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History of AAGPS Head of the River Rowing Regatta

1908 NSW AAGPS Head of the River:

Wednesdat, 29 April

First Crew:

The same 4 crews vied for the Major Rennie trophy in 1908:

-  St. Ignatius College

-  St. Joseph’s College

-  Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore)

-  Sydney Grammar School

The day was met with ideal racing conditions, attracting a large crowd following the race on two large steamboats. The 1908 race was one of the closest races in the short NSW Head of the River history. Church of England grabbed the lead early and had as big as a one-length advantage on both Sydney Grammar and St. Ignatius. However, at the finish, all three schools finished within a length of each other. Church of England crossed the line in 1st by 1/3 length and regained the Major Rennie trophy which they last won just two years earlier.

The Sydney Morning Herald provided this description of the exciting race:

“From the start it was a good race, the Church of England School getting away smartest. It was, however, quickly headed by St. Ignatius who was rowing strongly. Sydney Grammar School were lying handy, but had all it could do in the early stages to keep ahead of St. Joseph’s crew. At Gladesville the Church of England School led St. Ignatius a length, and reached the point in 1m 40s from the start. Rowing well within themselves the Church of England School men reached Cabarita in 2m 45s a length ahead of St. Ignatius, which shortly afterwards drew up level amidst loud cheering. The effort was not sustained, although the distance between the Church of England, St. Ignatius and Sydney Grammar School was not more than half a length. Tennyson was passed by the leading crew in 5m 2 4-5s; Mortlake in 6m 28s, and the whole course in 7m 35 4-5s. Sydney Church of England Grammar School gaining the judges verdict by a third of a length from Sydney Grammar School, which was a similar distance ahead of St. Ignatius College with St Joseph’s beaten off.”

Second Crew:

This was the first time there were four entries in this event, with St. Joseph’s entering a crew:

-  St. Ignatius College

-  St. Joseph’s College

-  Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore)

-  Sydney Grammar School

St. Ignatius stormed away in the last half-mile of the race to win by 2 lengths over Sydney Grammar.

Index to Results:


Officials and Organising Committee:

Starter: Mr. J. McGregor

Judge: Mr. J. Degotardi

Umpire: Mr. N. J. McDonald

Timekeeper: Mr. W. Kerr

Secretary: Mr. H. Marks

Committee: Messrs. I. G. Mackay, W. H. Savigny, B. A. McBride and Brother Joseph

Head of the River

1 mile, 550 yards

Time: 7 min 36 sec

1st Sydney Church of England Grammar School – Bow: C. Marsh, 2: A. Horden, 3: R. J. A. Massie, Str: C. H. Edwards, Cox: F. H. Day

Margin: 1/3, 1/3 lengths

2nd Sydney Grammar School – Bow: S. R. Stafford 2: A. T. Woodriff, 3: J. C. Lamrock, Str: J. R. Garland, Cox: J. T. Anderson

3rd St. Ignatius College – Bow: J. Dalton, 2: :C. Veech, 3: J. Carlton, Str: B. Veech, Cox: A. Kelly

4th St. Joseph's College – Bow: P. Walsh, 2: D. Poett, 3: J. Tracey, Str: S. Kelly, Cox: T. Healy

Second crews

1 mile

Time: 5 min 38 sec

1st St. Ignatius College – Bow: L. Veech, 2: F. Fenning, 3: J. Wilkinson, Str: A. Cox, Cox: F. Kinkead

Margin: 2, 4, 3 lengths

2nd Sydney Grammar School – Bow: C. R. Sheldon, 2: H. R. Cowdrey, 3: G. P. Arnold, Str: A. J. Robson, Cox; H. K. Crawford

3rd Sydney Church of England Grammar School – Bow: K. V. McDonald, 2: R. L. Sayers, 3: W. E. Tucker, Str: C. W. Snook, Cox: W. Webster

4th St. Joseph's College – Bow: T. Roche, 2: C. Lynch, 3: E. McCaffrey, Str: R. Quinn, Cox: H. Nash


ROWING. (1908, 30 April), The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, NSW: 1842 – 1954), p. 10, Retrieved 23 January 2020, from

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