Australian Defence Force, Australia
The Australian King’s Cup crew in 2019 is open to all services, has generated significant numbers of competitive athletes and will be the first time a combined service crew has competed in an international rowing event.
Below the Chief of Defence Staff with the formal invitation to race at The King’s Cup, the map of the Henley Royal Regatta course and the record of the Australian winning crew that raced in 1919. To his right is the 1919 King’s Cup won in the Royal Henley Peace Regatta and behind him the Devanha Oars and the Ascot Boat used during the landings at Gallipoli at the Gallipoli Exhibition, the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
General Angus J. Campbell, AO, DSC, Chief of the Defence Force
The Australian crew represents the modern Australian Defence Force, with men and women drawn from all ranks and all services – full time and reservists. Medics to Engineers, veterans from recent conflicts and new recruits who have just started their military careers from across Australia, are brought together in the Australian crew united by their love of the sport. They are all conscious that the last time an Australian military crew raced at Henley, they brought back a rather special cup. That cup is now the perennial prize for the Australian Interstate Men’s Champions of Australia.
Click here to see the organising crew for Australia.
Lieutenant Colonel Selina Rowland CSM hails from Hamilton, Victoria and is Team Captain for Australia. Selina’s passion for rowing began when her father taught her to row on Lake Hamilton and she rowed at school in Ballarat. Selina has represented the Australian Defence Force in rowing since she was Captain of Boats as a cadet at the Royal Military College Duntroon. Selina has also won titles at the Australian Masters Rowing Championships and at 48 years old is the most senior military athlete racing in the King’s Cup. Her career highlights include leading soldiers on operations, mentoring cadets at the RMC Duntroon, and commanding the 39th Operational Support Battalion. She has deployed to the Middle East, the Solomon Islands, Iraq, Kosovo, and East Timor.
Lieutenant Casey Piket was born and raised in Hobart, Tasmania and is 23 years old. He has a Bachelor degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the Australian Defence Force Academy. He completed his officer training at the Royal Military College Duntroon in 2018 where he graduated into Army Aviation. He is now completing his final year of engineering study. Casey learned to row at school where he competed up to national level. After joining the Army he trained and competed with ADFA Rowing Club. He was President of ADFA Rowing Club and Boat Captain of the RMC Duntroon Rowing Club while completing his military training.
Corporal Rachel Rook is from Geelong, Victoria and is 30 years old. She is posted as an Australian Army Medical Technician in Darwin. She deployed to Iraq in 2017. Rachel learnt to row in high school at Sacred Heart College, Geelong and has had a passion for rowing ever since. Rachel is posted to Darwin where there is no on-water rowing so she spends time on the ergometer. She has enjoyed the road to Henley and is looking forward to representing the Australian Defence Force and Australia. Rachel shares a special affinity with Clive Disher, stroke of the winning 1919 Australian Imperial Force No. 1 crew, as they grew up in the same town (Sale, Victoria) and both served in medical corps.
Corporal Damien Richardson is from Hobart Tasmania and is 27 years old. He is posted as a physical training instructor in Brisbane. Damien is married with a one-year old daughter. He joined the Australian Army in 2011 and started as an Armoured Crewman before transferring to become a Physical Training Instructor. As a rower Damien represented Tasmania at numerous regattas, including the 2009 Youth Olympics Festival. Damien has been out of the sport since 2010 but has made a swift comeback since the selection process and placed 4th in the Men’s Club Double, alongside Major Tom Cregan, at the 2019 Sydney International Rowing Regatta.
Private Charles Patterson is one of the more junior members of the team at 23 years of age. He is an Army Reservist who hails from Sydney, New South Wales. He has been rowing competitively since 2014 and has amassed a range of state and national prizes, including the Australian Men’s Champion Coxed 4 (2017 and 2019). He represented Sydney Rowing Club at the Henley Royal Regatta in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 and he has raced in the Holland Bekker International Regatta. Charles has been closely involved in the development of the documentary ‘the Oarsmen’ on the history of the 1919 race. Although this will be Charles’ fifth time at the Henley Royal Regatta, he believes this will be the most symbolic.
