February 2019

Above: Mercantile finishes first and second in the open quad scull at Wendouree Ballarat Regatta

News brought to you by your correspondent Trident.

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

News Covered this month:

  • 61st Scotch Mercantile Regatta
  • NSW Championships Review
  • Vale Tim Hogan
  • School Captains at Mercs
  • Member Profiles – Andrew McNeil
  • Review of Wendouree Ballarat Regatta
  • Congratulations Brigette Carlisle
  • Congratulations Fiona Albert
  • Keep these dates free – important Club events
  • From the Archives – The story of the King’s Cup


61st Scotch Mercantile Regatta

Published 17th February 2019

61st Scotch-Mercantile Regatta – Saturday 16 March 2019 – Nagambie Lakes

Your help is needed. Please volunteer or sponsor a race.

Mercantile and Scotch are again proud to co-host the penultimate regatta of the schoolboy season at Nagambie Lakes. The regatta generates the seeding for the APS Head of the River the following week and has a full days racing with heats in the morning and finals in the afternoon. The school 1st VIII final will close out the day around 4:30pm.

A small and committed team from the two hosts have the planning and preparation well in hand, however on the day we need are looking for members to assist us make it run smoothly.

We are looking for members to assist with:

– motor boat drivers

– marshalls

– bow numbers

– car parking

– timing

– troubleshooting

For the 4th year the regatta will also be live streamed on the web! With over 1,000 spectators in attendance and 20x that watching on the net there are also promotional and sponsorship opportunities available for your product of business.

If you are able to assist and would like to see a regatta “from the other side” please contact Bill Webster 0418 390 283.


NSW Championships Review

Published 17 February 2019

The NSW Championships are a major regatta on the calendar with all crews from across Australia racing. It is also the major senior selection regatta with the finals selection trials commencing on 10th March, before the National Championships.

For the younger rowers, it is an opportunity to check on progress for the National Championships at the end of March.


Women’s Single Scull – Amanda Bateman finished second in the scull behind her doubles partner Genevieve Horton. Her sister Katrina finished sixth in a great showing in her return to competitive racing and Fiona Albert also making the final in eighth place.

Amanda celebrates a second position

Women’s Double Scull – Amanda Bateman teamed up with Genevieve Horton of SUBC to easily win the pair. A great result for Amanda showing her form to step up to the national team this year. Of interest also was the great showing of Fiona Albert and Katrina Bateman finishing fourth.

Women’s double presentation

Women’s Pair – Mercantile featured in both the second and third placings with Jess Morrison teaming up with Molly Goodman from Adelaide to finish second and Kat Werry teaming up with Olympia Aldersey also of Adelaide in third place.

Women’s Pair presentation

Women’s Four – Given the pair results, it was no surprise to see Mercantile in first and second placings. Jess Morrison was in the first placed crew and Kat Werry in the second placed crew.

Jess in the Mercs zootie and Kat third from the left in an NTC zootie

Women’s Eight – a full Mercantile eight of Jacqueline Hart, Georgie Gleeson, Kirstie Green, Katrina Bateman, Amanda Bateman, Jess Morrison, Fiona Albert, Katrina Werry and Cox: Lily Arnoul won the eights.

Our victorious women’s eight

Men’s Lightweight Scull – Red Matthews again showed his style finishing on the podium in the lightweight sculls. Hopefully the standard of this event impressed the selectors who prior to the event were not convinced that we would send lightweight men to the Olympics. Jayden Grey finished sixth in the final.

Red Matthews finishing third

Men’s Scull – Mercs had three finalists but no medals in this tough final.
Edward Northrop finished fifth, Angus Widdicombe seventh and Liam Donald eighth.

Liam Donald in the heat

Men’s Double Scull – Lightweights Red Matthews and Jayden Grey raced in the open double finishing sixth.

Men’s Lightweight Eight – Some club member combined with rowers from Banks and Mosman to finish third in the lightweight eight. They were Henry Armstrong, Sam Banfield and Tom Banfield.

Men’s Pair – Liam Donald joined Luke Letcher of Black Mountain Rowing Club to finish third in the men’s pair in good competition. Gus Widdicombe finished in sixth place.

