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Tokyo Olympian's name to power tunnel boring machine under Yarra

Lucy Stephan

Victorian rower Lucy Stephan, pictured left, powered to gold at the Tokyo Olympics as part of Australia’s all-conquering women’s fours rowing team.

Now Lucy’s name is going to be attached to a tunnel boring machine that will power under the Yarra River as part of the project to replace the century old Hawthorn Main Sewer.

The TBM has been named `Lucy’ by Grade 1/2 pupils at Hawthorn West Primary School to celebrate Lucy Stephan’s achievements and contribution to the sport.

Lucy, who grew up in Nhill in country Victoria, was named 2019 Victorian Female Athlete of the Year and has been a regular feature rowing along the Yarra River for training.

The Hawthorn to Richmond Sewer project is being carried out by Melbourne Water in partnership with John Holland-KBR Joint Venture.

Tradition dictates that a TBM is given a female name before it can start to tunnel, granting good luck for the project ahead.

The tradition dates from the 1500s when miners and military engineers using explosives for excavation prayed to Saint Barbara – the patron saint of tunnellers and miners.

Lucy joins such luminaries as former Victorian Premier Joan Kirner, Australian cricketer Meg Lanning and Bella Guerin, the first woman to graduate from university in Australia, in having TBM’s named after them.

The TBM `Collette’ that carried out a major upgrade to Melbourne Water’s O’Shannassy Reservoir in 2020, was named after Victoria’s Chief Engineer Dr Collette Burke.

Congratulations to Lucy – and her teammates Rosemary Popa, Jessica Morrison and Annabelle McIntyre – on doing the country proud at the Olympic Games!

Australian women's fours
Victorian Lucy Stephan (far left) and her teammates Rosemary Popa, Jessica Morrison and Annabelle McIntyre, rowing the Australian women's fours to Olympic gold in Tokyo. All pictures - courtesy of Rowing Australia and John Holland Group.