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australian rowers profiles and history

Herbert P Shears

Mercantile Rowing Club (Vic)

Herbert Pryce Shears was born 10 Sept 1922 and died 8 Dec 1991 aged 69.

Herbie was one of a family of four brothers who have over the years been loyal and enthusiastic supporters of the Club. He first joined as a junior member in 1939. He was not a man of the stature necessary for Senior oarsmen today but what he lacked in size was more than made up by a determination to succeed.

Like his brothers he started his career as a lightweight (at the then 10 stone (63.5 kg) limit), first racing for the Club in the Championship Lightweight Eight in 1940. His brother Ted was in the crew and John was the cox. He raced for the Club consistently and with some success until 1942 when he joined the R.A.A.F. He served as a Flight Sergeant in WWII including service in Calgary Canada.

Above: Herb Shears (right) talking with Vic Sharp at 1955 Easter regattas

On discharge from the services Herbie was quickly back to the Club and to active rowing. He won his way through the various categories Maiden (Intermediate) and Junior (Senior C) in small boats and eights and after consistent and outstanding success.

Above: 1948 Champion Four with Herb in the stroke seat
Coach: Charlie Saleh, Cox: B Jeffrey, Str: Herb Shears, 3: Laurie Moll, 2: Bob Aitken, Bow: Bill Wallace

In the Senior division, particularly in Pairs and Fours, was selected in the King’s Cup crew in 1949. After that Herbie’s active racing was mainly confined to the country regattas such as Mildura and Wentworth. His main interest was then in coaching and he had an impres­sive record of successes, culminating in appointment as coach of the winning King’s Cup crew in Perth in 1953.

Above: 1949 Vctorian King’s Cup crew – Herb Shears in the two seat

Herbie’s contribution to Mercantile was not limited to row­ing and coaching. He first joined the Committee in 1940. After his return from the war he was elected Vice-Captain in 1947, a position which he filled with capability and distinc­tion for five years. Always a clear thinker and careful plan­ner, he was responsible for many of the moves which were the foundation of the Club’s success during his period in office through the 1950-1960 period. He was a regular Sun­day morning oarsman for many years after his retirement until a long illness prevented his active participation in the sport.

Herbie died on 8th December, 1991 at the age of 69. Fifty­ two of those years had been spent in enthusiastic and loyal support of the Mercantile Rowing Club, a valued member and a true and loyal friend to many in the Club.

Robert R Aitken
Extracted from 1992-93 Annual Report

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