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History of the South Australian Schools Head of the River rowing regatta

1939 South Australian Schools' Head of the River

Saturday, 22 April – Torrens Lake:

The 1939 edition of the SA Head of the River featured the following events on the Torrens Lake:

- First Eight

- Clinker Fours (Seconds)

- Open Tub Fours (Slides)

- Under 16 Tub Fours (Slides)

- Under 15 Tub Fours (Slides)

According to The Advertiser, a record crowd of approximately 12,000 people lined the banks of the Torrens in perfect conditions. Scotch College won the First Eight for the first time since 1930, and their first ever Gosse Shield. Scotch College also won the Under 15 Tub Four. St. Peter's won the Wallman Trophy for Second Fours and Open Tub Slides, whilst Prince Alfred College won the Under 16 Tub Four.


First Eight

The Mail wrote of Scotch's breakthrough victory in 1939, denying Prince Alfred College's chance of securing three wins-in-a-row:

"Both the crews got away to a good start, hopping right into their work from the gun, and it was soon apparent that a good race would result. Princes were slightly ragged, but rowed with plenty of punch, while Scotch were lifting their boat through the water with clean-cut strokes. Scotch soon gained a slight lead from their opponents, and going under the Morphett Street Bridge they had a lead of three-quarters of a length. Prince Alfred's were settling down to their work better, but could not make an impression on the leaders. Nearing Long's Point, Princes put on a great burst of rowing and gained slightly on Scotch. However, Scotch responded valiantly 'and crossed the line a bare length ahead of Princes."

Winners of the 1939 SA Head of the River – Scotch College
(Source: The Advertiser, 24 April 1939) 

Organising Committee:

South Australian Rowing Association



First Eight

Gosse Shield

½ mile

Time: 3 min 2 1/5 sec

Margin: 1 length

1st Scotch College – Bow: R. P. Turner, 2: M. L. Davis, 3: T. K. Thurgood, 4: R. S. Pearce, 5: G. I. Murrie, 6: W. E. Butcher, 7: J. T. Fearn, Stroke: F. E. Trembath, Cox: E. L. Marshall

2nd Prince Alfred College – Bow: D. J. Guppy, 2: R. D. G. Reed, 3: P. F. Edwards, 4: J. N. Close, 5: J. C. Whitehouse, 6: J. P. Lavis, 7: F. H. Voss, Stroke: P. G. Sullivan, Cox: D. N. Kirkman

(Knocked out in heat by Scotch College): 

St. Peter's College – Bow: M. D. Bridgeland, 2: T. L. Lewes, 3: G. Millhouse, 4: C. A. L. Abbott, 5: D. F. Cornell, 6: G. F. Hewitson, 7: J. M. Nicholls, Stroke: W. J. Menz, Cox: H. N. Sprod

(Knocked out in heat by Prince Alfred College): 

Adelaide High School – Bow: J. A. Hill, 2: T. J. Scattergood, 3: V. Howat, 4: J. T. Young, 5: M. C. McLean, 6: B. C. Oliver, 7: K. L. Kermode, Stroke: R. G. Blake, Cox: R. Wellington

Clinker Four (Seconds)

Wallman Trophy

½ mile

Time: 3 min 36 sec

Margin: 4 lengths

1st St. Peter’s College – Bow: C. G. Riley, 2: J. A. Conrick, 3: P. W. Jeffries, Stroke: M. H. Yeatman, Cox: P. V. Monk

2nd Adelaide High School 

Open Tub Four (Slides)

¼ mile

Time: 1 min 16 3/5 sec

Margin: ½ length

1st St. Peter’s College – Bow: M. R. Clarke, 2: A. A. Dey, 3: P. G. Gilbert, Stroke: R. B. Giles, Cox: D. F. Pearce

2nd Adelaide High School – Bow: G. F. Kienner, 2: D. K. Caust, 3: A. J. Bode, Stroke: G. Coad, Cox: E. Palliaer

(Knocked out in heat by St. Peter’s College):

Scotch College –

(Knocked out in heat by Adelaide High School):

Prince Alfred College –

Under 16 Tub Four (Slides)

¼ mile

Time: 1 min 12 sec

Margin: 1¼ lengths

1st Prince Alfred College – Bow: G. S. Wilson, 2: R. E. Gryst, 3: R. R. Barlow, Stroke: P. M. Cotton, Cox: D. Buttery

2nd Adelaide High School – Bow: A. B. Holliday, 2: T. Raggatt, 3: R. E. Lewis, Stroke: R. S. Gillen, Cox: W. F. Burnard

(Knocked out in heat by Prince Alfred College):

Scotch College –

(Knocked out in heat by Adelaide High School):

St. Peter’s College –

Under 15 Tub Four (Slides)

¼ mile

Time: 1 min 15 3/5 sec

Margin: 1½ lengths

1st Scotch College – Bow: K. J. Cook, 2: D. M. Correll, 3: D. B. McPhail, Stroke: J. J. M. Retallick, Cox: D. B. Marshall

2nd Adelaide High School – Bow: R. K. Blackett, 2: L. W. Winter, 3: R. K. Mathews, Stroke: D. B. Irving, Cox: W. Nerlich

(Knocked out in heat by Scotch College):

Prince Alfred College

(Knocked out in heat by Adelaide High School):

St. Peter's College –


Head-of-River to Scotch (1939, 22 April), The Mail (Adelaide, SA: 1912 – 1954), p. 16, Retrieved August 9 2023, from

SCOTCH WINS HEAD-OF-THE-RIVER (1939, 24 April), The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA: 1931 – 1954), p. 11, Retrieved August 9 2023, from

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