain, Timothy Benton, Alexander Kinsella, Eric Low, Alexander Clarke, Tom Murray, Alexander Selemba, Nicholas Vlachodimitropoulos, Lily Arnoul(c)
FO8+Phoebe Wolf, Georgie Gleeson, Rhiannon Morgan, Kate Duggan, Madeleine Thomas, Katrina Bateman, Mimi Tuddenham, Skyla Froebel, Lily Arnoul(c)
MO8+Joel Cain, Eric Low, Kane Grant, Redmond Matthews, Lukas Matic, William Achermann, Benjamin Canham, Alexander Wolf, Phillip Tran(c)


Rowing Australia Rower of the Year awards

Published 24th November 2019

A gala night in Sydney last night with the Rowing Australia Rower of the Year awards. Mercantile members excelled again.

The evening started with a surprise with the Club’s Secretary Andrew Guerin being recognised for his work on the Rowing Australia Board and the 1919 King’s Cup Centenary celebrations. He was presented with a framed racing suit signed by newly elected Keller medallist Kim Crow.

Down to the rowers awards. 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.

Kat Werry speaking eloquently to the audience on the night

The next Club member to be highlighted was Jess Morrison, arguably the best athlete on the Australian team. Jess received 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!”

Hear hear.

Jess Morrison receiving her award

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.

Mercantile members were present in good numbers as this photo indicates.

The full list of awardees follows.

Award Winners at the 2019 Hancock Prospecting Rower of the Year Awards

Female Crew of the YearWomen’s Four – Lucy Stephan, Sarah Hawe, Katrina Werry and Olympia Aldersey
Male Crew of the YearMen’s Pair – Joshua Hicks and Sam Hardy
Para-Athlete of YearPR2 Women’s Single Scull – Kathryn Ross
Coach of the YearTom Westgarth
Para-Coach of the YearRenae Domaschenz
Gina Rinehart Leadership AwardJessica Morrison
776BC Rowers’ RowerJoshua Booth
Pathway Crew of the YearJoint winners: U23 Men’s Coxed Four – Adam Bakker, Angus Dawson, Mitchell Hooper, Ben Canham and Caitlin Hockings & Women’s Single Scull – Ria Thompson
Pathways Coach of the YearBen Southwell
Coles’ Volunteer of the YearNeil Holmes
Aon Club of the YearFremantle Rowing Club
Official of the YearGreg Smith


Melbourne Head

Published 24th November 2019

The open girls had a great race to win from MUBC in a close finish but open boys lost their rudder on the way to the start and so missed the opportunity to race they desperately wanted. The club’s men’s and women’s club eights won their respective divisions.

In the sculling, Olympic hopeful Katrina Batemen won the open scull defeating fellow club member Skyla Froebel in second place. In the men’s scull, Alex Wolf had to be content with a second placing with Eric Low in third place.

Greg Hansen picked up a win in the men’s masters quad scull in a composite crew with Melbourne. Alex Kinsella came close to picking up the club single. finishing second. In the parent and child double, the Sibillins and McDonalds could not keep up with the Mollards.

Some images of the day.

The busy regatta scene looking towards Princes Bridge
… and the other way
… and even the lawns next to Richmond were full
The biggest breakfast day ever?
Warm ups under the watchful eye of Paul McGann
Coaches Casey Cobb and Brigette Carlile remaining calm in the busy regatta
The men’s open eight depart on their ill fated mission, foiled by equipment failure before even racing a stroke in anger
The successful women’s eight departs making the Dr Bibi Colgan look silver
Winners are grinners


Congratulations Kim Crow

Published 24th November 2019

Congratulations to Kim Crow who this week was awarded the highest honour in world rowing, the Thomas Keller award. The prerequisite for this award is outstanding on-water success. However it must be accompanied by significant off water contribution to the sport. Kim has made an outstanding contribution to the sport both on and off the water.

Kim on the podium at Rio

Her award comes following a career that ended on a high note by winning gold in the women’s single sculls at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Along the way Brennan did the rare feat of racing and medalling in two Olympic events. She did this in the single and double at the London Olympics. The diverse rower has spent time racing in the pair and eight with the Beijing Olympics included in her repertoire.

Congratulations Kim.



Published 21st November 2019

Some of our masters faking it for Movember.

