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History of AAGPS Head of the River Rowing Regatta

1909 NSW AAGPS Head of the River:

Wednesday, 21 April

First Crew:

There were four entrants for the 1909 race on the Paramatta River:

-  St. Ignatius College

-  St. Joseph’s College

-  Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore)

-  Sydney Grammar School

The day was met with dull weather, but this did not deter a crowd filling three steamboats. The water was flat with minimal tidal flow resulting in perfect racing conditions. Sydney Grammar were successful in taking out the 1909 regatta with a commanding 3 length win over Church of England. This was the first time Grammar won the Major Rennie trophy since 1904. 

The Sydney Morning Herald wrote the following on Grammar’s win:

“The start was perfectly satisfactory, and at a fast rate of stroke. Church of England led for a few strokes, then Sydney Grammar, with a good lifting stroke, drew to the front, all rowing with dash and in rather good form. After the first minute had passed Sydney Grammar reached the gas works’ beacon with a slight lead from Church of England with St. Joseph and St. Ignatius only a few feet away. Passing Tennyson Wharf (half-mile) Sydney Grammar led by a length from Church of England, and St. Ignatius was slightly in front of St. Joseph’s. At Cabarita Sydney Grammar led by two lengths, fully, and so far had rowed a very fine race with Church of England. At this time St. Joseph was catch up lost distance, and going well. At Gladesville, rather more than a mile, Sydney Grammar led by about two and a half lengths, the time being 6m 37s. After leaving the point the leaders got a good course and dashed away, gaining another length, somewhat favoured by the run of the tide. Church of England was now getting tired and out of form, and both St. Joseph’s and St. Ignatius had drawn almost level with them. Nearing the finish Church of England got away again, and finished three lengths from Sydney Grammar, which won a well-rowed race in 9m 2s, with the second crew a length in front of St. Joseph’s and St. Ignatius a length further away.”

Second Crew:

The seconds race had 5 entrants, with Church of England (Shore) entering two crews for the one-mile race:

-  St. Ignatius College

-  St. Joseph’s College

-  Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore) 1 & 2

-  Sydney Grammar School

Church of England took the lead early and didn’t look back, winning by a 1¼ lengths over St. Joseph’s.

The Sydney Morning Herald wrote about the 1909 seconds race:

“Church of England No. 1 Crew soon took the lead, and held it to the finish, winning by a length and a quarter from a brilliant team from St. Joseph’s. The time was 5m 49s. The rowing of all crews in both races was far above the average, and the winners were really excellent crews.”

Index to Results:


Officials and Organising Committee:

Starter: Mr. J. McGregor

Judge: Mr. J. Degotardi

Umpire: Mr. R. B. Fitzhardinge

Timekeeper: Mr. W. Kerr

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


SCHOOL ROWING. (1909, 22 April), The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, NSW: 1842 – 1954), p. 7, Retrieved 24 January 2021, from

The Sydneian, Sydney Grammar School, No. 200, June 1909

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