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History of AAGPS Head of the River Rowing Regatta

1976 NSW AAGPS Head of the River

Coach’s Midas Touch Holds (Phillip Christensen, Sydney Morning Herald, 04 Apr 1976)

Newington kept intact the fine record of coach Michael Morgan when they won their first GPS Head of the River since 1966 on the Nepean River yesterday.

The Newington eight won in the fast time of 7m 43s, three seconds outside the record, beating St. Ignatius and The Kings School. For Morgan, 29, the Montreal Olympic coach and member of Newington’s premier 1953 crew, the win was his fourth significant success of the season.

Morgan coached yesterday’s winning crew to the Australian schoolboys champion eight title three weeks ago. He also had charge of the winning Champion Eight of NSW and the successful NSW crew which won the Kings Cup.

“The race went according to our planned tactics – spot on,” said Morgan, one the youngest coaches of a champion Head of the River crew. “It may have appeared deceptive, but I think our crew was in charge all the way over the last mile.

“We stayed there while some of the others came and went.” Scots led in the early stages of the mile and a half course – the longest rowed in world competition – but they had Newington never more than a canvas astern.

Newington stroked confidently to the lead before the middle stages and King and St. Joseph’s then joined Scots as contenders. But Newington remained the fresher with their lower stroke rate and they crossed a length and a half ahead of St. Ignatius’, who burst into activity over the final quarter mile.

Morgan worked two nights a week with the Newington crew. The assistance of Allan Farrar and Morgan’s coaching showed in the crew’s maturity to lead to almost the entire distance with a low stroke rate of 32-34. 

“Now if I can just keep this Midas tough until Montreal” Morgan said. Bravest performance came from St. Ignatius, coached by Father John Ramsay.


Senior 1st Eight

Major Rennie Trophy


1 ½ lengths

½ length

1st Newington – Bow: R. James, 2: G. Hunt, 3: R. Todd, 4: D. Wiadrowski, 5: C. Ollverira, 6: W. Forrest, 7: P. Glenhill, Str: A. Blessington, Cox: R. Gillett, Cch: Michael D Morgan

2nd St. Ignatius’ College

3rd The King’s School

4th Scots

Senior 2nd Eight


¾ length

½ length

1st St. Ignatius’ College – Bow: J. Fegan, 2: M. Tait, 3: P. Sykes, 4: J. Johnson, 5: G. Liggins, 6: G. Fitzgerald, 7: E. Dillon, Str; M. Roarty, Cox: R. Gardiner

2nd St. Joseph’s College

3rd The King’s School

4th Newington

Senior 1st Four

Yaralla Cup


3 lengths

½ length

1st High – Bow: A. Bowey, 2: D. Dickson, 3: D. Vleira, Str: C. McMorrow, Cox: M. Vangeltos

2nd The King’s School

3rd Scots College

4th Shore

Senior 2nd Four


1 ½ lengths

½ length

1st The King’s School – Bow: W. Colless, 2: W. Hobson, 3: C. North, Str: S. Harrington, Cox: A. Albert

2nd Shore

3rd Newington

4th Grammar

Senior 3rd Four


4 ¾ lengths

¾ length

1st           Shore – Bow: P. Kessell, 2: R. Purnell, 3: T. Gillesple, Str: C. Weston, Cox: S. Lambert

2nd          Grammar

3rd          St. Joseph’s College

4th          High

Senior 4th Four


½ length

2 ½ lengths

1st           St. Joseph’s College – Bow: N. McTaggart, 2: S. O’Halloran, 3: B. Flennery, Str: P. Dodd, Cox: S. O’Grady

2nd          Grammar

3rd          The King’s School

4th          Scots College

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