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History of the Tasmanian SATIS Head of the River rowing regatta

1921 SATIS Head of the River

Saturday, October 22 - Derwent River:

The 1921 Head of the River was held on the Derwent River on the one-mile long Government House course. The 6 crews contending for the championship race were:

-    Hutchins School,

-    Launceston Church Grammar School,

-    Leslie House,

-    Scotch College,

-    St. Patrick’s College, and

-    St. Virgil’s College

With rowing “growing in popularity”, a large number of supporters from schools both North and South of Tasmania watched from the shores. There was also a fleet of boats following the race providing support the entire race. With only a light south-westerly breeze, the conditions were ideal for racing.  Launceston Church Grammar won the Head of the River for the fifth year in succession. More importantly, given it was Launceston Church Grammar’s third year in a row winning the Golden Fleece Cup (introduced in 1919), the trophy was now their property.  Launceston Church Grammar were ahead and clear early but Hutchins closed the gap to just half-a-length by the finish. St. Patrick’s were a further length-and-a-half in third.


The following is an excerpt of the regatta from The Mercury via the Hutchins School’s magazine:

“Rowing is growing in popularity, so that when the biggest schools in Tasmania met on Saturday to decide the championship over the mile course, from Government House Point, there were six crews out for the honour, three from the South and three from the North… These six crews all looked likely bunches, although one or two were very much on the light side. After the line up very little time elapsed before they were sent off to a good start, all at a very rapid rate of striking. Church Grammar were the first to get steady, and they led the way, with Hutchins, St. Patrick's, and Scotch. St. Virgil's began to drop behind very quickly, while Leslie House, who were a very light lot, did not look like troubling the first four. At the Mercantile Rowing Club sheds Church Grammar were still showing the way, while Hutchins, St. Patrick's, and Scotch were enjoying a keen and determined tussle for the honour of second place. They were going at it all out, with the result that these three crews drew upon the Grammar boys, who were then about a length ahead of Hutchins, who had a half-length advantage over St. Patrick's with Scotch College lying very handy. When the crews got down to the yachts the water became a little lively, but the boys showed fine watermanship, the Grammar School crew particularly doing clean and steady work. Hutchins and St; Patrick's then challenged each other, and a ding-dong burst brought them upon the Grammar School crew; who were rowing easily within themselves. The leaders were then almost on the finishing line, but the impetus of this last attempt brought Hutchins to within half a length of the Grammar School, who, amid tremendous cheering, crossed the line with that margin to spare. Hutchins had shaken St. Patrick's off, and the latter were a length and a half back in third place. Scotch were four lengths back fourth, Leslie House were still further back fifth, and St. Virgil's were outdistanced.”

Organising Committee: 

Tasmanian Rowing Association


Starter: Mr. E. Watchorn

Umpire: Mr. G. W. R. Ife

Judge: Mr. E. Sorrell

First Four

Golden Fleece Cup

1 mile

No Time Taken

Margins: ½, 1½, 4 lengths

1st Launceston Church Grammar School – Bow: H. Ling, 2: L. Hall, 3: R. Franks, Str: D. Armitage, Cox: P. Taylor, Coach: A. Brewer

2nd Hutchins School – Bow: D. Batt, 2: D. MacKay, 3: N. J. Kelleway Str: J. V. Burbury, Cox: W. Webster, Coach: J. Swift

3rd St. Patrick’s College – Bow: J. Maloney, 2: M. Green, 3: W. Hocking, Str: R. O’Byrne, Cox: D. Sheehan, Coach: C. Munro

4th Scotch College – Bow: B. Law, 2: H. Faulkner, 3: F. Bushman, Str: F. Ford, Cox: J. Barber, Coach: C. Coogan

5th Leslie House School – Bow: M. Hay, 2: R. Ford, 3: B. Chesterman, Str: H. Wilkinson, Cox: C. Palfreyman, Coaches: D. Hughes, L. Hallam 

6th St. Virgil’s College – Bow: E. J. Herbert, 2: M. Quinn, 3: K. McGann, Str: E. R. Terry, Cox: P. Tracey, Coach: C. Monks


“HEAD OF THE RIVER”. (1921, 24 October), World (Hobart, Tas.: 1918 – 1924), p. 7, Retrieved 4 May 2020, from

The Mercury via Hutchins School Magazine, December 1921.

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