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History of AAGPS Head of the River Rowing Regatta

1903 NSW AAGPS Head of the River

The 11th edition of the AAGPS Head of the River on Saturday, April 25th saw 3 crews start:

St. Ignatius College

Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore)

Sydney Grammar School

Heavy showers fell on the Saturday morning but by the afternoon the conditions were sunny with a slight headwind. The crews were relatively even until Gladesville, where, Sydney Grammar stormed ahead and won the race by a whopping 30 seconds to Church of England in second, and St. Ignatius were just behind in third. This was the first time Sydney Grammar had won back-to-back Major Rennie titles.

The Sydney Morning Herald provided the following race summary of the 1904 race:

“Church of England dashed in a very fast stroke, and led for a few strokes, but Sydney Grammar, although striking a slower rate, soon came up, and by almost faultless rowing took the lead. St. Ignatius splashed and rolled badly, the stroke being wild and uneven, but the crew was on faster water than the other crews and drew up when a quarter-mile had been covered. At Gladesville the time was 1¾ minutes, and here Sydney Grammar was a length and a half ahead of St. Ignatius, with Church of England a few further feet away. The leaders had slowed to 32, and the time, swing, catch and lift were equal to senior rowing of good crews. At Cabarita Church of England passed St. Ignatius, but could not get near the leaders, and at Tennyson Sydney Grammar was had a dozen lengths ahead and going easy. Nearing the finish the leaders romped away without any special effort, the four being as good as at the start. St. Ignatius got the true run of the tide near Putney wharf and came with a rush, but failed by a few feet to reach Church of England crew. There was a difference of 30s between first and second boats, and the third crew was a third of a length behind the second. The time was 8m 20s.”

The win again to Grammar gave it the second of three straight wins for this school.

Head of the River

1 mile, 550 yards

Time: 8 min 20 sec

1st Sydney Grammar School  Bow: L. B. Dibbs, 2: A. R. Cobcroft, 3: J. H. D. Goldie, Str: E. A. Lucas, Cox: A. D. Gregory

Time: 8 min 50 sec

2nd Sydney Church of England Grammar School  Bow: O. G. Dent, 2: R. C. Adams, 3: H. Bullock, Str: K. Taylor, Cox: D. Grant

Time: 8 min 51 sec

3rd St. Ignatius College – Bow: J. Molloy, 2: J. Hughes, 3: G. Quinlan, Str: J. Conlon, Cox: P. Power

Officials and Organising Committee:

Starters and Judges: Mr. M. A. H. Fitzhardinge & Mr. J. Degotardi

Umpire: Mr. Q. L. Deloitte

Timekeeper: Mr. J. Blackman

Hon. Secretary: Mr. F. N. Frith & H. Marks

Committee: Messrs. A. D. Hall, W. H. Savigny & B. A. McBride


GREAT PUBLIC SCHOOLS REGATTA. (1903, 27 April), The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW: 1842 – 1954), p. 5, Retrieved 12 January 2021, from

Rowing. (1903, 29 April), The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1871 – 1912), p. 1074, Retrieved 12 January 2021, from

The Sydneian, Sydney Grammar School, No. 172, June 1903

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