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

  • Mercantile blazer orders
  • Vale Sandy Mitchell
  • Apologies for the website outage
  • 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


Mercantile blazer orders

Published 17th November 2019

Ever wondered how to order a Mercs blazer? Wonder no more.

Go to the merchandise page and get the details.


Vale Sandy Mitchell

Published 16th November 2019

We regret to advise that Sandy Mitchell recently died after living with cancer for a long period.

Sandy commenced his rowing at Scotch College as a coxswain and continued at Mercantile.

After his rowing career finished, he was a key person behind the foundation of the Melbourne Argonauts Rowing Club and coached there for many years.

He returned to Mercantile to become a very successful talent identification coach of national acclaim bringing through athletes of the likes of Katrina Bateman.

Sandy whilst a talent identification coach
Teaching a group of young Mercs girls boat skills
… not always was he successful

More recently he coached very successfully at Brighton Grammar School.

Sandy congratulating Katrina Bateman after a podium finish at the World Cup in Sydney
Katrina giving Sandy her medal to thank him for his coaching and support

He was also an administrator in the sport both as a Board member of Rowing Victoria and at the Melbourne Argonauts. His work in these organisations was excellent. He was a deep and strategic thinker and had the energy to implement the decisions made.

Sandy loved the sport and was a significant contributor to it. His leaves behind significant legacies for the sport through his work.

He will be sadly missed.

The service will be conducted at 2:45 pm at The Park on Albert Park Lake on Monday 18th November. There will be a BGS, Argonauts and Mercantile guard of honour for his casket.


Apologies for the website outage

Published 16th November 2019

We apologise for the website outage which occurred on Friday and Saturday. Our hosting company suffered a hardware failure and they are still trying to get their services back up again.

Our website manager has taken this opportunity to move to a different hosting provider who will be far more reliable. We thank the Anthony Wymond and the team at Ignite Online for they great recovery and migration work.


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?
From Christmas’ past – a winning pudding eights crew with many familiar faces


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.