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australian rowers profiles and history

W K Thompson

Mercantile Rowing Club (VIC)

Thompson was the first President of Mercantile Rowing Club and held that position until retirement in 1889.

Very little is known about him other than he was a prominent merchant in Melbourne from at least 1863 and a member of the Chamber of Commerce. In 1866, he is recorded as moving a motion at the Chamber of Commerce, which was seconded by fellow merchant Sargood, "That the new tariff will inflict fatal injury on the trading interest of the colony." This was in response to a new set of protective tariffs agreed by the local Parliament against the wishes of the "free traders". This opposition led to the formation of the Free-trade League.

It is no surprise that Thompson was a prominent merchant given that Mercantile drew it's members from the merchants of Melbourne and predominantly from Flinders Lane.

Andrew Guerin
July 2023


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