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History of the Tasmanian SATIS Head of the River rowing regatta

1929 SATIS Head of the River

Saturday, May 4 - Derwent River:

The 1929 regatta was raced on the Derwent River over a mile. It started at Government House Point and ran through the Hobart Regatta course. Five crews entered the 1929 regatta:

-    Clemes College,

-    Friends’ High School,

-    Hutchins School,

-    Launceston Church Grammar School, and

-    Scotch College

A strong tailwind was present which, despite making the water choppy, proved for fast racing. The Mercury reported that a crowd of “several thousand” gathered on the Domain to watch the race.  Despite Hutchins and Launceston Church Grammar dominating this race for the last decade, it was Clemes College who won the Golden Fleece Cup. This was Clemes’ first win since the inaugural race of 1916. Clemes won the race in emphatic style, winning by two-and-a-half lengths over Launceston Church Grammar. 

Clemes College (far right) at the finish of the 1929 Head of the River (Source: The Mercury, 6 May 1929)

Clemes College (far right) at the finish of the 1929 Head of the River (Source: The Mercury, 6 May 1929)


Below is an excerpt from The Examiner of Clemes College’s drought breaking win:

“The crews looked an even lot as they lined up at the start. Friends’, who were the heaviest combination, drew the outside position, and were nearest the starter. Clemes crew was in the next position, with Grammar in No.3, Hutchins in four and Scotch College nearest the Domain shore. The stream was fairly strong, and a little delay was occasioned at the start. On the gun, Friends were first to hit the water and when the crews had settled down they and Clemes College appeared to have got the better of the start, being slightly in the lead. Of the others, Grammar seemed to be doing best, and were putting in some finished work. Soon after the start Clemes got very close to Friends, and bored them oved slightly. These two crews rowed neck and neck for a considerable distance, with Grammar rowing well in the centre. Clemes had established a slight lead going past the whalers, and were rowing beautifully. Their stroke was, if anything, quicker than that of the Grammar crew, which had drawn up to Friends. Scotch seemed to be tiring, and were now apparently out of the race. Hutchins were sticking to it gamely. Rowing an improved stoke, they followed Grammar, and drew level with Friends High, which crew was losing ground. Nearing the finish Clemes College gradually increased their lead, and in impressive style won an extremely interesting race by two and a half lengths. The Grammar crew put in a great finish, and came home very strongly. They finished two lengths ahead of Hutchins. About the same distance separated this crew and Friends, while' Scotch College were some way further back… Taking the general conditions into account, the time of 5 min. 54 4-5 secs., established for the course, was very satisfactory.”

Organising Committee:

Tasmanian Rowing Association


Starter: Mr. J. Murray

Umpire: Colonel J. E. C. Lord

Judges: Mr. E. Sorell & A. A. Pitt

First Four

Golden Fleece Cup

1 mile

Time: 5 min 54 sec

Margin: 2½, 2, 2 lengths

1st Clemes College – Bow: Aris Palfreyan, 2: R. Turvey, 3: A. Long, Str: Aldie Palfreyman, Cox: D. Palfreyman

2nd Launceston Church Grammar School – Bow: R. Sadler, 2: J. Piercey, 3: G. Taylor, Str: G. C. W. Green, Cox: M. Harris

3rd Hutchins School – Bow: D. J. Burbury, 2: E. R. Clive, 3: B. Hood, Str: F. A. Warner, Cox: J. T. Stops

4th Friends’ High School – Bow: T. Martin, 2: A. Watchorn, 3: J. Rowland, Str: W. Wells, Cox: J. Mitty

5th Scotch College –  Bow: B. May, 2: V. Tandy, 3: G. Wardlaw, Str: J. Hood, Cox: A. Briggs


FINISH OF SECONDARY SCHOOLS' HEAD-OF-THE-RIVER RACE. (1929, 6 May), The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.: 1860 – 1954), p. 10, Retrieved 8 May 2020, from

HEAD OF THE RIVER. (1929, 6 May), Examiner (Launceston, Tas.: 1900 – 1954), p. 4, Retrieved 8 May 2020, from

Hutchins School Magazine, June 1929

ROWING Head of River Race. (1929, 6 May), The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.: 1860 – 1954), p. 10, Retrieved 8 May 2020, from

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