Men’s Four – Gus Widdicombe was in the winning four with Liam Donald in the third placing. Edward Northrop was in the fourth placed crew.

Winning four with Gus in NTC uniform
Another shot with Gus enjoying the Cup whilst Liam disturbs the winners on the podium

Men’s coxed four – Our under 23 four of Alexander Wolf, Joel Cain, Mitchell Hooper, Benjamin Canham, Cox: James Rook finished third in this race. It was an incredibly tough final with the first four crews with second sof each other/

Men’s Eight – An all Mercantile finished fourth in a race with blistering pace. The biggest surprise was how close the other crews got to SUBC, the favourites.

Women’s Lightweight Double Scull – Meghan Hester teamed up with Teneille Linehan of Corio to finished fourth in both this event and the quad. Meghan missed out on the final in the single.

Women’s Under 23 Pair – Sadly our crews of Jacqueline Hart and Kirstie Green, and also Georgie Gleeson who teamed up with Ella Bramwell from Adelaide, finished in the B final.

Men’s Under 23 Pair – Mitchell Hooper and Benjamin Canham faied a little better finishing fourth in the final but Alexander Wolf and Joel Cain were in the B final.

Women’s Under 23 Double Scull – Georgie Gleeson and Gemma Sibillin finished in the final but well back in the field.

Women’s Under 21 Eight – In a race where our crew had to come from behind to be in the race, they lost by a very small margin to the Queensland youth eight. It was a stirring race to finish with bronze. This looks promising for the Victorian Youth Eight which will undoubtedly be based around the Mercs crew.

Women’s Under 21 Scull and Women’s Under 21 Lightweight Scull – Sky Froebel doubled up in the scull finishing in the final as did Phoebe Wolf in the under 21 Lightweight scull.

Women’s Under 21 Pair – With three crews in the race, two made the final with Emmie Frederico and Mimi Tuddenham finishing the best of them in fourth placing.


Vale Tim Hogan

Published 17 February 2019

We regret to advise of the death of our valued member Tim “Lub” Hogan, a celebrated lightweight from the 1960s. Tim died last Wednesday and a celebration of life will be held at Leonard Joel Auction House, 333 Malvern Road South Yarra on Thursday 21st February 2019 from 6-8pm. Given that Tim was an art dealer and valuer, this appears to be a most appropriate setting for this event.

You will find out more about Tim in his member profile.

Our condolences to his family and friends.


School Captains at Mercs

Published 11 February 2019

Your curious correspondent does not know the correct collective noun for many school captains, but would welcome one to describe the conjunction of Captains currently crewing in our under 21 squads. “Chipper” Colvin has cunningly created this conundrum by circulating this characterisation to your correspondent for conveyance to the Club. Your Club curators have not previously countenanced such a convergence of Captains at the Club before.

We are taking counsel on a “corps of captains”.

Steph Ferrali (2019 School Captain at St Catherines) – currently stroke of the No. 2 Women’s U21 8+

Antonietta Di Cosmo (2019 School Captain at Genazzano) – currently 2 seat of the No. 2 Women’s U21 8+

Steph and Antonietta awaiting the start at Nagambie on the weekend

Mimmi Balaam (2019 School Co-Captain at Geelong College) – currently bow seat of the No. 1 Women’s U21 8+ 

Mimmi rows away with her medal on the weekend at Nagambie.

 John Poliniak (2019 School Captain at Melbourne HS) – currently 7 seat of the Men’s U21 8+

John racing in the pairs time trial on Saturday at Nagambie

Member Profiles – Andrew McNeil

Published 11th February 2019

Each month more member profiles are added. We now have over 150 published on the website.

This month we have been fortunate to include the profile of one of our great members, Andrew McNeil. His story is interesting. Andrew moved from Warrnambool at a young age to race at Mercantile. His engaging personality and desire to succeed made him one of those members who remains deeply entwined into the fabric of the Club. It was a big move to come to Melbourne and start a new life at Mercs.

National lightweight eight champion – Andrew third from the left

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.


Wendouree Ballarat Regatta Review

Published 3rd February 2019

A big day for Mercantile on Saturday with many Mercantile members winning races.

Women’s Open Quad victors

Women’s Open Quad Scull – Georgia Stewart, Fiona Albert, Katrina Bateman and Madeleine Thomas, Coaches: David Colvin, Nicholas Mitchell won well and it is great to see such a talented quad do well.