Lieutenant Simon Gillespie was born in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. He commissioned into the Australian Army in 2017 and is now, at the age of 28, posted to Townsville as an Infantry Platoon Commander. He started his rowing at school then at Sydney University. He won the Disher Cup whilst completing officer training at the Royal Military College Duntroon and was a part of the under 23 Australian Championship Crew in 2014 for Surf Boat Rowing.
Captain Nicholas Waugh is originally from Sydney, New South Wales, and is the Boat Captain for the Australian Defence Force King’s Cup Team. Nicholas started rowing at 13 years of age at Cranbrook School and now at 29, he is part of University of Queensland Boat Club. He became an active member of the rowing community in Canberra after joining the Australian Army in 2011. Whilst he was posted to an Artillary Unit in Townsville, he deployed on operations to Iraq and travelled to Papua New Guinea. Nicholas’ great grandfather also rowed and served as a surgeon at both Gallipoli and the Western Front.
Major Tom Cregan is 32 years of age. He is originally from Sydney, New South Wales and is currently posted to Melbourne. Tom began his rowing career on Sydney Harbour in 2003 and he now rows at the Yarra Yarra Rowing Club. He joined the Australian Army in 2005 and studied Mechanical Engineering at the Australian Defence Force Academy. Whilst at ADFA, he won the Disher Cup in 2006. After commissioning from the Royal Military College Duntroon, he was posted to Townsville as a platoon commander. Tom has deployed to Afghanistan. In 2014 he posted to the United Kingdom to study a Masters in Guided Weapons Systems. While in the UK, he competed in both the Oxford bumps race and at Henley Royal Regatta in 2015.
Flying Officer Ruby Brady-Welsh is a Royal Australian Air Force Electronics Engineer in Canberra and is 27 years old. She hails from Melbourne, Victoria and has rowed since she was in high school. Ruby took up coxing at Black Mountain Rowing Club after her move to Canberra as she was too young to compete in Masters events. Although she occasionally loves to hop on the oars and stretch her legs, she thoroughly enjoys the challenge that coxing presents.
Lieutenant Colonel Elizabeth Stephens is 43 years old. She comes from Hobart, Tasmania and is currently posted to Canberra as an Electrical and Mechanical Engineer in Army Aviation. Career highlights include a secondment to the 101st Airborne Division, Clarkesville Tennessee, and commanding a squadron of 180 maintenance and logistic personnel. She learnt to row at the Royal Military College Duntroon in 1997. Liz competed in the Disher Cup and was awarded RMC Sportswoman of the Year. She has deployed twice with Chinooks to both Afghanistan and to Iraq. She is driven to make a positive contribution through her service and is passionate about inspiring others.
Captain Carl Bleimschein is 31 years of age and was born in Cape Town, South Africa. He moved to Australia in 1992 and joined the Australian Army from school in 2006. Carl graduated from the Royal Military College Duntroon in 2009 with a Bachelor degree in Business from the Australian Defence Force Academy. He took up indoor rowing in 2013, and broke two indoor rowing records including his unit’s record over two kilometres and the 500m record at Camp Baker in Afghanistan, where he deployed twice. After a vehicle rollover he used indoor rowing training to assist his recovery and this led to him completing an indoor rowing marathon in 2016. Over the past year, Carl has learned to row on water in preparation for the King’s Cup.
Captain Mitchell Lindsay is from Ourmbah, New South Wales. At 24 years of age, he is currently posted to Darwin as his unit’s Adjutant. He learnt to row in his first year in the Australian Army as a cadet at the Australian Defence Force Academy. He has worked across Australia with different nations in a number of different military training areas and has deployed to Iraq. There is no opportunity to train on water in Darwin so he spends time indoor rowing and in the gym, but he is enjoying the road to Henley.
