Mercantile Rowing Club

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Mercantile Rowing Club
Location Boathouse Drive, Melbourne, Australia
Home water Yarra River, Melbourne
Founded 19 Sept 1880
Affiliations Rowing Victoria

The Mercantile Rowing Club is based in Melbourne, Australia on the Yarra River. It was founded in 1880 and has occupied its current site since 1885. More than 30 Mercantillians have represented Australia at Olympic Games.[1]

Club history[edit]

A group of sportsmen interested in the advancement of amateur rowing met at Young and Jackson's Hotel on 19 September 1880 and the Mercantile Rowing club was born. William S Boyd was a driving influence and the club's first Captain. The club was initially named The Junior Warehouseman's Rowing Club and then changed its name in 1881. Boats and facilities were borrowed from the Greenlands boatshed next to the Prices Bridge until 1884 when the member's decided to lease land and build their own boatshed at the club's current location.[2]

The current boathouse was built in 1973, after a fire destroyed the previous shed on May 6, 1973.

Competition history & representative success[edit]

From Moscow 1980 the Mercantile club has had at least one representative in every Australian Olympic rowing squad without exception. At the 1987 Australian Rowing Championships, the Victorian Kings Cup winning VIII was crewed entirely by the Mercantile 1st grade VIII.

Club Presidents[edit]

  • W. K. Thompson 1880-89
  • J. B. Whitty 1889-1903
  • A. R. Blackwood 1903-1905
  • Sir Stephen Morell 1905-1933, a Lord Mayor of Melbourne.
  • A.L Dobbie 1933-1955
  • J.G.H Sprigg 1955-1982
  • Robert R Aitken M.B.E 1982-1993, coach of the Olympic bronze medallist VIII Melbourne 1956.
  • David Boykett 1993-1997, an Olympic bronze medallist Melbourne 1956.
  • Andrew Guerin 1997-2004, rowing historian and Olympic rowing team manager at Barcelona 1992 & Atlanta 1996.
  • P Batters 2004-2010
  • Malcolm Batten 2010, an Olympic competitor in 1988.


1912 Aust Olympic VIII CS Cunningham selector/mgr seated right

Membership of the club was male-only until 19xx, when the Club decided that it would allow women to become members.

Notable past members include:

  • William S Boyd, founder and inaugural captain 1880-1889
  • CS Cunningham, captain 1889-92 and an Olympic selector who accompanied the Australian VIII to Stockholm 1912
  • Noel Donaldson, coach of the Oarsome Foursome at the time of their 1990 and 1991 World Championships and 1992 Olympic victory.
  • Brian Richardson, coach of the Australian men's VIII at Barcelona 1992 and head coach at Sydney 2000.

Olympic representative members include:

World champions include:




  • MRC (1980) Mercantile A Century of Rowing, Mercantile Rowing Club (reproduced on Guerin-Foster)

External links[edit]