The masters trying to match Rod Pilmore and Tony Inglis. Where is Pincus when you need him? The President looks like he could have easily have taken on a detective role in a early 20th Century drama, maybe with Hamish Fitzsimmons as his offsider.


Melbourne Head Entries

Published 20th November 2019

The head season is at the sharp end with the Melbourne Head this weekend followed by the Head of the Yarra the following weekend.

The entries for this weekend follow and include two child and parent double sculls, the Sibillins and the McDonalds.

Event Athletes
MO2- William Achermann, Lukas Matic
MO2- Tom Murray, William Kalikman
MO2- Stearns Weil, Marcus Cain
MO1X Alexander Wolf
MO1X Benjamin Canham
MO1X Joel Cain
MO1X Kane Grant
MO1X Eric Low
FO2- Georgie Gleeson, Mimi Tuddenham
FO2- Gemma Sibillin, Olivia Sibillin
FO1X Louisa Bongrain
FO1X Skyla Froebel
FO1X Phoebe Wolf
FO1X Katrina Bateman
FO1X Meghan Hester
MM8+ Gregory Hansen, Andrew Phillips, Colin Kimpton, Raymond Dawson, Mark Groves, Jeffrey Thompson, Euan McMinn, Andrew McDonald, Sebastian Jenner(c)
MM8+ Rodney Pilmore, Andrew Guerin, Simon Morrison, Hamish Fitzsimmons, Geoff Barden, Henry Edgar, Chris Shinners, Anthony Johnson, William Webster(c)
MClub8+ Stearns Weil, Alexander Kinsella, Timothy Benton, Alexander Clarke, Tom Murray, William Kalikman, Jordan Roberts, Marcus Cain, Lily Arnoul(c)
FClub8+ Paige Barr, Stephanie Ferrali, Rhiannon Morgan, Gemma Sibillin, Madeleine Thomas, Kate Duggan, Sophie Reinehr, Louisa Bongrain, Eyrin McCarthy(c)
X8+ Kym Doust, Jenny Rickards, Julianne Mason, Virginia Cunsolo, Hugh Sarjeant, Peter Dempster, Christopher Ratcliffe, William Stark, Lydia McCloskey(c)
MO8+ Eric Low, Nicholas Vlachodimitropoulos, Joel Cain, Kane Grant, Benjamin Canham, William Achermann, Lukas Matic, Alexander Wolf, Phillip Tran(c)
FO8+ Phoebe Wolf, Georgie Gleeson, Rhiannon Morgan, Kate Duggan, Madeleine Thomas, Katrina Bateman, Mimi Tuddenham, Skyla Froebel, Lily Arnoul(c)
MM2X Gregory Hansen, Mark Groves
MClub1X Alexander Kinsella
PC2X Gemma Sibillin, Vittorio Sibillin
PC2X Bridget McDonald, Andrew McDonald


Vale Sandy Mitchell

Published 18th November 2019

It is with great regret that we advise of the death of Sandy Mitchell.

Sandy was a man of great intellect and will, who has left a considerable mark on the sport of rowing. Despite his abilities, his academic life was not outstanding, although his Scotch College education provided him with two lasting loves, rowing and music.

Sandy started his rowing at school and coxed the first crew for three consecutive years, being Captain of Boats in 1983, his final year. Following school, and before he went to university in Queensland, he coxed at Mercantile.

He then went onto a superb career in music. He was assistant manager of an orchestra in Brisbane, then assistant company manager of the Melbourne Symphony orchestra and then company manager and sometime conductor of the Tasmanian Symphony orchestra: all at a very young age.

He experiences at a young age taught many things, including management and standing firm to his convictions: traits that he held throughout his life.

He then suffered significant illness and his life was in peril. Medical science intervened to give him a second life. He devoted it to his family, friends and rowing. His vision for an inclusive rowing club for the LGBTI community was realised through the establishment of the Argonauts Rowing Club in Melbourne. He established this club with three others who shared his vision. He enjoyed coaching crews and was very good at it.

Sandy as a talent ID coach
Teaching boat skills at Mercs
Sometimes not 100% successfully

He then become a talent identification coach at Mercantile and a coach of national significance in that area. He spent much time at the Australian Institute of Sport and at the Club coaching many great rowers: rowers who went onto international success.

