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History of AAGPS Head of the River Rowing Regatta

1906 NSW AAGPS Head of the River:

Wednesday, 25 April

The 1906 Head of the River was significant as it was the first time a “seconds” category was introduced. The regatta was also held on a Wednesday for the first time, as the regatta day became an event with only Schools racing.

First Crew:

Three crews entered the race on the Parramatta River:

-  St. Ignatius College

-  Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore)

-  Sydney Grammar School

Racing conditions were characterised by a headwind with a negating tide, providing the crews with some challenges to racing. Church of England got out to a length lead early and extended that lead to three lengths over St. Ignatius by the finish line at Putney Point. It was the first time since 1900 that Church of England won the Major Rennie trophy.

The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser provided the following report for Church of England regaining the Major Rennie trophy:

“The boats were supposed to pick up. moored buoys at One Man Wharf, but as is often the case with this impossible and obsolete system of starting on tide waters, the boats were merely got into line, and went away to a satisfactory start by Mr. J. McGregor. The water was not rough, but the head wind made it difficult and there was a deal of splashing, and in consequence, irregular action of oars and bodies. At Gladesville, Church of England boat led St. Ignatius by a length, rowing more evenly than the other crews, and generally had a better idea of driving against the wind. St. Ignatius was a good crew, too, and plugged hard with a long but rather dragging stroke, which, however, was, perhaps, more effective than it would have been on smooth water, or with the wind astern. Sydney Grammar was rowing in good time, but had absolutely no dash, and in consequence not much pace. Church of England was the best of the three crews, and with excellent time, a crisp catch, and good, straight-arm work, won comfortably; by three lengths- from St. Ignatius, with Sydney Grammar another four lengths behind'. The time for the mile and 500 yards was, of course, slow (9m 53s); but it was good considering the circumstances of tide and wind.”

Second Crew:

This was the first time the second crew event was raced, with the winner receiving the Yaralla Cup. The Yaralla Cup was previously awarded to the winners of the Maiden Fours.

The same three schools entered second crews for the 1 mile race from Gladesville to Putney Point:

-  St. Ignatius College

-  Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore)

-  Sydney Grammar School

The seconds race was very exciting right to the finish. St. Ignatius and Sydney Grammar both had moments of being in the lead, but St. Ignatius proved eventual winners by a margin of one length.

The Australian Star provided this report of the seconds race:

“The contest between the second crews of the same schools was an even closer one, and must have sorely tried each crew. St. Ignatius went to the front early in the contest, with Sydney Grammar following closely. C. of E. soon dropped astern in this race, but It was not for want of pluck that they did not win, for they plugged along to the very last. Passing Tennyson Sydney Grammar went ahead of St. Ignatius, and a wonderful race ensued. First St. Ignatius and then Sydney Grammar appeared to be in front, but neither crew let up an inch, and they fought out a tremendous race to the finish, where St. Ignatius got the verdict by a length. A finer race has seldom been seen.”

Index to Results:


Officials and Organising Committee:

Starter: Mr. J. McGregor

Judge: Mr. J. Degotardi

Umpire: Mr. V. Horniman

Timekeeper: Mr. J. Blackman

Head of the River

1 mile, 550 yards

Time: 9 min 53 sec

1st Sydney Church of England Grammar School – Bow: G. P. Edwards, 2: G. B. Haydon, 3: M. Mackellar, Str: C. L. Wilcox, Cox: F. W. M. Busby

Margin: 3, 4 lengths

2nd St. Ignatius College  Bow:T. O'Connor, 2: J. O'Mara, 3: R. V. McDonnell, Str: J. Carlton, Cox: A. Kelly

3rd Sydney Grammar School – Bow: S. A. Marden, 2: C. M. Royds, 3: M. K. Inglis, Str: C. R. Lucas, Cox: L. E. George

Second crews

1 mile

Time: 7 min 10 sec

1st St. Ignatius College – Bow: H. McArdle, 2: C. Veech, 3: J. Fernandos, Str: C. Burfitt, Cox: F. Kinkead

Margin: 1 length

2nd Sydney Grammar School – Bow: A. H. K. Bray, 2: J. R. Hooton, 3: A. T. Woodriff, Str: H. R. Chapman, Cox: E. W. Pearce

3rd Sydney Church of England Grammar School – Bow:W. L. Allison, 2: J. B. Gaden, 3: A. F. Martin, Str: C. H. Edwards, Cox: J. H. Newmarch


AQUATICS. (1906, 2 May), The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (Sydney, NSW: 1871 – 1912), p. 1181, Retrieved 21 January 2021, from

Great Public Schools Race. (1906, 2 May), Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW: 1870 – 1907), p. 21, Retrieved 21 January 2021, from

Our Alma Mater, Students of St. Ignatius College, Riverview, Sydney Vol. 1, No. 31, July 1906

ROWING. (1906, 26 April), The Australian Star (Sydney, NSW: 1887 – 1909), p. 3, Retrieved 1 January 2021, from

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