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History of the Queensland GPS Head of the River rowing regatta

1933 QLD GPS Head of the River

The 12th Head of the River was conducted on Saturday 6th May 1933 on the Milton Reach of the Brisbane River. 

Coinciding with the King's Cup Regatta in Brisbane, a "more than usual crowd of enthusiastic partisans gathered at the knoll to witnessed what [promised] to be stirring finishes." (Page 19, The Brisbane Courier, Saturday 6 May 1933). A reporter from the Telegraph regarded that the river was a "brilliant spectacle. Every vantage point was seized."

Both races ran over a course of three-quarter miles between the Davis Park Jetty and a position opposite Morrow's factory.

The five competing crews would line up in the following order from the north bank in the championship race:                           

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

And in the Seconds Race:

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

The O’Connor Cup was presented to the Southern winning crew immediately after the race at the Commercial Rowing Shed by the president of the Secondary Schools Rowing Association, Mr. R. A. Kerr.

W. N. Douglas received the cup for Southport.


Organising Committee:

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


Starter: Mr. A. Clarke;

Judge: Mr. J. McPhee; 

Umpires: Mr. V. Sturgess.

All Schools' Championship Four

The O'Connor Cup

Distance: 0.75 Mile

Winning Time: 4:02.00


4 Lengths (1-2)

1 Foot  (2-3)

1 Foot (3-4)

1st The Southport School - Bow: G. A. Manson 10st 12lbs, 2: A. P. Austin 12st 9lbs, 3: D. I. Goddard 11st 12lb, Str: W. N. Douglas 12st 9lbs, Cox: A.D. Mylne 7st Colours: maroon with blue and white facings

2nd Brisbane Boys’ College - Bow: E. G. Ferguson 10st 4lbs, 2: K. R, Mullen 10st 8lbs, 3: J. E. White 10st 10lbs, Str: J. W. Massey 10st 11lbs, Cox: N. H. Shaw 8st Colours: black singlet with green and white 

3rd Church of England Grammar School - Bow: A. R. Aston 10st 6lbs , 2: D. C. Crombie 9st 12lbs, 3: J. B. Craig 10st 8lbs, Str: D. C. Williams 10st 13lbs, Cox: W. R. Pechey 7st 3lbsColours: blue and grey 

4th Brisbane State High School - Bow: D. Vincent 10st 4lbs, 2: C. R. Gallwey 10st, 3: J. F. James 10st 10lbs, Str: T. Livingstone Colours maroon and blue on white singlet 

5th Brisbane Grammar School - Bow: J. Wainwright 11st 1lbs, 2: J. K. Pack 10st 4lbs, 3: D. F. Young 11st 10lbs, Str: D. J. Barbour 10st 2lbs, Cox: H. G. Oates 7st 9lbs, Colours: light blue 

1933 Church of England Grammar School First VIII

The Race Described

The five crews moved into line in smooth water on a late ebb tide and no one crew had any worthwhile advantage over the others. Southport got away very early and the other four crews moved off in a line. Southport were a good half length ahead in the first fifty yards. At no time was this distance decreased and rowing with a good steady stroke with plenty of leg drive ad clearing well this crew completely outclassed their opponents to win by a good four lengths.

The fight for the minor placings, however, was a much sterner struggle, B.B.C., C.E.G.S. and Grammars rating fairly highly but not displaying anything like the same combination as was apparent in the winning crew, kept well together over the first half-mile with the last year’s winners, State High, three or four feet away last.

From then on, first one crew and then another would gain the advantage. The crews responded well over the final 100 yards, and B.B.C. gained the decision of second place by one foot with a similar distance between third and fourth.”

Page 3, The Telegraph, Saturday 6 May 1933 Edition

Southport jumped to the front at a rating of 48 to the minute and were a length in front in 100 yards. At the Milton Ferry they were rowing 39 to the minute and were a length and a half ahead of Boys’ College and Church of England Grammar who were fighting for second place.

Southport rowed in beautiful form, and without letting up at any part of the race gained the verdict by four lengths. Boys’ College and State High School spurted for the line, the former getting second by half a length. Church of England Grammar were fourth and Brisbane Grammar fifth.”

Page 1, South Coast Bulletin, Friday 12 May 1933 Edition

All Schools' Second Four

Distance: 0.75 Mile

Winning Time: 4:10.00


0.5 Length (1-2)

0.5 Length (2-3) 

1 Length (3-4)

1 Length (4-5)

1st The Southport School - Bow: S. B. G. Buchanan 10st 11lbs, 2: R. B. Salter 11st 1lb, 3: I. S. Mackenzie 11st 3lbs, Str: V. M. Nicholson 10st 3lbs, Cox: E. N. Faine 7st 4lbs

2nd Anglican Church Grammar School - Bow: R. G. Meldrum 10st 1lb, 2: D. L. Petrie 10st 1lb, 3: A. R. Aston 10st 6lbs, Str: D. C. Crombie, Cox: M. R. Stuart 7st

3rd Brisbane State High School - Bow: A. Herchal 9st 8lbs, 2: F. W. Carter 10st 7lbs, 3: C. Smith 11st 7lbs, Str: R. Dennis 8st 13lbs, Cox: D. Morgan

4th Brisbane Boys’ College - Bow: V. B. Arrowsmith 9st 8lbs, 2: G. L. Wilson 10st 7lbs, 3: D. H. Walker 10st 2lbs, Str: N. J. Wright 10st 2lbs, Cox: A. G. Rooney 7st Colours: Black singlet with Green and White

5th Brisbane Grammar School - Bow: K. R. Hinckley 9st 9lbs, 2: L. F. Juhas, 3: J. W. Barbat 10st 8lbs, Str: A. R. Henchman 10st 5lbs, Cox: A. M. Fox 7st 1lb 

Brisbane Boys' College First and Second Crews 

The Race Described

“Unfortunately, there seemed to be some misunderstanding between the officials at the commencement of the races, and the starter arrived just in time to see the second crews returning from a false start. The coaches, having evidently given up all hope of the official starter turning up, had got the crews away, but it was not a satisfactory start and they were called back.”

Page 3, The Telegraph, Saturday 6 May 1933 Edition

Southport quickly assumed a lead of half a length, and at the end of 100 yards were nearly a length to the good with Church of England and State High School fighting for second position. At the Milton ferry Southport had a length and a half lead, and were rowing well together at a rating of 36.

Over the last quarter of a mile Church of England and State High made a great effort and drawing away from Brisbane Grammar and Boys’ College, lessened the gap between them and Southport who crossed the line half a length in the lead. Boys’ College being second, half a length ahead of Church of England. Brisbane Grammar and State High finished in that order at intervals of a length.”

Page 1, South Coast Bulletin, Friday 12 May 1933 Edition 


Page 6, The Brisbane Courier, Wednesday 3 May 1933 Edition via Trove

Page 19, The Brisbane Courier, Saturday 6 May 1933 Edition via Trove

Page 28, The Telegraph, Friday 5 May 1933 Edition via Trove

Page 3, The Telegraph, Saturday 6 May 1933 Edition via Trove

Page 7, Daily Standard, Friday 5 May 1933 Edition via Trove

Page 10, Sunday Mail, Sunday 7 May 1933 Edition via Trove

Page 11, The Week, Wednesday 10 May 1933 Edition via Trove

Page 1, South Coast Bulletin, Friday 12 May 1933 Edition via Trove

Page 31 & 32, The Portal, December 1933 Edition via Trove

Page 131, Churchie Rowing by Peter Jell, Published by Anglican Church Grammar School

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