Lieutenant Alexander Jack is 27 years of age. He is from Launceston, Tasmania and is currently posted as an Infantry Platoon Commander in Darwin. He served as a Royal Australian Army Ordinance Corps officer before transferring to infantry. Alex rowed for Scotch Oakburn College and Tamar Rowing Club and competed for the Tasmanian under 23 Youth Cup Team. Alex attended the Australian Defence Force Academy where he won the Disher Cup and served as Captain of Boats. He completed his military training at the Royal Military College Duntroon where he was President of Rowing.
Flying Officer Jessica Winnall is a Coxswain and a Specialist Reserve Public Affairs Officer. She has had two civilian deployments to the United Nations, East Timor and NATO, Afghanistan. She is from Adelaide, South Australia and began her rowing at Adelaide Rowing Club, where she transitioned to coxing after one year. She has coxed a state and national men’s and women’s crews, including for both Canberra and Adelaide Rowing Clubs and the Australian Defence Force Rowing Club. Jessica works for the Department of Home Affairs. Her great grandfather who fought in the First World War, Sergeant Linton Harold Moore, wrote to a newspaper about the importance of sport to his troops and he quoted “I hear the merry voices of the soldier-players … trying to forget the dull monotony of the last few days on the line.”
Leading Aircraftman Jackson Purtle is 27 years old and is an Air Intelligence Analyst in Canberra. He grew up on a 10,000-acre wheat property near Collarenabri New South Wales and he moved to Lismore for High School. He joined the Royal Australian Air Force Gap Year program in 2010 and enlisted as an Air Intelligence Analyst. He deployed to Iraq in 2013. While studying at the Australian National University in 2017, Jackson learned to row at the Australian National University Boat Club. In 2018 Jackson competed for Australian Defence Force Rowing at the Australian Masters’ Rowing Championships in Tasmania.
Officer Cadet Lachlan Stevenson is the youngest member of the Australian Defence Force King’s Cup squad. Lachlan joined the Royal Australian Air Force in January 2019 after finishing school in 2017. He is studying toward a Bachelor in Computing and Cyber Security at the Australian Defence Force Academy. Lachlan has been rowing since 2012, starting with his school’s rowing club, The Shore School. He has rowed for a wide range of club, state and national men’s crews, including for Sydney Rowing Club, ADF Rowing, and the Australian Junior Championships.
Coaching and Management Team
Head Coach Mr Iain Smith was born in Canberra in 1960. He represented NSW in the Under 21 category and rowed for Mosman Rowing Club. He has won several state championships including the NSW Champion Eight in 1984 and the Centenary Riverview Gold Cup. He began coaching in 1978 and has coached athletes to state and national victories. Outside of rowing, Iain is an accomplished professional yachtsman and has competed in 15 Sydney to Hobart races winning five times. He has competed in three Americas Cup regattas and won several World Championships in different classes. Iain joined the board of Rowing Queensland in 2013 Iain’s grandfather Nathaniel Henry Smith MM who served in the First World War was awarded the Military Medal for his involvement in the charge of the Light Brigade at Beersheba. Iain’s great uncle PTE William Norman Carnall was killed on the Western Front on 23 July 1918 and is buried at Merricourt in France.
Team Manager Brigadier Alison Creagh CSC retired from the Australian Regular Army in March 2015 after a 30-year career which was largely spent as an officer in the Royal Australian Corps of Signals. Alison served on operations in Cambodia, East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. She comes from Canberra and her passion for rowing started at Canberra Rowing Club as a 40-year-old. She has competed at Master’s events at local, state, national and international regattas and she has been coaching for several years. She co-founded ADF Rowing and is particularly proud that the ADF has the opportunity to re-race the King’s Cup in 2019. Outside her ADF role Alison has a non-executive career with a number of board appointments including serving on the board of Rowing ACT. Her great-uncle served as a signaller in the First World War so recognising the AIF involvement in the 1919 Royal Henley Peace Regatta has special meaning.