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History of the Tasmanian SATIS Head of the River rowing regatta

1922 SATIS Head of the River

Saturday, May 6 - Tamar River:

The 1922 Head of the River was held on the Tamar River. The course was one mile from “the Red Pile near Tea Tree Bend to a buoy of Town Point”. However, the standard of the 1922 regatta was reduced because only three crews raced, who were all local, northern schools.  The main reason for this was because of the change of date of the regatta from the previous couple of years (from October to May). One of the southern schools, Hutchins, described the Head of the River arrangements as “disorganised, owing to a series of misunderstandings”. Consequently, only three crews were vying for the Golden Fleece Cup in 1922:

-    Launceston Church Grammar School,

-    Scotch College, and

-    St. Patrick’s College

Given the reduction in the number of crews, the standard was lower than previous regattas.  The Examiner, however, noted that this resulted in the crews being more evenly matched.  This was certainly the case early on in the race, with St. Patrick’s “vigorously disputing” the lead with Launceston Church Grammar.  However, by Town Point, Launceston Church Grammar won by 2 lengths. A second Golden Fleece Cup was donated this year, because Launceston Church Grammar owned the first cup through their three straight victories between 1919 and 1921.


The Examiner writes in detail of the 1922 race for the Golden Fleece Cup:

“The course was from the Red Pile near Tea Tree Bend to a buoy off Town Point, a distance of about a mile. When the crews paddled down to the start, to the accompaniment of cheers from their various schoolboy supporters—there being a large concourse on King's Wharf and ether places of vantage—the water was very smooth, although there was a wind blowing up the river. When lined up by the starter (Mr. C. G. Croft), St Patrick's was on the Trevallyn side of the river, Scotch College in the centre, and Grammar had the eastern side course. It was an excellent despatch, and St. Patrick's moved away smartly, but when a short distance had been covered the three crews were rowing abreast. When half the Journey had been covered Scotch College had dropped back half-a-length behind the other two boats, who wore still racing on even terms. Grammar then commenced to forge ahead from St. Patrick's. Approaching King's Wharf the Grammar School boat held a length's advantage from St. Patrick's, who had lost their combination. Grammar went on to win easily, crossing the line a couple of lengths in front of Scotch College, with St. Patrick's half-a-length away.”

Organising Committee: 

Tasmanian Rowing Association


Starter: Mr. C. G. Croft

Umpire: Mr. J. Coogan

Judge: Mr. J. F. Deane

Secretary: Mr. L. T. McIntyre


Despite the Southern schools of Tasmania not contesting for the Golden Fleece Cup, a race was held between Leslie House and Hutchins School a month later on the Derwent River.  Given the race was organised on such short time, the race was not taken as seriously.  This also meant it was marred with controversy. 

On Saturday June 10, Leslie House won “easily by three lengths”, but, were disqualified for finishing outside the flag/post.  This therefore handed the victory to Hutchins School. 

The decision to disqualify Leslie House was not received well with everyone, as evident in this scathing review from a writer of The Mercury: 

"Aquatic" writes: – "I cannot follow the judge's decision in the school race on Saturday. Leslie House proved the better crew. One can understand a decision ruling a crew out if it was rowed by professionals, or we will say an amateur crew at a regatta, but not a schoolboys' race. Common sense would say that both rowed the race keeping their own water, and that while it was regrettable that the coxswain kept outside the flag the leading boat should get the prize. One of the judges states that he explained to the crews the necessity of keeping inside the flag. It would be interesting to the public to know what the leading crew has to say on this statement. Personally, if I were asked by the Hutchins School what position to take up I would strongly advise them to decline the judge's ruling in the interests of the sport.

According to the Hutchins School, they offered a re-row, to which Leslie accepted with “alacrity”.  Hutchins report that the re-row was a slower race, but was won by Leslie House. 

First Four

Golden Fleece Cup

1 mile

No Time Taken

Margins: 2, ½ lengths

1st Launceston Church Grammar School – Bow: K. Fawkner, 2: C. Ingram, 3: D. von Bibra, Str: H. Ling, Cox: P. Taylor, Coach: A. Brewer

2nd Scotch College – Bow: T. Brownrigg, 2: T. Dowling, 3: D. Hardy Str: B. Law, Cox: J. Barber, Coach: C. Coogan

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


AQUATICS. (1922, 12 June), Daily Telegraph (Launceston, Tas.: 1883 – 1928), p. 8, Retrieved 5 May 2020, from

AQUATICS. (1922, 13 June), The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.: 1860 – 1954), p. 2, Retrieved 5 May 2020, from

Head of the River Secondary Schools Contest. (1922, 8 May), Examiner (Launceston, Tas.: 1900 – 1954), p. 4, Retrieved 5 May 2020, from

Hutchins School Magazine, December 1922

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