History

The Derwent Mercantile Collegiate Rowing Club is the second oldest rowing club in Australia and the oldest in Tasmania. The club came into being in 1965 as a result of the merger of the Derwent Rowing Club (est.1871) and the Mercantile Rowing Club (est.1876).

The club is located in the former Derwent Rowing Club clubhouse at Pavilion Point. The building was constructed in the early 1950s following a fire that destroyed the old boat sheds and most of the equipment.

The club is one of the greats in Australian rowing. One former member was Cecil McVilly who was the first Australian to win the coveted Diamond Sculls of England. Archie Robb and Fred House were members of the Australian Armed Forces number one crew, winners of the original King's Cup. This prestigious trophy was offered by King George V for the winning crew from the Allied Forces at the Victory Regatta upon the conclusion of the First World War. The race also included crews from England, USA, France, Canada and New Zealand. It is interesting to note that the second-placed boat, the Australian Number Two crew, included two other Derwent members, namely Bob Goyne and Roy Clarke. Since 1925 the King's Cup has been the trophy for the Interstate Championship Eights event, held annually.

Tasmania won the King's Cup in 1926 in Brisbane. The crew included three Mercantile members; David Haywood, Gordon Richardson and Allan Filbee, while Derwent were represented by the coach, Cecil McVilly and coxswain Alan Griggs.

At a Special General Meeting on 8 December 1996, the St Michael's Collegiate School was received into the Club as an equal partner, thus creating the Derwent Mercantile Collegiate Rowing Club. This has brought new life to the club and begins a new era in its history.

Contributed by Bruce Godfrey (Life Member and former President)

© 2003 Derwent Mercantile Collegiate Rowing Club
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