Scroll To Top
History of the Queensland GPS Head of the River rowing regatta

1932 QLD GPS Head of the River

The 11th Head of the River was conducted on Saturday 7th May 1932 on the Milton Reach of the Brisbane River over a three quarter mile course starting at Davies Park and finishing opposite Morrow's factory.  

According to the Brisbane Courier (4th May 1932):

"The Secondary Schools’ Association has encountered a good deal of criticism for not holding the schools’ races in conjunction with the parent body and at a time when the public would be given a better opportunity of witnessing the event. The authorities maintain they are capable of conducting their own affairs under the Q.R.A. officials, and they they are loathe to have the boys lionised as they are in Southern cities during the rowing season. That too much publicity of a boy’s prowess is apt to act to the detriment of his moral and stabilities in matters more important than sport is the contention of most of the school authorities."

Despite the afternoon start however, hundred of barrackers assembled on river and congregated at the finish to witness a brilliant closing spectacle in the All School's Championship Four. 

“Among those present were the head masters of the following schools: Southport (Mr. B. G. Lawrence), Church of England Grammar (Rev. W. P. Morris), State High (Mr. I. Waddle), Brisbane Boys’ College (Mr. P. M. Hamilton) and Brisbane Grammar School ( Mr. S. Stephenson)." (Page 3, The Telegraph, Saturday May 7 1932)  

In a thrilling contest, Brisbane State High School claimed their fourth O'Connor Cup victory. When handing the trophy to State High, The Southport School headmaster, Mr. B. G. Lawrence remarked that whilst he was sorry that his school had come second, it was a race in which no one had disgraced themselves. In the senior race, only 1.5 lengths separated first from last position. 

The five competing crews would line up in this order from the North Bank:

First Crews: No. 1 Brisbane State High School; No. 2 Brisbane Grammar School; No. 3 Brisbane Boys’ College; No. 4 The Southport School; No. 5 Church of England Grammar School

Second Crews: No. 1 Brisbane Boys’ College, No. 2 Church of England Grammar School, No. 3 Brisbane State High School, No. 4 The Southport School, No. 5 Brisbane Grammar School


Organising Committee:

The Queensland Metropolitan Secondary Schools' Association in association with Queensland Rowing Association 


Starter: Mr. G. N. Smoothey; 

Judge: Mr. E. T. Hart; 

Umpires: Mr. G. R. H. Gill.

All Schools' Championship Four

The O'Connor Cup

Distance: 0.75 Mile

Winning Time: 4:40.00


2 Feet (1-2)

1 Length (2-3)

0.25 Lengths (3-4)

0.25 Length (4-5)

1st Brisbane State High School - Bow: L. Tate 10st 2lbs, 2: H. Shipstone 10st 2lbs, 3: A. Appleyard 11st 2lbs, Str: B. Rankin 9st 7lbs, Cox: F. Matyear

2nd Brisbane Boys’ College - Bow: E. C. Ferguson 10st 2lbs, 2: J. Massey 10st 4lbs, 3: R. Maitland 10st 9lbs, Str: C. C. Stewart 9st 13lbs, Cox: K. Moore 7st 

3rd Brisbane Grammar School - Bow: J. E. Heaslop 12st 2lbs, 2: J. Russell 10st 6lbs, 3: C. J. Monkhouse 12st 7lbs, Str: D. J. Herschel 10st 6lbs, Cox: A. R. Miles 6st 12lbs

4th The Southport School - Bow: H. E. Tweedale 11st 1lbs, 2: G. Freeman 11st 8lbs, 3: A. R. Powell 12st 2lbs, Str: J. G. Buchanan 10st 6lbs, Cox: J. C. Stephenson 7st 12lbs

5th Church of England Grammar School - Bow: J. G. Craig 10st 4lbs, 2: G. L. Rutherford 10st 10lbs, 3: A. H. C. Seddon 11st 11lbs, Str: C. O. Darvall 11st 6lbs, Cox: J. R. Offner 7st 

1932 Church of England Grammar School First VII

The Race Described

“The first crews got away a little before 12 O’Clock and State High , rowing from No. 1 port, quickly established a handy lead from Brisbane Boys’ College, with Southport and Brisbane Grammar School together next. The two last named crews were rating low and they were soon overhauled by Church of England Grammar School who had been slow to move off the mark.

Maintaining a high rating, State High forged ahead, and with half the distance covered they were more than a length clear of Brisbane Boys’ College with C.E.G.S. on the West End bank, moving smartly along in third position. Grammar School and Southport were inclined to sluggishness, and although they were clearing a long of water they were not striking high enough to keep with the leaders."

