Scroll To Top
History of the Tasmanian SATIS Head of the River rowing regatta

1931 SATIS Head of the River

Saturday, March 28 - Derwent River:

(1931 was the first year that a Second Four raced at the Tasmanian Head of the River)

First Four:

The 1931 Head of the River was raced a month earlier than previous years. It was raced on the Derwent River over a mile, starting at Government House Point.  5 crews raced the 1931 regatta, with St. Virgil’s College racing at the Head of the River for the first time since 1921:

-    Clemes College,

-    Friends’ High School,

-    Hutchins School,

-    Launceston Church Grammar School, and

-    St. Virgil’s College

The Mercury reported that the conditions were poor due to a strong current and a north-westerly wind providing choppy water. Clemes College crossed the line first to win the regatta as they did in 1929 on the Derwent. However, there was some confusion between the officials and the schools in regards to the finishing buoy. The competing schools decided that the crews could finish on either side of the buoys, but the umpires were unaware of this decision and thus there was a delay in the official result. Nonetheless, Clemes had won the Golden Fleece Cup by half-a-canvas over Friends’ High School. 

Second Four:

The 1931 Head of the River saw the introduction of a Second Crews (Junior) race. The Advocate accounted that the inaugural race was a shortened ¾ mile course and involved 3 crews: 

-    Hutchins School,

-    Launceston Church Grammar School, and

-    St. Virgil’s College

This proved to be an entertaining race, with Hutchins winning by half-a-canvas.


First Four:

A detailed report from The Mercury via Hutchins School Magazine of the First Four race is below: 

“The crews got away to an excellent start. Friends were the first to show out, followed by Clemes, Hutchins, Grammar, and St. Virgil’s in close attendance. Nearing Government House Point Clemes crossed behind Friends, taking a course well out in mid-stream in order to get the benefit of the strong current. Shortly after Clemes took the lead, and at the half mile were leading Friends by a length, with Hutchins and Grammar almost together a couple of lengths further back, and St. Virgil's another length away last. Clemes continued on their course well on the angle, but the judges official placing, after the misunderstanding concerning the buoy had been cleared up, was that Clemes finished half a canvas ahead of Friends. Grammar were one and a half lengths back in third position, and Hutchins finished two lengths behind the Northern boys. St. Virgil's were four lengths further back, last.”

                                                 Winners of the 1931 Golden Fleece Cup for First Fours - Clemes College
                                                                          (Source: The Mercury, 30 March 1931)

Second Four:

The Advocate provided the following report for the historic second crews’ race: 

“The second crews of these schools competed in an interesting race over three-quarters of a mile, the start being below Government House Point. St. Virgil's took the lead from the start, and when half the course had been covered still held a slight advantage. A little later, however, Hutchins and Grammar crews passed them, and in a great finish Hutchins won by half a canvas from Grammar, with St. Virgil's a length further back.”

Organising Committee:

Tasmanian Rowing Association


Starter: Mr. J. H. Sharp

Umpire: Mr. F. Coverdale

Judge: Mr. E. Sorell

First Four

Golden Fleece Cup

1 mile

No Time Taken

Margins: ½ canvas, 1½, 2, 4 lengths

1st Clemes College – Bow: F. Headlam, 2: R. Hardy, 3: K. Kean, Str: A. Palfreyman, Cox: D. Palfreyman

2nd Friends’ High School – Bow: K. G. Gourlay, 2: S. Wells, 3: B. B. Cox, Str: T. L. Martin, Cox: R. Wells

3rd Launceston Church Grammar – Bow: E. Parker, 2: J. Walker, 3: H. Dean, Str: D. Dugan, Cox: E. Addison

4th Hutchins School – Bow: J. Dobson, 2: C. Giblin, 3: E. Giblin, Str: D. C. McPhee, Cox: R. E. Rodway

5th St. Virgil’s College – Bow: J. Newell, 2: T. Sweeney, 3: T. Lane, Str: J. Donnelly, Cox: D. Heritage

Second Four

¾ mile

No Time Taken

Margins: ½ canvas, 1 length

1st Hutchins School – Bow: R. Hudson, 2: W. Bowerman, 3: T. Brammall, Str: R. Park, Cox: R. Cane

2nd Launceston Church Grammar – Bow: J. Lyne, 2: A. McIntyre, 3: C. J. Sankey, Str: W. Curtis, Cox: D. Gee

3rd St. Virgil’s College – Bow: A. Rapp, 2: R. Cosgrove, 3: R. Gilbert, Str: T. Connor, Cox: J. Aitken


CLEMES GAIN VICTORY IN HEAD-OF-THE-RIVER RACE. (1931, 30 March), The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.: 1860 – 1954), p. 8, Retrieved 10 May 2020, from

Hutchins School Magazine, June 1931

SCHOOL ROWING. (1931, 30 April), Advocate (Burnie, Tas.: 1860 – 1954), p. 4, Retrieved 10 May 2020, from

< previous 1930

> next 1932

top of page

Website by Hope Stewart—Website Design & Management