A composite crew of Meghan Hester, Kate Duggan, Gemma Sibillin and Teneille Linehan of Corio, coached by David Colvin, Casey Cobb and Bill Webster finished second in the same event. Meghan and Teneille are racing a lightweight double together as you will see later.

As the banner image above shows, Carl Tomczak, Jack Kelly, James Hoban, and Angus Maloney, coached by David Pincus won the open men’s quad scull with William Legge, Alexander Kinsella, Alex Kennedy and Evan Kennedy finishing in second place.

Open Quad Scull race at about 1500m mark

The men’s lightweight four of Michael McNamara, William Legge, Jayden Grey and Red Matthews, coached by Nicholas Mitchell won their race well.

Lightweight four enjoying the presentation

The women’s youth eight showed the style that would win State Championships again with a commanding performance. The crew of Mimmi Balaam, Eleanor Millear, Daisy Butterworth, Ruby Gioulekas, Mimi Tuddenham, Sky Froebel, Phoebe Wolf and Emmie Frederico, coxed by Lily Arnoul and coached by Brigette Carlile and Casey Cobb looked great.

Our youth eight taking an early lead
Our youth eight playing to the camera

Our men’s youth eight were not quite as successful but had to navigate around a stranded camera boat in the process. The crew comprised:
Tom Murray, Harry Cathcart, Timothy Benton, Lukas Matic, Eric Low, William Achermann, John Poliniak, Connor Knight, Cox: Ben King, Coaches: David Fraumano, Zachary Smith

The men’s youth eight eight after their altercation with the camera boat

As mentioned above, Meghan Hester teamed up successfully with Teneille Linehan of Corio to win the lightweight double and was coached by  Casey Cobb, David Colvin and Bill Webster

Tenielle and Meghan enjoy the presentation

The men’s lightweight double of Jayden Grey and Red Matthews made easy work of the men’s lightweight double. They were coached by Nicholas Mitchell.

The men’s lighty double through the reeds

The lightweight single race was a Mercantile procession with Red Matthews first, Jayden Grey second, Michael McNamara third and Will Legge in fourth place.

The under 21 pair was keenly contested but Emmie Frederico and Mimi Tuddenham finished first with Mimmi Balaam and Ruby Gioulekas finishing third. The coaches were Brigette Carlile and Casey Cobb.

Emmie and Mimi – winners of the under 21 pair

The men’s pair of Nathan Bowden from Sydney Rowing Club and Edward Northrop from Mercs won the open pair and was coached by Nicholas Mitchell.

Eric Low won the men’s under 21 single scull with Lukas Matic finishing third and
Harry Cathcart fourth. They were coached by David Fraumano and Zachary Smith.

Sky Froebel won the women’s under 21 scull with Phoebe Wolf in fourth place. They were coached by Brigette Carlile and Casey Cobb.


RA Scholarship awarded to Mercantile Coach Brigette Carlile

Published 3rd February 2019

Mercantile’s Underage Development Coach Brigette Carlile has been awarded an RA Scholarship to complete the Graduate Certificate in Sports Coaching course through the University of Queensland. Only 2 scholarships are offered by RA so this confirms that Brigette is one of the best young coaches in the country. Brigette has been doing a great job with our underage athletes for a number of years now and has also been selected to coach the Australian U21 team in 2017 & 2018 and coaching the Victorian Womens Youth Eight to commanding clearwater victories in both years. 

Brigette Carlisle

Mercantile thanks Rowing Australia for making this opportunity available and promoting the development of coaches. The course is mostly completed online so our young members will continue to get the benefit of Brigette’s expert guidance. The Club will fully support Brigette to successfully complete her studies.


Congratulations Fiona Albert

Published 3rd February 2019

Old news is better than no news. Late last year at the VIS’ night of nights – the 2018 Victorian Institute of Sport Award of Excellence evening – where we celebrate the outstanding sporting achievements of our VIS athletes, Fiona Albert won the ‘Sarah Tait Spirit Award’. This Award, which was renamed in 2016 in honour of the great and sadly Late Club member Srarh Tait. The award recognises the athlete who most encompasses the spirit of the VIS.

