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History of the Tasmanian SATIS Head of the River rowing regatta

1920 SATIS Head of the River

Saturday, October 16 - Tamar River:

The 1920 Head of the River was held on the Home Reach Course on Tamar River, Launceston. The course was 1 mile, 100 yards long. Only 5 crews entered in the 1920 regatta:

-    Friends’ High School,

-    Hutchins School,

-    Launceston Church Grammar School,

-    Scotch College, and

-    St. Patrick’s College

A moderate breeze was present during the race making the water “slightly choppy”. The race was marred by an accident from the Scotch College crew, where they collided between “two piles forming a mooring”  and were subsequently unable to finish the race. Nonetheless, Launceston Church Grammar again proved dominant winning the race and the Golden Fleece Cup by 5 lengths over Hutchins School. In the first 5 years of the Head of the River, Launceston Church Grammar have won the event 4 times.


The following is an account from The Examiner’s “School Boat Race”:

"At approximately twenty past 4...The gun was fired, and the paddles of all the boats struck the water in perfect unison, the Grammar crew, if any, securing the best start. The water was slightly choppy, but not so much as to hamper the efforts of the rowers to any serious extent, although the lighter crews, the St. Patrick's (averaging 9st. 1.5lb.), the Hutchins (averaging 10st. 2 lb.), and Friends' High (averaging 10st. 5.25lb.) must have been slightly handicapped. The Grammar crew was maintaining an average of about 30 strokes to the minute, while the St. Patrick's crew was making a much faster stroke, the other crews remaining between them in this particular. As the race proceeded the strokes gradually became slower and more laboured, but the headway did not seem to diminish. The steering of the Scotch crew's boat left much to be desired, and It appeared from the umpire's launch, the Orient, that this crew actually crossed the bows of Hutchins, although the umpire (Mr. J. Deane) was satisfied no foul had taken place. The erratic course of the Scotch boat eventually came to a startlingly sudden end, as the nose of tile craft (the Scotia) clove between two piles forming a mooring for vessels turning 4 at the wharf. The prow protruded about six inches on the other side of the crack and remained wedged. The lads' chagrin can well be appreciated and showed plainly in their faces as the crews who were then in their wakesped past. Meanwhile the Grammar crew, who had only just commenced to increase its lead of about half a length, found itself in a very favourable position, with several lengths between it and the other three crews. However, the Hutchins' crew was steadily gaining, and the issue of the race might very reasonably have been regarded then as in doubt had it not been for the accident, since the Scotch Collegians, by dint of reserving their stamina for the final rush, at that stage would have had an excellent fighting chance of victory, An object of admiration on the part of the onlookers was the splendid form displayed from this point to the winning post by the St. Patrick's crew, which was the lightest and apparently least matched with the others, spurted ahead from fourth place, and passed the Friends’ High, considerably shortening the distance from the Grammar boat. These lads did some brilliant rowing, but the leeway was too great to be picked up in the space available. An exciting battle ensued for third place, but the Southern crew had apparently "done its dash." Grammar eventually crossed the line, wining from the Hutchins crew by five lengths, with three lengths separating St. Patrick’s from the latter. Friends' High came in two lengths away, having rowed a good fourth…A motor launch picked up the Scotch College crew, and the Scotia was restored to the rowing shed, being minus the extreme bow portion…”

Organising Committee: 

Tasmanian Rowing Association


Starter: Mr. C. Croft

Umpire: Mr. J. Deane

Judge: Mr. G. Cragg

Secretary: Mr. L. F. McIntyre

First Four

Golden Fleece Cup

1 mile, 100 yards

Time: 6 min 00 sec

Margins: 5, 3, 2 lengths


1st Launceston Church Grammar School – Bow: R. Franks, 2: B. A. Moore, 3: H. M. Wigan, Str:  D.W. Armitage, Cox: J.H. Doolan, Coach: A. Brewer

2nd Hutchins School – Bow: A. Macdougall, 2: M. Crouch, 3: C. Gibson Str: R. Mulligan, Cox: M. Clemons, Coach: J. Swift

3rd St. Patrick’s College – Bow: C. Wilton, 2: R. O’Byrne, 3: J. Stewart, Str: P. Lathey, Cox: V. de Dassel, Coach: C. Munro

4th Friends’ High School – Bow: P. Ockendon, 2: D. Wardlaw, 3: R. Clark, Str: F. Lamprill, Cox: G. Lewis, Coach: A. Pitt

5th Scotch College – Bow: S. Hardman, 2: F. F. Ford, 3: F. Bushman, Str: E.M. Hardman, Cox: N. I. Boyes, Coach: C. Coogan


Schools’ Boat Race. (1920, 18 October), Examiner (Launceston, Tas.: 1900 – 1954), p. 4, Retrieved 1 May 2020, from

Hutchins School Magazine, December 1920.

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