Australian boats ready for Queen’s Jubilee pageant on the Thames
There’s a boat load of Aussie Mongrels who are ready to row in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee river pageant in London on Sunday.
Sydney’s Long Reef Surf Life Saving Club team the Mongrels who are rowing for Australia in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee River Thames Pageant (L-R) Kurt Uebergang, Alex Hamilton, Graeme Burns and Rob Pearson, assisted by Welsh sweep Mike Lord in London on Friday, June 1, 2012. The crew are among 45 Australians rowing nine boats in Sunday’s river spectacular celebrating the Queen’s 60-year reign. (AAP Image/Andrew Drummond)
THE corgis haven’t been invited but there’s a boat of Aussie Mongrels who are ready to row in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee river pageant in London.
The humorously named team of four Sydney blokes are among 45 Australians who will be in nine surf lifesaving boats for Sunday’s River Thames spectacular, celebrating the Queen’s 60-year reign.
“We’re not so much of a hot sports crew, it’s more a leisurely endeavour for us,” Graeme Burns, 27, said of his Mongrels team, which hails from Long Reef Surf Life Saving Club on Sydney’s northern beaches.
“We are called the Mongrels because we basically formed a team as the lost boys of the club. And because we’re on the upper end of the spectrum in the drinking section.”
But there will be no messing about during Sunday’s right royal affair.
Burns, a management consultant, along with engineers Rob Pearson and Kurt Uebergang, and veterinarian Alex Hamilton have their minds on the job, even if they are unimpressed with the four-knot speed limit.
“You have to follow the rules,” Burns said.
“We are obviously just proud Australians and this is a chance to represent our club and represent Australia. It’s a rare and unique experience.”
The crew are among 33 men and 12 women selected from a flood of Australian oarspeople who applied to be part of the pageant, which will see more than a thousand vessels meander 11km along the river, thrilling crowds of flag-waving fans.
Using Australian-made boats on loan from UK surf club owners, the teams from Down Under will bring a human flash of gold lycra to the pageant, complementing the royal barge’s gilded leaf decorations.
The Queen will be joined by other senior royals on board the Spirit of Chartwell for the Jubilee pageant and will stop midway down the river to inspect the flotilla.
“It would be pretty special to get a wave from the Queen, we’ll have a camera ready. But other than that we’re just going to get out there and rip in,” Burns said.
About half the self-funded squad of 45 travelled from Australia to be part of the Jubilee pageant, while the remainder are based overseas.
Australia’s involvement in the pageant is supported by Australia Unlimited, a global campaign aiming to showcase a different side of Down Under.