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History of the Tasmanian SATIS Head of the River rowing regatta

1917 SATIS Head of the River

Sunday, March 31

The second “Head of the River” race was rowed over the “Home Reach” course. This was a one-mile race on the Tamar River. The conditions were ideal for racing, with the crews assisted by a flowing tide and favourable wind. 5 crews entered the 1917 regatta, with St. Virgil's not contesting this year: 

-    Friends’ High School,

-    Hutchins School,

-    Launceston Church Grammar School,

-    Leslie House School, and

-    Scotch College

Public interest had risen in the second year of the regatta. Launceston Grammar and Hutchins School were the early leaders in the race. However, around a quarter of the way through, the Hutchins crew had an internal mishap which dropped them back into fourth place. Launceston Grammar won the race by 5 lengths over second place, The Friends’ School.


A detailed account of the race is below from the Launceston correspondent of The Mercury:

"It was an interesting race to watch. Closest to the starter, Grammar and Hutchins got a slight advantage, from the fact that the sound of the gun reached them first, and the nip, vigour, and uniformity of their work from the very beginning jumped their boats into the lead. One has rarely seen in schoolboy crews such a splendid control...They hit the water beautifully clean, and with a vim that was delightful to watch. The light and certainly attractive Scotch College crew were little removed in point of clean and effective work, but the two Southern crews under the eastern shore appeared sluggish in comparison, and a one immediately formed the impression that the lads from the outset felt the disadvantage of the heavier water outside the influence of the morning tide. The crews early settled down to the serious work of the long journey. Grammar and Hutchins soon established a lead, and were tramping along in great style, and on practically even terms when a mishap occurred in the Hutchins' boat, which certainly robbed the race of a good deal of interest...Perhaps a quarter of the distance had been traversed and the two crews were racing side by side when the Hutchins lads stopped rowing. It was not clear at the moment what had occurred, but it subsequently transpired that the slide at No.3 seat had left the runners, throwing the work in the boat, of course, completely out of gear. The trouble was not rectified until the crew's position, from the point of view of success, was altogether hopeless, but the lads pluckily set after their opponents, and at one stage appeared likely to attain to second honours, but the effort was too great, and they gradually dropped back and finished in fourth place... Always good, the form in the Grammar boat, relieved of the pressure of the determined competition from Hutchins, improved to a splendidly even, steady swing, mid uniformity of movement, which spoke success. So far ahead were the Grammar lads that, racing along past the new wharves, they crossed almost completely over, which, while technically a breach. exercised not the slightest influence on the result. With Grammar clear ahead, interest attached to the struggle amongst the other crews, out of which Friends' High emerged successful. Grammar won very decisively by five lengths, with Friends' High two lengths ahead of Leslie House who finished a length in front of Hutchins, with Scotch College a quarter of a length further back. The time for the mile was 5min 50sec."

First Four

1½ miles

Time: 5 min 50 sec

Margins: 5, 2, 1, 1/4 lengths

1st Launceston Church Grammar School – Bow: T. D. Franks, 2: F. H. Jackson, 3: R. J. Holyman, Str: C. F. Deauo, Cox: C. Fowler

2nd Friends’ High School – Bow: N. Cooper, 2. G. Peacock, 3: C. Kellaway, Str: A. Kerr, Cox: T. Lord

3rd Leslie House School – Bow: G. Boyes, 2: C. Wigan, 3: L. Geeves, Str: W. Hindlay, Cox: E. Montgomery

4th Hutchins School – Bow: A. Crouch, 2: S. Hammond, 3: W. Allison, Str: N. Hay, Cox: P. Upcher

5th Scotch College – Bow: A. Beattie, 2: H. Brown, 3: M. Campbell, Str: C. Gardener, Cox: M. Clemons


AQUATICS. (1917, April 2), The Mercury (Hobart, Tas: 1860 – 1954) p. 8, Retrieved April 28, 2020, from

Hutchins School Magazine, March 1917.

The Mercury via Hutchins School Magazine, March 1917.

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