 Like the Award’s namesake, Fiona is an inspiration in life as well as in rowing and is a fantastic role model to athletes, both past and present.

Fiona sustained a severe back injury in 2017 which required surgery. Despite this and other challenging personal setbacks, she has shown courage, commitment and persistence to regain selection on the Australian Rowing Team. She is busy chasing her dreams as a successful lawyer in estate planning, and is driven to compete at a second Olympic Games at Tokyo 2020.

Congratulations on this significant achievement Fiona and your correspondent’s apologies for late knowledge of it.


Keep these dates free – important Club events

Published 3rd February 2019

Saturday 16 March – Scotch-Mercantile Regatta

Friday 5 April – “Season Debrief”

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


From the archives – the story of the King’s Cup

Published 3rd February 2019

After WWI, Australia had 200,000 war weary, damaged and home-hungry soldiers in Europe in November 1918 and no way of getting them home quickly. It took four years of continuous shipping to get them to Europe and it would take two years to get them home.

The establishment of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) Sports Control Board to organise sport from inter-platoon to inter-Army competitions was a master stroke. Sport was an important way of maintaining discipline, occupying troops and although not the main purpose for the activities, but perhaps the most important of all, assisting soldiers rehabilitate from their physical and mental injuries.

The organisation was left to the highly respected and capable Major Syd Middleton, a dual Olympian, in rowing and rugby.

Elsewhere in England at that time, the local rowing community was coming to terms with re-establishing the sport and their regatta calendar. The loss of so many rowers was significant, and clubs found it difficult to boat crews. The organisation of the first post-war Henley Royal Regatta in 1919 was set aside to create the Royal Henley Peace Regatta with events included specifically for servicemen of the Allied armies. The Armies of the United States, France, New Zealand, Australia and Canada all sent crews, and service crews from the Oxford and Cambridge Universities also competed.

The premier event was for eight-oared crews with the prize being a handsome cup donated by King George V, the King’s Cup.

The racing for the King’s Cup was excellent with each competing crew having its own unique selection, training and coaching issues. The problems the Australian crews faced were significant.

The regatta thus highlights the bravery and commitment of our soldier rowers who survived WWI and who saw action in some of the worst battles of World War I. Over 5,000 oarsmen from Australia enlisted, roughly half the membership of all the rowing clubs in Australia at that time.

It also highlights the rowers readiness to resume the joy and honour of sport.

But most importantly it illustrates the winning of the peace. The unsettling adjustment back to civilian life after the atrocities of war. The rehabilitation through sport of the physical wounds of war, but also the role of sport in the recovery from the severe psychological scars of war.

The King’s Cup story does not end here with the winning of the race and the presentation of the trophy. From moments after winning the race, the rowers wanted the Cup to be the perpetual trophy of the Men’s Interstate Eight Oared Championship of Australia.

However the newly formed War Memorial Committee took possession of the trophy and it was destined to be displayed as a trophy of ‘national significance’. They obtained the support of the Minister of Defence and Prime Minister Billy Hughes for their idea. Even the Governor-General supported the advice he was given by his Ministers.

Despite two years of going through the right channels and being knocked back at every turn, the rowers appealed directly to the King in a petition signed by their stroke Clive Disher. Despite advice to the contrary from his Ministers here in Australia and the views of his representative in Australia, the Governor General, the King decided to give the Cup to the rowers to become the perpetual trophy for the Eight Oared Championship of Australia. Whilst we do not the reasons for the decision against all his advice, one suspects that the contribution of so many Australian rowers to the Allied cause would have made this an easy decision for the monarch, a decision for which many generations of Australian rowers are grateful.

The King responded through Winston Churchill, then the Secretary of State for the Colonies in language which I find delightful.

His Majesty commands me to inform you that it is his wish that the Cup should be used as a permanent trophy and it be competed for annually in the Interstate Eight-Oar Race of Australia.

I have the honour to be,

My Lord,

Your Lordship’s most obedient, humble servant,

Winston S Churchill

The battle with the War Memorial had been won.

No wonder the King’s Cup holds such a special place in Australian rowing and is so fiercely fought over annually in the Men’s Interstate Eight-Oared Championship of Australia.


Past news can be found through this link.