He developed many great rowers such as our own Katrina Bateman who moved from surf lifesaving to international rower.

Katrina thanking Sandy at the Sydney World Cup

Brighton Grammar recognised his talent and he spent many years coaching successfully and being a superb mentor.

He was also a rowing administrator, primarily at the Argonauts, but also at Rowing Victoria. He was a Board Member, and for a time between CEOs, the CEO of that body. He was key supporter and designer of the grade rowing system which has been used and in Victoria for many years, and subsequently copied in other States. He was a analytical and deep thinker, who took the time to make the correct decisions. He was firm in his commitments during implementation once the decision was made.

He will be missed by rowers throughout Victoria and at the Club. A guard of honour of Mercantile, Brighton Grammar and Argonauts rowers guided his casket on its final journey.


Apologies for the website being down

Published 18th November 2019

The website was down for most of Friday and Saturday this week due to a hardware failure at the hosting facility. The Club has decided to change hosting providers to a far more reliable partner as a result.

The site was revived on Sunday but changes made during the weekend were lost and we are again trying to get things back to normal. Please have patience with us.

The team at Ignite Online, led by Anthony Wymond, have migrated the site and assisted us in the transition.


President’s Christmas Luncheon

Published 13th November 2019

What 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.
1996 victory dance in Atlanta
Photo credit: Hebfotos
Carrying the old bloke across the line in Athens
Photo credit: Hebfotos

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

Drew Ginn celebrating his Keller Award, the highest award in world rowing, with your correspondent in Lucerne

For the young members, Bill Wallace was an outstanding rower, coach and Captain of the Club in post war Mercantile. He was a King’s Cup oarsman for five consecutive years winning on two occasions. He even coached Tony Walker in a Penrith Cup crew. He captained the club in the early 1960s sending crews to the inaugural National Championships in 1962. He now lives in Sydney and is making the journey, perhaps final, to the Club. He is one of the Club’s greatest members.

Bill Wallace in the bow of 1948 Senior four which won everything in 1948
Bill Wallace right supervising rigging of the King’s Cup boat in 1952 before their win
From Christmas’ past – Past President Phil Batters dispenses a Christmas presents to a young Fradge. Will Johno will have the same impact as Father Christmas?


Emergency Dredging in front of the shed

Published 10th November 2019

As regular users of the river know, it is near impossible to boat at low tide. We are advised by Rowing Victoria that the ’emergency dredging’ of the boat staging previously planned this year has been postponed until early January. Presumably this has been changed to align with the lower usage patterns in early January.

Needless to say, it is past a matter of convenience.


New date for the President’s Christmas Luncheon

Published 9th November 2019

Because all our rowers and coaches will be committed to the Carrum Regatta on Saturday 14th December, the luncheon has been moved to the next day, Sunday 15th December.

Details will follow next week.


Mercs on Saturday morning

Published 9th November 2019

A pictorial view of Mercs on a Saturday morning. This week visited by James Rook from the NTC in Sydney. Great to see you Rookie.

Women’s eight debrief after a trip to Footscray and back with VIS head coach Noel Donaldson and Mercs Performance Director Paul McGann
Refuelling between sessions
Thanks to our ‘Breakfast Mums’ for the day
From the left: Catherine Calcatjicos, Albert Ferrali, John Dryden, Louise Cain and Jenny Fraumano
Even the coaches get to refuel for the next session.


News from our man at Cambridge

Published 5th November 2019

Will Legge has managed to extend his student years with admission to Cambridge University. Your correspondent suspects the option of extending his rowing career may have been a factor!

Will in the bow seat of the far crew

Will reports as follows:

Upon arrival in Cambridge in September, the entire squad (one of the largest squad ever at CUBC) was put through testing on the ergo. After a week of training at the historic Goldie boathouse beside the river Cam, we were finally taken out to the much newer boathouse at Ely. The river Great Ouse upon which the Ely boathouse is situated is much longer and wider than the Cam, and far less crowded with novice rowers. This means that the Cambridge University rowing teams have this stretch of river almost entirely to themselves, making it much easier to get in the mileage required for winning boat races! 

Ely Cathedral in the background

The water is deceptively flat in the photos, but it can often get quite choppy with a direct head/tail wind. You can also see the picturesque Ely Cathedral in the background. I thought that the concept in the last photo might also interest you: all those entering the boathouse must leave shoes at the door! As such the boathouse is much more clean than at Mercs! 

