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australian rowers profiles and history

John L Mounsey MM

Mercantile Rowing Club (VIC)

Image to the right is Jack as Captain of Mercantile Rowing Club.

The following is based on his obituary in the Mercantile Rowing Club annual report of season 1969-70.

John Mounsey joined Mercantile in I908 and possibly endeavoured to emulate the feats of his illustrious uncle, A. B. Sloan, an outstanding Victorian oarsman and footballer. Although not quite reaching the high plane of his relative, he was nevertheless a successful oarsman, footballer and capable administrator of the Mercantile Rowing Club. Like his uncle, he played top level football whilst pursuing his rowing. Unlike Sloan who played for Fitzroy, Mounsey played for Collingwood in the 1912 season.

After passing through the period of learning to row under his uncle's instruction, he achieved success in 1913 by winning the Maiden Eight at Henley and the following year by winning the Founders’ Challenge Cup for Junior Eights.

1914 Junior Eight – Three members of this crew died in WWI 

Unfortunately the First World War broke out and there was very little rowing for the next few years. Jack and many others traded their rowing togs for the A.I.F. uniform. Jack proved himself a good soldier, rose to the rank of sergeant and was awarded the Military Medal. We have been impressed by his talks at our Anzac Day Services where he was a regular attendant.

Above: John Mounsey as stroke of the 1919 Club Senior Eight

When rowing resumed after the war Jack gained a seat in the Mercantile Senior Eight and represented Victoria in the King’s Cup in 1922 and 1923. He was also reserve in 1926.

1922 King’s Cup – Jack Mounsey in the fourseat

Elected Club Captain in 1922, he most capably administered Club affairs during the next four years. It was during this period that a disastrous fire destroyed the shed, together with many boats and much equipment. The Clubhouse which we have enjoyed for the last 45 years is attribute to the determination and planning of this great Mercantillian.

After retiring from active rowing, many years were spent in rowing administration and many a raw official has been helped by his kindly advice. He was a member of the jury for the 1956 Olympic Games.

Bob Rush in the stroke seat and Jack Mounsey in the bow seat in 1963 - Bob was then 82 and Jack 73.

Each Sunday for some 40 years, Jack rowed a three mile stretch with fellow older members on the Upper Yarra. He started his rowing career with fellow Collingwood footballer Bob Rush. Bob played for Collingwood from 1899 to 1908 and was a noted football administrator pre WWII.

We mourn the passing of this great man, a staunch supporter of Victorian Rowing and above all, a man who always held out a helping hand.

Andrew Guerin (based on his obituary in the Club Annual Report of 1969-70)

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