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History of AAGPS Head of the River Rowing Regatta

1912 NSW AAGPS Head of the River:

Wednesday, 24 April

First Eight:

Four crews vied for the Major Rennie trophy in 1912:

-  St. Ignatius College

-  St. Joseph’s College

-  Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore)

-  Sydney Grammar School

The weather was perfect for rowing, characterised by no wind and flat water. Two steamers were packed with students and parents to follow the exciting race. Sydney Grammar and Church of England were tussling in the first half on the course before Grammar shot ahead and moved away from the field to cross the line first by a margin of two lengths. Grammar last won the Major Rennie trophy in 1909.

The Daily Telegraph wrote about Grammar’s emphatic win:

“The four crows dipped simultaneously, and shot away dead level. St. Ignatius were the first to drop back, while the other three crews kept level until Bottle Point. was reached. After passing the point Sydney Grammar School went to the front, and led St Joseph's and Sydney. Church of England Grammar School by half a length. S.C.E.G.S. then spurted, and drew up level again; while St. Joseph's dropped back to a length. St. Ignatius' were half a length behind St. Joseph's. Passing Putney Point Sydney Grammar School and S.C.E.G.S, were still rowing neck and neck, with St. Joseph's a length and a half away, and St. Ignatius' half a length away again. Just before Tennyson was reached Sydney Grammar School spurted grandly, and literally, jumped away to a length from S.C.E.G.S. lnglis was stroking his crew beautifully, and was using extremely good judgment. S.C.E.G.S. were rowing in the best form, but they could not sustain their efforts long enough to keep Sydney Grammar' School beside' them. The other crews were also rowing well, but St. Ignatius' lacked the necessary dash to turn their work to good effect. After passing Tennyson St. Joseph's spurted hard, and drew up to within half a length of S.C.E.G.S., while St. Ignatius' were still two lengths away. Approaching Cabarita S.C.E.G.S. brightened up, and reduced Sydney Grammar School's lead to half a length, but when their spurt died down, lnglis took his men away again, and re-established his position, a length in the van. At Cabarita S.C.E.G.S. again spurted hard, and went up a quarter of a length, but could get no further. St. Joseph’s were a length and a half behind again, and St. Ignatius' were another length behind St. Joseph's. On the journey to Gladesville Sydney Grammar School with a length lead, brightened up, and increased their lead to two lengths, by which they won. S.C.E.G.S. were next, St. Joseph's third, and St. Ignatius' fourth.”

First Four:

The same four schools entered in the Four’s category for the Yaralla Cup, raced over 1 mile:

-  St. Ignatius College

-  St. Joseph’s College

-  Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore)

-  Sydney Grammar School

Church of England got the lead from the start. However, Grammar edged ahead of them at Tennyson as Church of England faded away, to win by an overwhelming 4 lengths.

The Daily Telegraph reported the fours race:

“Sydney Church of England Grammar School were the first to break away, and just, before Tennyson was reached, led Sydney Grammar School by half a length. St. Ignatius were in third position, two lengths behind Sydney Grammar School, and St. Joseph's a length and a half away again. At Tennyson S.G. School spurted hard and took the lead, holding half' a length from S.C.E.G.S, while St. Joseph's and St. 'Ignatius' were still some distance in the rear. The four crews were rowing fairly well, particularly the two leading crews. On the approach to Cabarita S.G. School went away to a good length from S.C.E.G.S., with St. Ignatius three lengths away and St. Joseph's six lengths away. Sydney Grammar School were now looked upon as the winners as they were increasing their lead at every stroke, and they flashed past Gladesville a length and a half in front of S.C.E.G.S., and finished four lengths to the good. Sydney Church of England Grammar School were second with St. Ignatius a considerable distance away third and St. Joseph's further away again in last place.”

This win in the First Four for Grammar was momentous as it was the first time that a school won both the first and second crew category at the Head of the River (the seconds category was introduced in 1906).

Index to Results:

Officials and Organising Committee:

Starter: Mr. J. McGregor

Judge: Mr. J. Degotardi

Umpire: Mr. N. G. McDonald

Timekeeper: Mr. W. Kerr

Hon. Secretary: Mr. H Marks

Head of the River - First Eight

1 mile, 550 yards

Time: 8 min 51 sec

1st Sydney Grammar School – Bow: R. H. Waite, 2: F. Barnet, 3: E. J. Roberts, 4: R. C. Stafford, 5: R. R. Harper, 6: H. R. Scrivener, 7: C. J. Rossell, Str: R. C. Inglis, Cox: R. H. R. Grieve

Margin: 2, 2 lengths

2nd Sydney Church of England Grammar School – Bow: G. S. Lloyd, 2: K. B. Voss, 3: V. W. Smith, 4: C. G. Lindsay, 5: E. L. Witts, 6: E. A. Woodward, 7: G. E. Hart, Str: V. T. Hall, Cox: R. S. Roberts

3rd St. Joseph's College – Bow: V. Hennesy, 2: E. Foley, 3: C. Dunn, 4: C. Boland, 5: F. Mallon, 6: W. Lane, 7: C. Cody, Str: J. Pollard, Cox: N. Mullarky

4th St. Ignatius College – Bow: G. Johnston, 2: H. Allan, 3: J. Marnam, 4: D. P. McAlary, 5: C. Wilkinson, 6: J. McBride, 7: H. Craven, Str: J. McKay, Cox: F. McDermott

Second crews - First Four

1 mile

Time: 6 min 24 sec

1st Sydney Grammar School – Bow: C. C. Finlay, 2: F. E. Leah, 3: W. P. MacCallum, Str: L. C. Robson, Cox: A. A. Street 

Margin: 4 lengths

2nd Sydney Church of England Grammar School – Bow: T. Morell, 2: L. E. Lillyman, 3: H. Kirkwood, Str: L. L. Richardson, Cox: R. S. Robertson

3rd St. Ignatius College – Bow: H. Bowler, 2: F. Synott, 3: K. McKay, Str: C. Bryant, Cox: G. Bateman

4th St. Joseph's College – Bow: H. Barnett, 2: E. Day, 3: W. Logan, Str: J. O'Brien, Cox: R. Reid


ROWING. (1912, 26 April), The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, NSW: 1842 – 1954), p. 12, Retrieved 28 January 2021, from

SCHOOL ROWING. (1912, 25 April), The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW: 1883 – 1930), p. 15, Retrieved 28 January 2021, from

The Sydneian, Sydney Grammar School, No. 212, June 1912

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