-  Page 5, The Brisbane Courier, 9 May 1932 Edition

“With only 100 yards to go, it was now anybody’s race, and a little over a length would have covered the five crews Church of England, near the southern bank, spurted and seemed to have the race in hand, then Boys’ College spurted, but almost simultaneously State High put every ounce of strength into their last burst and gained the verdict by two feet. Brisbane Boys’ College finished two feet ahead of Brisbane Grammars who were a canvas ahead of Church of England Grammar. Southport being half length away fifth. When receiving the trophy, State High’s stroke (L. Tait) said: “College gave us a great race and we were jolly lucky to win.”

-  Page 5, Daily Standard, Monday 9th May 1932 Edition

“The wildest enthusiasm prevailed amongst the large crowd of spectators who congregated near the finish and lined the banks of the river along the Milton Reach. Scores of Motor card followed the races along river-road. Barrackers vociferously competed with war-cries, as the gruelling river race finished." 

-  Page 5, Daily Standard, Monday 9th May 1932 Edition 

All Schools' Second Four

Distance: 0.75 Mile

Winning Time: 4:40.00


1 Length (1-2)

2 Feet (2-3)

2 Lengths (3-4)

2 Lengths (4-5)

1st Brisbane Grammar School - Bow: R. S. Marriott 9st 4lbs, 2: J. Asprey 10st 2lbs, 3: J. R. Groom 11st 2lbs, Str: C. A. Firth 10st 4lbs, Cox: A. G. Oates 9st 4lbs

2nd The Southport School - Bow: D. J. Goddard 11st 9lbs, 2: I. H. Stirrat 11st, 3: L. L. Holmes 12st 5lbs, Str: R. D. Heaton 9st 12lbs, Cox: H. D. Stephenson 7st

3rd Brisbane Boys’ College - Bow: M. J. Wright 9st 7lbs, 2: J. H. Boyd 11st, 3: R. W. Lalor 11st, Str: W. Arrowsmith 9st 5lbs, Cox: M. Shaw 7st

4th Brisbane State High School - Bow: H. Wood 9st 8lbs, 2: J. Christensen 9st 11lbs, 3: A. Baldwin 11st, Str: T. Morgan 9st, Cox: T. Livingstone 

5th Church of England Grammar School - Bow: C. H. Fogg 8st 10lbs, 2: D. Hamilton 9st, 3: B. C. Clapperton 10st 12lbs, Str: D. C. Williams 10st 7lbs, Cox: W. R. Peachey 7st

All Schools' Second Four The Race Described

“Brisbane Boys’ College jumped out and secured a lead of a little more than a length in less than 100 yards. Three crews were lying level for second, and Southport, who were very slow in getting away, were half a length behind. Brisbane Grammars moved out from Church of England and State High, and rapidly overhauled Boys’ College and at the Milton Ferry were a quarter of a length in the lead from Boys’ College, who were a length and a half ahead of Southport, who now settled down into a much longer stroke.

At half-way Brisbane Grammar led by half a length from Boys’ College who were half a length ahead of Southport and State High who were level. With Church of England another half length astern. Nearing the finish Brisbane Grammars led by a length and a quarter from Boys’ College and Southport the latter having made a wonderful recovery, coming up from last position.

Fifty yards from the line Southport and Boys’ College spurted, and rowing neck and neck, both crews reduced the lead between them and Brisbane Grammars, who, however, finished strong, a length a canvas ahead of Southport who were two feet ahead of Boys’ College. State High School were two lengths away fourth and Church of England Grammar were a similar distance astern.”

-  Page 5, Daily Standard, Monday 9th May 1932 Edition 


Page 6, The Telegraph Friday 6th May 1932 Edition via Trove

Page 2, The Telegraph, Friday 6th May 1932 Edition via Trove

Page 3, The Telegraph, Saturday May 7 1932 Edition via Trove

Page 10, The Telegraph, Tuesday May 10 1932 Edition via Trove

Page 5, The Telegraph, Saturday 7 May 1932 Edition via Trove

Page 68, The Portal, December 1932 Edition via Trove

Page 5, Daily Standard, Monday 9th May 1932 Edition via Trove

Page 5, The Brisbane Courier, 9 May 1932 Edition via Trove,

Page 7, The Brisbane Courier, Wednesday 4 May 1932 Edition via Trove

Page 12, the Brisbane Courier, 9 May 1932 Edition via Trove

Page 129, Churchie Rowing by Peter Jell, Published by Anglican Church Grammar School

< previous 1931

> next 1933

top of page

Website by Hope Stewart—Website Design & Management