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australian rowers profiles and history

Roger B Wilson OAM

Mercantile Rowing Club (VIC)

“The voice of rowing”

Roger started his lifelong interest in rowing whilst at Brighton Grammar School.

He start his rowing at Brighton at the end of 1957 and finished in 1962 – including rowing in the school’s first two head of the river crews in 1961 and 1962.

Roger then joined Mercantile Rowing Club in 1963 and raced until 1967. His highest win was the national junior eights title at the second National Regatta at Ballarat in May 1966 in what Roger regarded as freezing conditions. No one will argue with you on that one.

Roger has been a long serving Vice-President at the Club and coached at Club crews in the seventies.

However Roger is perhaps best known for his coaching at Brighton Grammar from 1964 until 1979 with the last five years as Head of the River first eight coach. His crews did very well including the first final appearance by BGS in the Head of the River in 1976 finishing third behind the two Geelong schools on the Barwon!

Roger’s fame to the sport was to come through his course commentary. He started at Yarrawonga in 1966 and is still going strong over 50 years at most major rowing regattas in Victoria.

Above: Roger in a typical pose commentating at Carrum

Roger was also the ABC rowing commentator from 1973 and called all Kings Cups & Nationals on the ABC Grandstand for 43 years as well as well as being course commentator.

Above: Roger commentating on the Yarra at Henley

Roger went onto commentate at Olympic and World Championships as the ABC commentator on a number of occasions. His biggest highlight was being the main course commentator at Lake Barrington at the 1990 World Rowing Championships where the Oarsome Foursome commenced their wonderful run of successes.

He has probably one of the longest runs as course commentator at any regatta with over 44 years at The APS Regatta (Heads of the River).

He was also the main course commentator for World Masters Regatta in 2012.

Amongst all the above, Roger found time to be a journalist on rowing for many years. He  wrote rowing stories for The Age, then in 1984 for the broadsheet Herald & also a weekly column in the Weekly Times for many years.  He also submitted the results and stories for Australian Associated Press for over 30 years.

For such a great rowing career, he has been recognised by many.

Thank you Roger.


Andrew Guerin – 6th April 2018

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