I hope all is well back home and that preparations for Head of the Yarra are going well, and that all Mercantilians are gearing up for a good season ahead! Yea Mercs! 

Will rests after a piece


Jump like Jess Morrison

Published 2nd November 2019

Rowing Australia is asking: can you #JumpLikeJess? Ahead of next week’s The Drive Extended, Olympian & World Championship medalist, Jess Morrison, and all of us at RA, want to see your best box jumps! Why don’t you show us what you’ve got by tagging us and using the hashtag #JumpLikeJess?

The video on her jump is amazing.


Congratulations David Fraumano

Published 2nd November 2019

Mercantile again is providing coaches to the rowing world with our youth development coach David Fraumano accepting the role of High Performance Coach at ACT Academy of Sport. He will conclude his role as our Youth Development Coach at the end of November. David has a long and successful history at Mercantile as a coxswain and as a coach. Most recently he did a superb job coaching our crews at Henley Royal Regatta this year seeing our Wyfold Four make the Semi Finals and our Britannia make the Final. This is the next step in David’s coaching career and we wish him every success.

David Fraumano off to the nations capital

A new men’s youth coaching team will be announced soon.


Appointment of Paul McGann as Performance Director

Published 2nd November 2019

Paul McGann will commence on 2 November 2019 as Performance Director our Performance Strategy and Operations. Paul is well known to many members and is a very experienced coach and educator. He has underage and senior national team coaching experience as well as being a highly successfully school coach.

Paul McGann celebrating a coaching win in 1990
In front David Colvin and Malcolm Batten on the right, in the back, Nick Green, James Tomkins and Sam Patten


Head Coach Resigns

Published 2nd November 2019

Nick Mitchell has stepped aside from the role of Head Coach for personal reasons. In his eighteen months in the role Nick had a fantastic impact on our Club and our athletes. This year Nick also became a Gold Medal coach at his first National Team opportunity coaching the Men’s Coxed Four to victory at the U23 World Championships. 

Nick Mitchell

We wish Nick well and look forward to seeing him back coaching soon.


Club members appointed to 2020 National Championships Jury

Published 2nd November 2019

This week Rowing Australia announced the appointment of Club Captain Bill Webster, Club Secretary Andrew Guerin and Club Treasurer Duncan MacKinnon to the jury for the National Championships.

Congratulations to these members. We are now looking for a new club photographer with Andrew Guerin on other duties. Any volunteers?


Thursday nights at the Club

Published 3rd November 2019

Ever wondered what the masters get up to after a row, below tells the story. They enjoy wine and beer, sausages in bread and biscuits and cheese in the delightful setting of the clubhouse.

The President and rowers looking remarkably fresh after their row in hot conditions
The women’s masters and others also relaxing after their row


Your new Committee

Republished 2 November 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

Hon Ass Treasurer: Andrew Phillips

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


From the Vaults – Henley on Yarra

Published 2nd November 2019

Henley on Yarra was an invention of some influential rowing and Melbourne people in May 1903. They saw the need for a new regatta and the commercial gains that could be made for the sport. They also had the influence to make it an event that rivalled the Melbourne Cup.

The founders were:

A R Blackwood (a President of the Club)

George Fairbairn

Capt. W C Rivett

They immediately found another group of subscribers who provided the capital to establish the event.

The event was an immediate success and soon drew crowds of over 100,000 to the regatta. This was at a time when the population was a far smaller than today. The images that follow demonstrate the early success of the regatta.

1904 – the first regatta. The finish line was near Princes Bridge
1904 regatta looking east. Note there was no Swan Street Bridge at that time.
By 1907, houseboats were quite popular
By 1909, houseboats were all the rage.
The Regatta President’s house boat with the expansive Australian Club houseboat behind it

So why did the regatta fall from grace? There were many reasons and it is far from clear cut. The popularity of the regatta reduced over time gradually losing the general public appeal. However as a national rowing event, it maintained it’s popularity through to the early 1960s. In the absence of a National Championships until 1962, it was an important event. Some of those who lived through the period also credit the building of the Swan Street Bridge as a major cause. The bridge reduced the spectator area to the area west of that bridge. The desire for spectators to populate the eastern side of the bridge was low.


Past news can be found through the link.