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History of AAGPS Head of the River Rowing Regatta

1953 NSW AAGPS Head of the River

High’s great row – credit to stroke (E.E. Christensen, The Sun, NSW, 12 Apr 1953)

Coach Frank Nicholls gave full credit for Sydney High’s smashing win in the GPS Head of the River yesterday to 16-year-old stroke Jim Woodcock for the tactics he employed in the race.

High broke s sequence of wins by Shore in scoring by half a length with St. Joseph’s a length away third.

With conditions all against fact times, High, the lightest crew in the race, took 8:25.25 seconds for the mile and half, the slowest since Grammar won in 8:32.15 in 1940. Most of the crowd expected the race to be between Shore and High. Before High left the pontoon to paddle to the start, Nicholls told Woodcock, “It’s you’re race, take it away”.

Nicholls said he had a very high opinion of Woodcock’s ability and there was no need to tie him down to any set plan. “Jim is only a light boy, but he is fine stroke and has the invaluable nack of preserving rhythm and at the same time obtaining the maximum effort from his crew,” said Nicholls.

Nicholls thought High won the race from the mile where they commenced to swing along in their best style. Before the race he was confident because High had registered three wins in their races against Shore earlier in the year.


Senior 1st Eight

Major Rennie Trophy


¾ length

1 length

1st High  – Bow: D.J. Denny, 2: G.G. Corry, 3: E.R. Coleman, 4: R.T. Clark, 5: J.B. Caddy, 6: A.B. Salt, 7: W.J. Leroy, Str: J.S. Woodcock, Cox: R.R. Donaldson, Cch: F.M. Nichols

2nd Shore  – Bow: G.R. Solomon, 2: R.P. Waddington, 3: Peter Gordon Ellison, 4: C.B. Gordon, 5: B.C.E. Jackson, 6: E. Sunstrup, 7: B.J. Clayton, Str: J.D. Wilson, Cox: J.G. Henningham, Cch: W.G. Thomas

3rd St. Joseph’s College  – Bow: J.B. Hickey, 2: J.V. Phillips, 3: J.M. Taylor, 4: J.B. Jarasius, 5: I.A. Ormsby, 6: W.R. Northcott, 7: J.L. Burton, Str: S.J. Hunt, Cox: R.H. Haggerty, Cch: Rev Brother Leonard, R.N. Tinning

Second placed Shore crew

Senior 1st Four

Yaralla Cup


3 lengths

½ length

1st High – Bow: R. Clark, 2: M. Braithwaite, 3: B. Lloyd, Str: R. Jenkins, Cox: G. Guest, Cch: A. Callaway

2nd St. Joseph’s College

3rd Newington

Senior 2nd Four


2 lengths

1 length

1st Shore – Bow: R.R. Dickson, 2: R.R. Warden, 3: A.F. Vivers, Str: M.A. Minns, Cox: A.M. Whybrow, Cch: H.M. Perry

2nd St. Joseph’s College

3rd High

Senior 3rd Four




1st           High – Bow: B.E. May, 2: R.B. Hardy, 3: M.J. Curley, Str: R. Downie, Cox: B.W. Bottomley, Cch: G.C. Pilger

2nd          Newington

3rd          St. Joseph’s College

Senior 4th Four


1 length

Dead heat

1st           Shore – Bow: O.J.T. Wood, 2: M.W. Simpson, 3: D.R. Lowe, Str: T.J. Wood, Cox: R.H. Taylor, Cch: R.A. Gilfillan

2nd          St. Joseph’s College

2nd          St. Ignatius’ College

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