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australian rowers profiles and history

Malcolm Batten OAM

North Eske Rowing Club then Commercial Rowing Club (QLD) and finally Mercantile Rowing Club (VIC)

1983 – QLD State Championship Men’s Youth pair-Gold
1983 – Interstate Men’s Youth Eight (QLD) three seat – Sixth
1985 – QLD State Championship Men’s 8, 4, 2 Stroke-Gold
1985 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championships (QLD) stroke – Fourth
1985 – Match des Seniors – Men’s Eight stroke – Silver
1985 – Trans Tasman Under 23 Series Australian Men’s sweep
1986 – QLD State Championship Men’s 8 stroke-Gold
1986 – Luzern regatta – Men’s Eight two seat – Gold
1986 – Commonwealth Games – Men’s Eight two seat – Gold
1986 – World Championship – Men’s Eight two seat – Gold
1987 – Awarded Order of Australia for services to sport.
1987 – QLD State Championship Men’s 8 stroke-Gold
1987 – Vichy International Regatta Men’s eight-Gold
1987 -Duisburg International Regatta Men’s eight-Gold
1987 – World Championships – Men’s Eight two seat – Fourth
1988 – NSW State Championship Men’s 8 stroke AIS-Gold
1988 – QLD State Championship Men’s 8 stroke-Gold
1988 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championships (QLD) stroke – Fourth
1988 – Interstate – Men’s Coxless four stroke-Gold
1988 – Olympic Games – Men’s Coxless Pair bow – eliminated in Rep
1989 – QLD State Championship Men’s eight stroke-Gold
1990 – Co founder of RMIT rowing club
1990 – QLD State Championship Men’s eight stroke-Gold
1990 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship (VIC) two seat – Gold
1991 – Alumni member of the year RMIT, services to sport
1991 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship emergency (VIC)
1991 – World Championships – Men’s Eight stroke – Tenth-Ouch…
1992 – 1994 Head Coach St Catherine School Rowing Club
2010 to present – President Mercantile Rowing Club
2011 – Inducted into the Victorian Rowing Hall of Fame

Life member of both Commercial and Mercantile Rowing Clubs.


Malcolm in the two seat of Australia's first World Champion eight in 1986

Mal started his rowing career as a coxswain at North Esk RC in Launceston in 1979. He moved to the Gold Coast in 1982 and rowed for a season with Tweed Heads RC prior to moving to Brisbane and joining Commercial RC. He was part of the first AIS scholarship holders in 1985 and held full AIS scholarships, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988.

He came to Melbourne to complete his Bachelor of Building at RMIT.

Mal is a Director and partner of Cockram Construction. During his career with Cockram’s he has worked and lived in China, Puerto Rico and USA, he is married to Pip and has 3 children, Lucas, Felicity and Thomas. He is a Life member of Commercial Rowing Club.

Malcolm to the right of Bob Hawke who wanted to congratulate the 1986 crew

Bill Webster’s farewell to Mal as Mercantile President was as follows.

Mal joined Mercantile after the Seoul Olympics when he came to Melbourne to complete his Bachelor of Building at RMIT.

Already an Olympian and a World Champion he had enjoyed much success rowing in the Green and Gold with Peter Tomanovits, Andrew Cooper, Mike McKay, Mark Doyle, James Tomkins and Sam Patten. Where else would he go?

As a Mercantilian he did something he never could have done in his native Tasmania or as a Queenslander – Mal won the King’s Cup in 1990 (for Victoria).  He then he went on to stroke the Australian HW 8+ at the World Championships in Vienna in 1991. He also met Pip his pair partner in life at Mercantile.

After Mal completed his degree he went to work at the construction firm Hooker-Cockram. Mal was posted to various locations around the world but has always remained a paid up member and keen supporter of the Club no matter where he found himself living. Mal eventually returned to live in Melbourne with Pip and their children in the early 2000’s and has been the MD of Cockram since 2011.

With the Club about to embark upon the major renovation of the Clubhouse Mal was the obvious candidate to drive the project and lead the Club through the next period.

Despite his own busy professional life Mal took charge and oversaw all aspects of the build and ensured that it was delivered on time and budget.

The renovation has maximized our utilization of space upstairs and downstairs. The innovation of mobile racking means we are able store many more boats in our shed than a traditional design. This has meant we could expand our fleet. Mal still tells me that we have plenty of room for yet more boats!

A key aspect of the project involved negotiations with our tenant schools to provide a true long term partnership with them and plenty of mutual benefits. From our perspective, Mal generated outcomes with our tenants that funded a significant portion of the build and underpins our cashflow until 2033.

Mal has overseen the appointment of 3 Head Coaches and the expansion of our professional coaching team.

Mal articulated and then promoted the values of the Club, Excellence, Respect, Friendship and Health. These values remain at the core of everything we do as members and as a Club. The example provided by Mal has been inspiring.

Mal, thank you for your service to the Club as President, your leadership and your friendship.

Written by Andrew Guerin and Bill Webster.
Published October 2015 and updated in October 2018.

Website by Hope Stewart—Website Design & Management