Meet our Community – Rachel Robertson, President, Heyington Club


What are the main objectives of the Heyington Club and its key achievements over the past year?

The Heyington Club’s two key objectives are to promote, support and encourage Rowing at St Catherine’s School and to fundraise for boats, equipment and other capital items associated with School Rowing.

Over the past year, there were two notable achievements;

  • Generous donations from our community, including tax deductible gifts to the Australian Sports Foundation (ASF), funded two new boats for the St Catherine’s fleet – a Sykes Quad and a state of the art, German crafted Empacher racing eight. These boats will ensure our crews are competitive and safe.
  • With support from the School, coaches and parents, the First and Second VIII crews competed at the National Rowing Championships in Sydney earlier this year. Both crews excelled with the Second VIII taking out third place in the 500m Schoolgirls Coxed Eight Sprint and the First VIII winning the National Schoolgirls Coxed Eight title! It takes a tri-partisan approach to achieve this level of success!

Congratulations girls and coaches and thank you to all parents and supporters. We look forward to many more successful seasons ahead.

What does your Committee hope to achieve during the coming year?

We hope to:

  • Create a welcoming environment for parents and supporters at events, and on the riverbank to enhance their enjoyment in the sport.
  • Increase parents’ Rowing knowledge and its benefits beyond the sport
  • Raise funds at our annual Head of Schoolgirls dinner to ensure our girls have the safest, most reliable and competitive equipment.

What are the key events taking place for the Heyington Club in the coming 12 months?

  • Our Start of Season social evening was held on Thursday 27 October 2016. Tours of the boatshed and a boat anatomy overview started from 6.30pm with drinks in the Mercantile Clubhouse from 7.00pm. It was a relaxed social evening where we  introduced the coaches, Heyington Committee, Captains of Boats and Mrs Michelle Carroll. Later in the evening, we auctioned the rare and enlightening opportunity to ride in a coach’s tinny during training.
  • The Crew Presentation now set for the evening of Monday, 6 February, 2017 at 6.00pm for parents and crews, is an exciting one for the girls. Crews are announced and photographed and new boats are christened. The Heyington Club hosts the night and request a $5 contribution to the bar.
  • The Head of Schoolgirls weekend needs to be entered into your calendar now! Plan a family weekend away from Friday 17 March to Sunday 19 March 2017. (NOTE: All crews will be accommodated with Rowing staff so you will only need to book rooms for the rest of your family). The Heyington Club welcomes all supporters to the St Catherine’s riverside marquee during the Carnival. Water, coffee, morning tea, delicious BBQ breakfasts, afternoon tea and merchandise will all be provided with tasty lunch boxes available to pre-purchase online.
  • On Saturday 18 March, during the Head of Schoolgirls weekend, we organise a special dinner, for parents only, at the Barwon Heads Golf Club. This is NOT TO BE MISSED! It is a fun, relaxed dinner and our key fundraiser for the season.
  • Sunday 27 March, 2017 from 6.00pm is the End of Season Rowing Presentation This is an evening of celebration as we reflect on the season. For parents, crews and coaches.
  • After the girls’ season has finished we start teaching the parents! May 2017 is planned for the Parent Learn to Row Program. Register your interest now with Claudette Passon:

Why do you think volunteering is so important? How can people contribute?

Volunteering brings a community together. It connects you with your child’s interests and is personally rewarding working with people with different skills and knowing your time is benefiting others. New volunteers to a Club bring fresh blood, stimulating review of existing thinking allowing the Heyington Club to improve and move forward.

It is easy to say no when asked to help, for fear of the unknown … ‘Will I know what to do? …Will I be landed with too much and not cope?’ The Heyington Club has a succession plan in place so those who are new on the Committee can shadow an experienced member to learn the ropes for the following year. Some volunteers offer their time for general jobs, preferring not to manage events whilst others are skilled at organising and need the support from those willing to do the jobs! Please consider any of the following roles for next year…

  • managing or helping with events (manning the BBQ, decorating, managing invitations, rsvps and seating plans, catering, AV, booking venues)
  • co-coordinating tents, eskies, water and ice at regattas
  • St Catherine’s Rowing merchandise – ordering and managing stock
  • Fundraising – actively source and collate auction items, record sales
  • Preparing food for events and crew breakfasts
  • Junior, Intermediate and Senior co-coordinators responsible for regatta setup, introducing parents, ensuring information is communicated
  • Photography
  • Boat Race Official training and rostering
  • The Heyington Club are seeking live and silent auction items for our key fundraising dinner on March 18, 2017. Items may include cooking/travel books, tutoring, catering, florists, health & beauty products, clothing, wine, sports gear/equipment, drink bottles, movie tickets, art, professional services, accommodation stays, stationary…. If you have something to donate, we would be most grateful. Please contact Claudette Passon
  • Boat Race Officials (BROs) are required at each regatta. A one and a half hour training course is required and offers a great insight to Rowing and Regatta rules. Volunteering as a BRO is also a great way to watch your daughter racing! You may even have the opportunity to follow in the umpire’s boat. If you are interested, please register with Bill Tymms (Gabriella Yr 9)

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

I grew up on a sheep station in northern South Australia. My mother taught me via Correspondence School and School of the Air was our way of communication to other students. At the age of 10, I went to boarding School in Adelaide. Having made clothes for my dolls and later myself, Fashion Design was my natural choice post schooling. I moved to Melbourne at 17 and upon completion of my fashion degree, I worked for Country Road Clothing for the next 13 years. More study and a MBA under my belt I started a family…I now know post graduate studies cannot prepare you for parenting!

Tell us something our community does not know about you. What is your favourite book, hobby, movie or meal?

  • I love travel and I’m obsessed with all things Italian… from studying the language, visiting favourite locations over and over, scouring websites for new restaurants, hidden treasures and culinary finds.
  • I’ve also learned to love rowing! My son rowed at Henley Royal Regatta this year which was so exciting and full of tradition as you can imagine from a Regatta that has been running for 177 years!
Rachel Robertson
Heyington Club

0419 979697