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History of AAGPS Head of the River Rowing Regatta

1898 NSW AAGPS Head of the River 

Raced Saturday, 23 April 1898 on the Parramatta River.

The 1898 edition was the first time that there was a third crew, with St. Ignatius College joining the race for the first time on 1 mile, 550 yard course on the Parramatta River:

St. Ignatius College, Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore) and Sydney Grammar School.

The day was met with a lot of interest with schoolboys and members of the public following along on 3 Steamers following the race: The Dayspring, Lady Manning and the Birkenhead. Church of England got out clear and held on to win by two lengths to Sydney Grammar, with St. Ignatius further back in third on their debut.

The Daily Telegraph provided the following report on the race:

Church of England Grammar School jumped away with the lead, rowing a very fast stroke, and in good style. The Grammar School were strong, but sluggish, and at Gladesville (1min 40sec) they were already two lengths behind the Church of England four, with the College a length and a half further away. The Sydney Grammar School four wore now rowing much better, and at Tennyson they were within half a length of the leaders. Time, 5min 10 sec. A great race was now taking place between the two crews, the Church of England stroke spurting repeatedly lo maintain his position. Nearing Putney the efforts of the Sydney Grammar School lour had told their tale, and the crew were pretty well done, leaving the North Sydney reps to draw away and win by a couple of lengths. Time, 8min. 7sec. Tlie winners had the best condition, and they rowed with great dash throughout. The St. Ignatius' crew were a long distance astern, but they pluckily completed the course.

St Ignatius' College joined the regatta this year. Despite many years of rowing tradition, their crew was entered at the last moment and were reported as being sadly lacking in condition and poorly boated. Whereas both Shore and Grammar had purchased new racing fours from Jerram of Melbourne.

The first two crews used outriggers rather than string-test fours for the first time. St Ignatius used a 20 year old boat which was no match for the other schools.

It was reported that it was quite an achievement for the Shore crew to win as they were both younger and far smaller. The respective strokes of the first two crews were aged 15 and 20 respectively.

Head of the River

1 mile, 550 yards

Time: 8 min 7 sec

Margin: 2 1/2  lengths, easily

1st Sydney Church of England Grammar School  Bow: E. D. Kuter, 2: E. D. Giblin, 3: C. E. Hale, Str: C. E. Murnin, Cox: H. S. Bland

2nd Sydney Grammar School  Bow: J. M. Corlette, 2: J. C. Close, 3: C. S. Browne, Str: A. H. Stewart, Cox: K. H. McRae

3rd St. Ignatius College – Bow: C. Byrne, 2: A. Thynne, 3: F. Deery, Str: H. Douglas, Cox: A. Walker

Officials and Organising Committee:

Starters and Judges: Mr. M. A. H. Fitzhardinge & Mr. K. F. Giltinan

Umpire: Mr. Q. L. Deloitte

Timekeeper: Mr. J. Blackman


ROWING. (1898, 25 April), The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW 1883 – 1930), p. 2, Retrieved 5 January 2021, from

ROWING. (1898, 25 April), The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, NSW: 1842 – 1954), p. 5, Retrieved January 5 2021, from

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