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History of the Tasmanian SATIS Head of the River rowing regatta

1919 SATIS Head of the River

Saturday, May 3 - Derwent River

The 1919 Head of the River saw great developments in the regatta. The 1919 race hosted seven crews for the first time, with the introduction of St. Patrick’s College. In addition, “The Golden Fleece Cup” was presented to the Tasmanian Secondary Schools Sports Association by Captain Alan Brown D.F.C. of Launceston. The Cup was presented to the winner of the annual ‘Head of the River’ race from 1919, and was to become the property of the school who won the race three years in succession. 

The 1919 Head of the River was raced on the Derwent River for the second year in a row. The course was 1 and ⅛ mile from Government House Point to the Naval Jetty.  With the addition of the St. Patrick’s College, the crews that raced were:

-    Friends’ High School,

-    Hutchins School,

-    Launceston Church Grammar School,

-    Leslie House School,

-    Scotch College,

-    St. Patrick’s College, and

-    St. Virgil’s College

The conditions were smooth for the crews with Launceston Church Grammar entering the race as favourites and Hutchins School being second-favourites. This is ultimately how the race ended, with Launceston Church Grammar retaining the title by three lengths and St. Patrick’s College finishing 6th in their debut. They also were recipients of the inaugural Golden Fleece Cup.


Below is an excerpt from The Mercury of the 1919 race:

“The seven crews took up their positions in order from the western bank indicated above, but considerable time was lost before a start was effected owing to orders from the starter not being carried out, and as it was, though the seven boats were in a line when the whistle was sounded, the outside boats were several lengths in front of the flag. The Scotch College four made a good start and with a tremendous spurt, going at 36 to the minute, they took the lead for a few lengths, but the Church Grammar School and Hutchins School soon drew level. All the crews were striking quickly, and kept at it well. Church Grammar School, who were rowing splendidly, were the first to adopt a slower stroke. At Government House Point Grammar School were leading, with Hutchins School and Scotch College rowing neck and neck for second position. The other four crews were battling along in a bunch, and, fearing a foul, the umpire issued instructions which were at once obeyed, and the crews spreading and keeping it good distance apart for the rest of the course. At this stage No.2 of Friends' High School slipped off his sliding seat, and his crew thus lost several lengths. The leading crews were still striking solidly when passing the Powder Jetty. Here Grammar School's boat had secured such a lead as made it unlikely that it would be overtaken, and Scotch and Hutchins continued their game struggle for second position. Of the remaining crews St Virgil's were slightly ahead, with St Patrick's and Leslie House next, and Friends' last. From the Powder Jetty to the Baths Grammar School, rowing in excellent style, increased their lead, and made the win certain while Hutchins and Scotch made the race for second place. The other four crews began to feel the result of their efforts and failed to finish their strokes. Friends' were battling along in the rear, but were unable to make good the lost ground, but St. Patrick's, St. Virgil's and Leslie House were doing their utmost to decrease the gap. The Church Grammar School finished in splendid style, and rowing in fine form several lengths ahead. Hutchins being a length ahead of Scotch who rowed a really plucky race from start to finish. St. Virgil's were fourth, Leslie House fifth, St. Patrick's sixth and Friends last…the coxswains are to be congratulated on the courses they steered throughout the race.”

Organising Committee: 

Tasmanian Rowing Association


Starter: Mr. E. C. Watchorn

Umpire: Mr. G. V. R. Ife

Judge: Mr. J. Sharp

Secretary: Mr. Palmer

First Four

The Golden Fleece Cup

1⅛ mile

Time: 5 min 30 sec

Margins: 3, 1 lengths

1st Launceston Church Grammar School – Bow: Armitage, 2: Loane, 3: Viney, Str: R. J. Holyman, Cox: C. Fowler, Coach: Mr. F. Brewer

2nd Hutchins School – Bow: McCreary, 2: M. Crouch, 3: D. Crouch Str: Crisp Cox: M. Clemons, Coach: Mr. E. G. Pope

3rd Scotch College – Bow: Muirhead, 2: S. Hardman, 3: Lee, Str: E. Hardman, Cox: Fulton, Coach: Mr. C. Coogan

4th St. Virgil’s College – Bow: R. Johnston, 2: Brown, 3: Hiscutt, Str: F. Sinclair, Cox: P. Lering, Coach: Mr. A. Thomas

5th Leslie House School – Bow: Gardner, 2: Brownell, 3: Wallis, Str: Hay, Cox: D. Weatherhead, Coach: Mr. T. Rule

6th St. Patrick’s College – Bow: Wildon, 2: Lathey, 3: Farmer, Str: Rubeach, Cox: Doolan, Coach: Mr. C. Monroe

7th The Friends’ School – Bow: Lamprill, 2: Clark, 3: Sprott, Str: V. Gibson, Cox: T. Lord, Coach: Mr. D. Westbrook


HEAD OF THE RIVER. (1919, 5 May), Advocate (Burnie, Tas.: 1890 – 1954), p. 3, Retrieved 1 May 2020, from

Hutchins School Magazine, Midwinter 1919.

ROWING. (1919, 6 May), The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.: 1860 – 1954) p. 8, Retrieved 1 May, 2020, from

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